In the latest episode of their now “multi-platinum” podcast “Drink Champs,” Nore and DJ EFN sat down with the legendary Pete Rock and DJ Premier. During the over two-hour interview the two vets covered almost 30 years of hip-hop history, where there their respective stories intersected contributing to some of the greatest music ever made. It’s well worth the watch, but we cribbed a few highlights below.
1.DJ Premier and Pete had not heard of Nas before working on “Illmatic.” While Premier went on to produce three tracks on the album and Pete one, Large Professor introduced them to the QB youngsters as the Rapper Nas. He wasn’t “Nasty Nas” yet. Preem figured it was a Queens thing like “Rapper Noyd.”
2.Pete did a Royal Flush “World Wide” remix that has never been released. We’re not clear if it was a remix of Pete and CL’s track “World Wide” featuring Royal Flush or a remix of their track “World Wide.” Either way we’d like to hear it.
3.Premier shares how he met Guru (RIP) in 1987/88 through his friend Carlos in Houston, TX. Premier breaks down some very early Wild Pitch Records history, which includes that fact that Guru was listening to all of the demos at Wild Pitch Records and that the earliest iteration of Gang Starr was Big Suge, his brother Suave D and Guru before Preemo joined the group. “I thought they were called ‘Game Stop’ because of his Boston accent.”
4.Prior to Gang Starr Premier was in a group called “MCs In Control” and his lead MC, Top Ski, was from Boston. The other two MCs were Sugar Pop and Stylee T.
5.Pete says he and CL Smooth recorded 50 or 60 demos on a four-track in his basement. He talks about making the classic “T.R.O.Y” for the late Troy Dixon, his friend and the dancer for Heavy D who died in 1990 while on tour. Pete says Charlie Brown from Leaders Of The New School was in the studio with him when he mixed it and they both broke down in tears at the finished song.
6.Premier says Pete Rock taught him how to filter samples, Showbiz taught him how to chop beats and Large Professor used to come to his house and show him tricks. He adds that his skills leveled up when he worked on KRS-ONE’s “Return Of The Boom Bap” album. He sent Pete the rough of Gang Starr’s “Ex Girl To Next Girl” to see if he got the filtering right.
7. Gang Starr’s “Just To Get A Rep” was based on a true story. Guru and Premier were living in The Bronx on 183rd and Andrews when Guru got into a problem with some dudes in Brooklyn who stole his new Toyota 4Runner. The thief later drove the truck into an ice cream truck and died.
8. For “The World Is Yours” Pete said he went through about three Sp-1200 discs before Nas picked the beat and he wanted Pete to sing on the hook. They recorded it at Battery Studios and Pete did the scratches in one take.
9. Premier talks about working on “Reasonable Doubt” and how Jay Z convinced him to contribute beats. Premier was on WBLS at the time and DJ Clark Kent brought Jay Z up to the station to hear the original “In My Lifetime.” Jay gave him a bottle of Cristal Champagne that Preem didn’t drink for years.
10.Biggie only had $5K left in his budget for the “Unbelievable” beat and Preemo made something for him on the spot. Biggie said he don’t care if Premier just “looped up ‘Impeach The President’ and put some stabs sounds on it.” Preemo said if you get a deal and go platinum I want 35K per track. It was a handshake agreement that Big honored.
11. Preemo has no issues with white rappers. Contrary to rumors, he didn’t shut down Justin Bieber rapping on the BET Cipher. He simply insisted that he write his own rhyme. And he didn’t want to work with Fred Durst at first because he didn’t believe in his rap skills. But when he heard the rough of Limp Bizkit’s “N2gether Now” with Method Man on it he agreed. Durst called Premier and came to D&D to record it. “It was one of the biggest checks ever.”
12. Greg Nice is a dope producer on the low. “People don’t know most of the Nice and Smooth hits, Greg Nice does all the beats. I’ve seen him do it,” Premier said when talking about the making of “DWYCK.”
13. NORE says that the “What, what, what,what” on “Super Thug” was his way of counting bars. “Back then we couldn’t punch in. I recorded the whole record in one take!” So he actually agreed with Freddie Foxxx’s criticism.
Watch the full interview above!