After decades of critical acclaim as a founding member of Gang Starr, some were surprised when DJ Premier joined the stable of producers contributing to Pop singer Christina Aguilera’s 2006 album, Back To Basics. Aguilera revealed that she sought Premier out after hearing the sample used on Notorious B.I.G.’s “Kick In The Door” in hopes of getting what she called “a throwback sound.”
Creative Control’s, Coodie & Chike—directors of Kanye West’s “Through The Wire” and Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat”—recently posted some behind the scenes footage on their Vimeo page. It’s fairly safe to assume most Hip Hop fans have never seen the recordings. But both Premo and Aguilera give an insight into their creative process.
“Ever since I was eight-years-old, I used to listen to these old records—Pearl Bailey, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and Dinah Washington,” Aguilera explained. “I used to call them my fun music to sing. I was able to dive wholeheartedly back into those eras and come up with songs that were organic and authentic to the times. Other [songs] had throwback elements, but to the 20’s, 20’s and ‘40’s, but with kind of a modern day twist or edgy beat.”
For his part, DJ Premier is effusive in his praise of Aguilera calling her a “true artist.”
“A lot of you people that make records, we have to put you on Auto-tune because you can’t keep a note when it comes to making records,” Premier added. “You can’t hold a note live either. I’ve seen her do her thing, and it’s gonna be a crazy 2006 year for her.”
Premier was credited with producing and/or co-producing at least five tracks on the now-certified platinum album. The single “Ain’t No Other Man” was certified platinum, while two other singles and a live, tour-based DVD were certified gold.