An Open Letter To DJ Premier
As a fan of Hip-Hop for the better part of 15 years, I feel as if I have some say-so in how this art form should be portrayed. I feel that image has become grossly overrated, monotony has taken the place of artistry, and the voice of reason has become the voice of advertisement. Hip-Hop is a sacred ground of beats, rhymes and life, and only a few have been bold enough to keep this precious gem pristine and as pure as it was meant to be. In my opinion, no one has detained the true essence of Hip-Hop better than DJ Premier.
When it comes to the art of production, Premo, you are the blueprint. For over a decade, you have laced the ears of fans nationwide with a plethora of beats and sounds that are simply legendary. Seemingly, you have music flooding your veins, using the simplest of ingredients to create magnificent confections with an aroma so rich, the speakers on our CD players awaken our senses. You have been exceptional to this game, and Hip-Hop owes you a debt of gratitude a million times over. But, I must take issue with some of the things I’ve seen take place over this decade that you have graced Hip-Hop.
While you may be the greatest producer this game has ever seen, some of the wrong people have been blessing your tracks. The Gang Starr Foundation- which consisted of Guru, Jeru The Damaja, Big Shug, Group Home, and you- are arguably the greatest collective of talent Hip-Hop will ever see. You were the “Dream Team” before the 1992 Olympic Basketball team was ever assembled. The possibilities were endless, and a hostile takeover was definitely in the making. But, this “Friendship –vs.- B.I.” nonsense came into play and the ship mysteriously sunk. Why? A crucial part of business is keeping the business together. Did you miss that part of the scenario or what?
I read an interview you conducted sometime ago, and according to you, you met up with Jeru at the funeral of one of our fallen comrades, Headquarterz. In reading the interview, I noticed that Jeru offered to let bygones be bygones, and come together once more to pick-up where you guys tragically left off. Nothing ever happened! There have been many MCs to bless some of your greatest beats, but no one can ride a Premo beat better than Jeru The Damaja. Guru? Nope. Bumpy Knucks? I love him dearly, but he can’t hold a candle to Jeru. M.O.P.? Close, but not quite. Big Shug? Forget about it. Group Home? I’m afraid not. Afu-Ra? He is Jeru’s clone, and nothing beats the original.
You and Jeru made some beautiful music together. With you behind the boards, Jeru’s first album is a bona fide classic, and maybe he isn’t capable of making a more perfect debut. You have helped make Guru a household name in Hip-Hop, and without you, I don’t think he can succeed (see his Jazzmatazz series and other solo ventures as a point of reference). Before you give Limp Bizkit another hypnotizing track to ruin with garbage lyrics, please go to Brooklyn and find Jeru. Both of you need each other, and Hip-Hop needs the both of you right now.
Premo, you are my favorite producer, and you have probably influenced this Hip-Hop community more than any other beat maker. There are some MCs in the game today that can use your services and get their career back on track. As much as I love Canibus as a lyricist, his beat selection has slowly killed his career. I want you do all of Canibus’s fans a favor and take him under your wing. He needs you as much as Guru ever did, and maybe even more. Method Man has decided to go the pop route, working with P-Diddy and the Bad Boy camp. It is a disgrace that you have not kept Method Man on the right side of Hip-Hop more often, so please hit this man on the 2-way before he starts wearing shiny suits! Another beautiful piece of art can be had if you were the first person in line to get at Ras Kass when he comes home from prison. Ras Kass may be the most under appreciated rapper of this millennium, and he needs to bring some heat to the table and get his name where it should have been a long time ago. Chino XL is really in dire need of your services, and maybe you can use some of his as well. It is impossible for Chino to write a wack rhyme, and the same goes for the beats where you are concerned. Please do Hip-Hop a favor and make that magic happen! Lastly, as one of your biggest promoters, on behalf of the entire community of Hip-Hop, I ask that you please do whatever you have to do to produce Rakim’s album. Dr. Dre seriously dropped the ball with Ra, and there is no other producer on God’s green earth that can compliment his wordplay like you could.
Many fans refuse to see Hip-Hop has become cancerous, empty, and in a state of lifelessness. Pioneers such as you can help pump the aura and life-blood back into the veins of Hip-Hop that is necessary to resurrect it. I challenge you to step up and be counted amongst the true legends of their respective professions. I challenge you to find one single untruth in my attempt to reach out to you. Finally, I challenge you to continue to bring forth the sounds that give us all an outlet to imagine being where most rappers need to be.
Preem, holla at email@example.com!
**Note to the readers: This is no way an attempt to berate or belittle DJ Premier, and the opinions of the writer are not necessarily those of Allhiphop.com**