DJ Premier Breaks Down Gang Starr Discography (Pg. 6)
The Ownerz (2003)
We had one of the dopest staffs at our label Virgin, but they all got fired when Mariah Carey’s Glitter failed. That made them get rid of a lot of people. Before that, Virgin would always let us do whatever we wanted. We always picked our own singles and the sequence of the album. We always did the gutter street song first, followed by the radio record, a follow-up single and then the tour. That was our routine every year. But when it came down to The Ownerz, we had to switch over to an all-new staff. And the crazy thing is our new urban music president was the same guy who produced Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20. Dude was two years younger than me! He didn’t put his foot down and let Gang Starr do what we usually did.
We disagreed on the choice of singles and I started purposely being an asshole and not answering the phone. I would call up to the Virgin offices talking shit like, “Yo man, you better call me! [laughs].” Part of that was that I always held down Guru. His spirit knows that I’ve always been there to hold him down whatever we were dealing with. I didn’t mind being the spokesperson. We had to get out of that situation. But the legacy of Gang Starr was too big to destroy. We matter to the fans. We matter too much to hip hop.—As told to Keith Murphy