Round 3 of VIBE’s Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All-Time is heating up. Perhaps the most intriguing match-up pits iconic producer and Gang Starr member DJ Premier (1) vs. legendary Run DMC, LL Cool J and Beastie Boys studio visionary Rick Rubin (4). For Preemo, the dream showdown is worth all the hype.
“That’s a big deal… Rick Rubin is definitely among my favorites of all time that I look up to,” DJ Premier said to VIBE. “He’s one of the main reasons why I make music. Even though I’m a competitor and I like to always win, if Rick beats me, I wouldn’t even be surprised because that’s a bad motherfucker.”
As for his own top five producers, the man who has crafted game-changing beats for the likes of Nas (“NY State of Mind”), The Notorious B.I.G. (“Unbelievable”), Jay-Z (“D’Evils”), KRS-One (“MC’s Act They Don’t Know”); and, of course, Gang Starr (“DWYCK”), goes way back.
“Marley Marl is my number one, because his influence on me as a producer was just huge,” Preemo said. “Rick Rubin is next because he took a chance on hip-hop in its early stages, and then for him to be a white dude from the rock & roll era?”
He continues: “Then I would have to say Larry Smith at no. 3 from all the Whodini, Kurtis Blow, and all those early Run DMC records. And I loved King of Chill and Howie Tee. It goes on and on. I’m 44, so I respect music on a different level.”
So what can fans expect from DJ Premier in the future?
“Right now I’m all about my label Year Round Records,” he said. “I have an eclectic roster which includes an artist from Texas named Khaleel who is on some different shit. Then I have an artist named Nick Javas from New Jersey. This guy is an athlete who just graduated from Rutgers University. There are still some things I have to school him on because he’s younger, but he really wants to rhyme circles around everybody. I love his hunger to win. And of course I have the NYG’z and my radio show Live From Headquarters, which I do every Friday night from 10 p.m. to Midnight on Sirius XM. My show is dedicated to only breaking new hip hop music. I play the stuff I think is hot, so I don’t do any favors when it comes to playing records. I don’t care who it is…if I like it, I play it.” —Keith Murphy