In an exclusive interview with Ambrosia For Heads, DJ Premier recalls the story of what happened the evening a photograph of he, D’Angelo, The Alchemist, the late J. Dilla was taken at New York recording studio Electric Lady Studios.
The four happened to come together after Canibus rejected a beat created by Premier that became D’Angelo‘s record “Devil’s Pie” and was also featured in the 1998 Hype Williams-directed film Belly.
The R&B singer asked if he could hear the beat Canibus decided he didn’t want to use before making plans to meet with DJ Premier at the studio the next day to hear it.
“Questlove was just finishing up doing drums to ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel?)’ — the one where he [D’Angelo] was naked in the video,” DJ Premier says in the interview. “He was there. Raphael Saadiq had just left. And J. Dilla was there at the session. Al was in the loop with the Dilla stage, so he could lamp with us and smoke for a lil’ bit. We just hung out. I knew him for a long time as well. So we were just buggin’ out and smokin’ and whatnot. I forgot the guy who took the picture.”
Elsewhere in the interview, DJ Premier also reflects on what that photograph means to him since J. Dilla’s passing and how he uses it as a source of inspiration.
“[That photograph] will carry major effects for the rest of our lives,” the 49-year old Texas native says. “Dilla’s not here, physically. His music will always speak to us like he is physically here. To have him prior to his being sick and puttin’ the memory of that session together, that’s my screensaver at the studio. It penetrates every time it comes on. Even when I turn off my computer, before it goes black, I always say, ‘Peace out, Dilla.’ And I take my hand and fist-bump his face to salute him before it goes black. It’s a little spiritual thing that I do. Honestly, I can’t turn away from that because that’s energy he still possesses in my life and everybody else’s.”
The photograph was taken at Lady Electric Studios featuring DJ Premier, D’ Angelo, J. Dilla and The Alchemist is as follows:
For additional coverage on DJ Premier, who shared the story behind the photograph of J. Dilla, D’Angelo, Alchemist and himself, watch the following DX Daily: