Artist: DJ PremierTitle: No Talent Required (Mixtape)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Felipe Delerme
A Hip-Hop legend in every sense of the word, DJ Premier has contributed as much to defining the New York sound as anyone. Having produced for, “Biggie, Jay-Z, and Nas,” amongst countless others, Premier is sought out by those looking for the apex in street authentic production. It is, however, in this accomplishment as a producer that his namesake of DJ is easily overlooked. Still just as much a DJ, as an acclaimed producer, Premier delivers his latest mixtape, No Talent Required, after just having produced a good bulk of the latest Christina Aguilera album. Now what could someone whose been chilling with a pop princess have to offer the mixtape community?
The “tape” opens up with a tirade about mixtape “DJs” undeserved success in that most aren’t even able to mix or scratch well. “You could be a fake DJ and still be called a real DJ…That’s f*cked up,” says Premier. Musically, the highlight of the first half is M.O.P.’s “Stop Pushing.” While never ones to veer to far from the beaten path, M.O.P. talking about going upside someone’s “muthaf*ckin’ head” never sounded so soulful. In appearances usually reserved for the end of mixtapes (and deservedly so), Premier’s artists Tef, Blaq Poet, and NYG’z echo Premier’s gripes with Hip-Hop, taking unoriginal rappers to task, along with fronting DJs. Midway through, in an apparent peace offering to Jay-Z after not being asked to contribute to Kingdom Come, Jigga’s “Lost Ones” pops up. It sounds just as out of place here as it does on the album. The remainder of the tape takes some strange turns including a J-Dilla interlude, verbatim 50 Cent in “I Got Hoes,” and an uncharacteristically jazzy ode to his rise to fame by Ice Cube. On “Hood Rules Apply,” Uncle Murder offers his take on B.I.G.’s “10 Crack Commandments,” minus any of the charisma or insightful lyricism.
Save for some skilled mixing and scratching, Premier’s No Talent Required isn’t much different than many of the tapes by those “faking the funk.” Stylistically diverse, and riddled with personal preferences, No Talent Required, is defined by its title. Premier bleeds talent, but it’s pretty apparent that the some of the selection here isn’t on par.