DJ Premier is scheduled to man the turntables behind Nas at this year’s Rock the Bells performance, where he’s performing his classic 1994 debut Illmatic. Premo recently spoke on the opportunity, explaining that it serves a bigger purpose for the hip-hop community.
“Let’s see who still comes correct and gets it going. We can fix the economy and the culture ourselves, but you’ve got to connect with the people that’s gonna make it that,” he told DJ Ron. “I’m here to make it that, and that’s all I’m here to do. That’s all I will ever do, is to make it right all the time. Make it right is my new name. I’m DJ Make It Right.”
The legendary producer also reflected on recording “NY State of Mind.” “Shout to Showbiz, Showbiz from D.I.T.C. was there that day. It was Showbiz, Biggest Gord, me and Nas had a whole bunch of his friends with him from Queensbridge,” he recalled. “Back then, he used to roll real thick with a lot of dudes. Big crew. We all had posses. I used to have 100 people on stage with me. I made the beat on the spot, right there at D&D studios, and he likes to sit at the head of the control board and rhyme like this, with his hand over his mouth like he can only hear himself while the beat plays.”
He remembers Nas struggling to start the verse, and how it naturally flowed out. “You hear him say ‘I don’t know how to start this shit.’ […] What it is, he’s looking at the paper because he’s trying to figure out how to format coming on the beat, but I’m counting going ‘1, 2, 3’ and at the last minute, he’s looking at the paper going, ‘I don’t know how to start this shit,’” he continued. “I guess out of the corner of his eye saw me going ‘1, 2, 3’ because my booth is where we can see each other. So it’s always amazing that he did that whole verse in one take, non-stop. Very impressive.
As for upcoming projects, Preem revealed that a new album from Buckshot LeFonque could be on the horizon, and that he’s currently working on a children’s and adult television shows.
“We was just experimenting, having fun. Buckshot LeFonque was supposed to be the not normal project that just does whatever it happens, happens. We’d just be in the studio doing whatever,” he said. “We even talked about doing a third one. It hasn’t gone down yet, but we talked about doing a third one. I’m working on a cartoon and a children’s show for television. The cartoon is going to be more adult with cursing and all of that. The children’s show will be for kids and I want Branford [Marsalis] to be music director to put music together for the project, so I’m looking forward to that. I just asked him, he said he would love to be a part of it. So I’m excited about that. And I want to get into television, too.”