AllHipHop Staff

DJ Premier aka Preemo is the standard by which all Hip-Hop producers strive to be. The notion is absolute, like it or not. From his innovativeness to his uncompromising style to his tour of duty – Preem is it. He’s done it all from his professional debut in 1987 with Gangstarr to his modern work with Christina Aguilera and the innumerable acts in between.

Only a select few can match the repertoire that Preemo has cultivated over the last 20 years. But, this is an intro about those beat maestros that Premier loves and respects. Understand, Premier is no child so his influences and Top 5 is reflective of his background.

Without further delay, DJ Premier’s Top 5 Dead or Alive…


“Larry Smith is a producer that used to work with Kurtis Blow, Run DMC with “Rock Box” and all that. He did a lot of the Whodini records. Very, very, very good producer.”

[Early in his Hip-Hop career, Smith crafted songs for Kurtis Blow and Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, rap’s early super stars. He later produced Run DMC’s first two albums, their self-titled debut (1984) and King of Rock (1985). Additionally, Smith wove a string of hits for Whodini, including their 1984 debut Escape with hits like “Friends.” – source]

“Jam Master Jay” – Run DMC (Produced by Larry Smith)

“Freaks Come Out At Night” – Whodini (Produced by Larry Smith)


“Marley Marl is my idol of Hip-Hop. He’s like the James Brown of Hip-Hop.”

“At Your Own Risk” – King Tee (Produced & remixed by Marley Marl)


“Quincy Jones is a no-brainer too. He did movie soundtracks back in the 50’s and 60’s when he was a young cat and all the way up until he produced “Thriller” for Michael and all that. He broke the code of music theory and created his own lane on how to count and start on the “2” and not always on the “1.” You gotta watch him to know when to change up, because he’s so unorthodox with his production and his talent as an artist.”

“Summer In The City” - Quincy Jones (Sampled by Pharcyde and Black Moon)

“If I Ever Lose This Heaven” – Quincy Jones (featuring Minnie Ripperton) and “I’m Gonna Miss You In The Morning (featuring Luther Vandross and Pattie Austin)


“James Brown is just super ill.”

James Brown Master Mix With Various Samples

“The Boss” – James Brown (sampled by Nas and Ice-T)


“Rick Rubin is a major, major reason – no disrespect to Russell, because we know Russell’s that dude… Rick Rubin did a lot of them beats that transcended…hard reality of production. And to be a founder of Def Jam Records when it was Def Jam…before it got soft and watered down. Signing groups like Public Enemy and the Junk Yardband. Showing that they can sign a Go Go act. All the way to all the old Beastie Boy records when they used to have the purple label. When MCA and Berzootie and Jimmy Spicer. Even with Russell and Jazzy Jay with the record Def Jam. LL Cool to be the first official artist that they signed with “I Need A Beat.” T La Rock “Its Yours” on the Party Time label which is really the official first Def Jam record ever. That’s how far back it goes so shout out to Rick Rubin too.”

“Give It Away” - Red Hot Chilli Peppers (produced by Rick Rubin)

“Rock The Bells” – LL Cool J (produced by Rick Rubin)


“On some real s**t, I gotta make it six. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, Booty’s Rubberband, Eddie Hazel, Parlet, the Brides of Funkenstein. He [George Clinton] was James Brown spaced-out – on some other s**t. James Brown was spaced out anyway, but George Clinton living is just the epitome of funk and all that other s**t.“

“Paint The White House Black” George Clinton – featuring Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Flavor Flav, Yo-Yo, MC Breed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kam and others

“One Nation under a Groove” - George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (1978)