Legendary producer DJ Premier is a very busy man these days. He officially launched his new website, premierwuzhere.com, earlier this year, and is continuing his “Bars in the Booth” series. He also was a musical guest for Dave Chappelle‘s comeback comedy show back in June–all of this while having several up and coming projects in the works. Luckily got the chance to speak to Primo while he had a little downtime.
You recently were a musical guest for Dave Chappelle’s Comedy comeback tour. How did it feel being a part of a momentous night?
To see Dave back after 10 years of not doing stand-up, that was a big deal. So to see that was exciting for even us, even though we were guests to perform. We were in our dressing room getting ready, and obviously they have the monitors where we could watch the show and see everything and hear the crowd or audience, we were in there laughing, stumbling, I’m stumbling trying to put my pants on laughing.
He even said “Hey it’s been 10 years, I’m a little rusty so bear with me” you know. But even that, first thing he said…“You know it’s two reasons why I got back into comedy,” he said. “For one, stand-up is my number one love and I’ve missed stand-up and I haven’t done it in so long, so I wanted to test the waters again. And the second reason: I was like, ‘Damn, all these got-damn bills starting to pile up, I ain’t know it was going to get this expensive. I gotta start paying bills.’” The way he said it, the timing of it–he had everybody laughing and he just kept on rolling from there and he did an incredible job. And then the guests, for me to be a part of it with Busta Rhymes and Janelle Monae, we just had a good time hanging together. It was just amazing and a blessing to even be asked to be a part of it.
You recently launched a website–what can fans expect to see on the site?
I really wanted it to be a store to buy my merch and all my t-shirts, hats, records, and develop little things I’m learning. But the main point was to sell my shirts and whatnot to people that keep stressing me about–“Where can we find your shirts, where can we find your hats?” They can go directly there and get it. But my web guy and my media guy, Dan Ollek, and my management were all so were like “Yo, you need to put the content up and keep it current with things you’re doing…and then they said do something where people could rap off your beats, freestyle” I said nah, I don’t want to do that, it’s just not an idea I visualized. And they said “can we shoot one? If you don’t like it then we just won’t do it.”
So, Papoose was on his way to work on a song with me which he called “Current Events.” So when he came down we shot it and I said it’s all about how it looks when it’s done. Then my boy, Matt Fisher, sent it the first edit it looked gritty and grimy and I was like yo, I actually like the way it looks. Ok, well continue. So that went to Dres from Black Sheep, who was working on a project with Showbiz who runs the studio for me. So when Dres was there, he said “Yo, I saw Pappose joint. I like the way y’all edited it, it looks good, it sounds good.” [I said], “Do you wanna do the next one?” He said, “Are you serious?” I was like “Yeah,” and he said “Yeah, what day?” I said we’ll call the camera guy tomorrow, bring my guy up. He came down, did it, and a lot of people loved the Dres one. So then we said, “Ok let’s continue.”
And then Jakk Frost happened to be in town for a football game, and we ended up hooking up to give me all of his hoodies cause he has a lot of gear on his site. So I told him he can catch the “Bars in the Booth” with Dres and Papoose. He said, ‘man I’d love to do one.” I said, “Do you wanna do one now?” My camera guy turned on the lights and we recorded him. And that one did good too because a lot of people were like, “Damn I’ve never heard of Jakk Frost, but after seeing your “Bars in the Booth,” I started to look up his stuff and I actually just bought a hoodie.” That’s why right now I’m keeping it vintage with older artists. I’ll get some younger ones too, but I just want to show the older artist who are nice with a pen. So I have been focused on making sure that they are the launch. And then we never announce who’s next, we don’t want people to know. And then next guy that’s being launched next week anyways, a younger guy, which will switch it up a little bit. Then I’m going to start getting female MC’s for a couple episodes.
And since we’re on the topic of the “Bars in the Booth” series, which installment has been your favorite so far?
You are one of the many producers on Illmatic. As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, did you know that this album will have such an impact on hip-hop?
Yeah, I knew it would. Because for him to have me, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and shout out to L.E.S even though he was an extended member because Nas brought him in- he wasn’t part of our legendary status at the time, but big ups to L.E.S. So, I heard everything on the album way before it was turned in and released. I helped master it and everything. So, man, it was just dope knowing that all of us were together on one album. We were all respectful of each other, and still are.
What other projects are you working on?
I got a few things going on. I just did a secret album that I can’t announce yet but it’ll get out there in the next two weeks. That is most def gonna be happening. Not the Nas album yet, but just another bonafide MC who can really spit, and it’s where I sample one artist through the entire album. It’s 9 songs. It started out as an EP but turned into an album. And like I said it’s only 9 songs, but instead of me sampling different people, it’s only one artist. So that secret album will be announced in a couple of weeks. And then did one with M.O.P.–they’re about to drop an EP called Street Certified, I’m just overseeing the project. I am going to be producing tracks on it, but for the album, not for the EP. So they’re going to drop that in a couple weeks just to tie people over until their album is done because their album is going to come out. I also have NYG’z–huge part of Can’t Stop Foundation–and their album called Hustler’s Union.
Panchi, who is a member of NYG’z, is also my co-host on my radio show which is on Sirius XM satellite radio every Friday night from 10 to midnight eastern time on Hip-Hop Nation which is channel 44. So he’s my co-host along with King of Chill. He’s a legendary producer with MC Lyte, Audio Two, so we keep that going every Friday, just break new ground with underground hip-hop. And all this hip-hop that I play is available; it’s not stuff that I’m just playing so exclusive that you can’t get it. Everything I play and we promote it on live to say, “Hey, this is out, this is available next month, here’s where you can find it.”
So, there’s that and I’ve been doing stuff overseas with Ed Sheeran, who has another album coming out at the top of the year. He has one out that he just dropped, but he’s doing five albums: one with Rick Ross, one with Game, another traditional Ed Sheeran album, and the one he has out. So I want to be on the second one, but we already did the songs. I’m doing tracks with Christina Aguilera again, so hopefully we get that up and running again cause she’s pregnant right now, she should be due soon. Other than that, I did a record with Miguel, Slaughterhouse, working with Joey Bada$$ right now on a record. So just staying really active.
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