Wednesday, September 10, 2014
8 rappers who would be nothing without DJ Premier
When they must turn -- or resort -- to another producer for music, the results usually fall short of the surefire heat rocket that one guy or team is guaranteed to bang out for you faithfully.
Obviously, there are more than a few examples of these instances in rap. A couple immediately come to mind:
Phonte and 9th Wonder
Fam-Lay and the Neptunes
The list, sometimes sadly, goes on longer than some of us might want it to.
But when it comes to the legendary DJ Premier, he can take damn near anybody and give them a veritable anthem. If they're lucky enough, they might even get him to do an entire album.
And while many could argue that Nas belongs on the below roster of emcees, here are some definite and noteworthy examples of that phenomenon.
See if you agree.
Let's start with the obvious: The entire Gang Starr Foundation, sans GURU, who, along with Premier, really should be respected more for holding together that relatively untalented collective that still managed to yield not only hits, but classics in the eyes and ears of many.
Make no mistake, Group Home's debut album was an instant classic when released nearly 20 years ago, largely due to the Premier factor. Lil Dap can flow, but lyrics and rhymes for him and rhyming partner Malachi the Nutcracker were also instantly suspect. But the music was undeniable. Malachi has since hung up his mic cord, but Dap continues to make music. But without the Premier factor, no one's really checking for him.
Jeru the Damaja
His once promising career all but ended abruptly when he and Premier stopped collaborating after his second album in 1996. He kept making music, but without Premier crafting the soundtrack, no one seemed to care at all.
Jeru Da Damaja - Me Or The Papes from GodsConnect2 on Vimeo.
Yes, even Big Shug is on this list. Oh, you didn't know he has some Premier classics? Well, you're probably not alone. And while he and Premier are seemingly still in good standing, it's clear that any of his musical efforts that don't include Premo are a waste of time.
Big Shug - Let The Music Play from DanTheMan on Vimeo.
Yes, I know Blaq is a veteran from the hallowed hip-hop grounds of Queensbridge, blah, blah, blah. He's nice, no question. But, in my opinion, only on Premier beats. Damn near anything else is all but unlistenable. The funny thing is that on the following track, Blaq seems to be well aware of this topic, as he resentingly barks, "I'm sick on any beat!"
Who, you ask? Exactly. However, he's got some very hot tracks, courtesy of Premier. And then, of course, he has some non-Premier hot garbage to go right along with it. In this video, he and Premier basically agree with that very sentiment.
This choice shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody, considering that this group is signed to Premier's Year Round imprint. They have dabbled outside of strictly working with Premo, but those efforts don't come anywhere near what Premier brings to their table.
The rapper now known as Bumpy Knuckles has earned his near-pioneer status by working with some of the all-time greats dating back to the 80s. But it wasn't until his partnership with DJ Premier starting in the late 90s that he got his musical just due. The honorary member of the Gangstarr Foundation can do no wrong when spitting on a Premier track, but -- except for his Industry Shakkedown album -- that's where the accolades end.
DJ PREMIER & BUMPY KNUCKLES | KOLEXXXION TOUR 2012 | SHOT CLUB | CHIASSO from SAUCE PATROL on Vimeo.
Last, but not least, is the man who was introduced to the masses by DJ Premier as the next big thing for Year Round Records, but never managed to actually release a full length album with the label. Javas was everything a Hiphop head desires from an emcee: great flow, witty rhymes, underrated wordplay, and knowledgeable without trying to kick knowledge. But ever since he left the label, his career could be called stagnant, at best. Below are two of the most conceptual songs I've ever heard in rap, and they come courtesy of Mr. Javas.
Who did I miss?
Can you think of any other examples of rappers who can only make good music with one producer or production team? U-God and RZA? Redman and Erick Sermon? Let me know!