Tuesday, February 10, 2009
my fav DJ Premier beat
Premier's signature style is, essentially, a two-bar break to make up the rhythms of his tracks, and a scratched chorus. His early Gang Starr work relies heavily on melodic samples, but starting with Jeru's The Sun Rises in the East in 1994, he began to use ominous atonal samples as well. (These may have been inspired by the atonal piano samples that figured heavily in Wu-Tang Clan's groundbreaking debut, 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
One notable exception to Premier's style is his more varied beat from Nas' classic track, "Represent"; the chorus is much more musically distinct from the verses than is typical for him. Also, though most of Premier's tracks contain the crackles and pops from the records he samples, he has employed more polished beats in his more mainstream productions.
DJ Premier's style of production epitomizes the New York sound of his earlier peers. He is known for sampling jazz, funk, and soul artists, as well as sampling an artist's past work when creating a new track for that same artist. In addition, his encyclopedic memory of hip-hop lyrics allows him to distinctively speak with his hands by scratching in lyrics from several different songs to construct new phrases. Premier's non-Gang Starr collaborations are known for his oft-imitated combinations of short vocal samples, often from multiple artists, to create a chorus. For example, in the chorus of Mos Def's "Mathematics," Premier cuts the following in quick succession:
"The Mighty Mos Def" (from Mos Def's "Body Rock"),
"It's simple mathematics" (from Fat Joe's "John Blaze"),
"Check it out" (Lady of Rage from Snoop Dogg's "For All My Niggaz & Bitches"),
"I revolve around science" (from Ghostface Killah's verse on Raekwon's "Criminology"),
"What are we talking about here" (from the movie Ghostbusters),
"Do your math" (from Erykah Badu's "On & On"), and
"One, two, three, four" (from James Brown's "Funky Drummer")
On certain artists' work, the vocal samples will all be vocal samples of the artist from the artist's past work; "Nas Is Like" and Nas' "2nd Childhood" are two well-known examples of this.
By no means does Premier rely solely on hip-hop and soul samples. He also sampled and chopped up recordings of seminal electro-acoustic music from the 1960s on Jeru the Damaja's "Physical Stamina."
According to Premier himself, in 1989 Large Professor (formerly of Main Source) taught him how to filter samples to create his own bass lines.
Premier usually creates a one- or two-measure melody that repeats itself throughout the song, usually using a combination of orchestral and ambient samples. This template of simple repetition leaves plenty of room for the MC to spread out.
He has also shown innovation by playing unusual elements into hip hop songs (such as the bicycle bells in Group Home's "Supa Star" or the ambient nature sounds on Nas' "Nas Is Like"), and his wide range of instruments (the piano loop on Jay-Z's "D'Evils" and the strings on Rakim's "New York (Ya Out There?").
When DJ Premier sampled an obscure electronic funk song (Jean-Jacques Perrey's "E.V.A.") from the 1970s to construct Gang Starr's 1991 hit "Just to Get a Rep," he achieved a water-like effect. This beat alone made him an object of fascination to many would-be producers and DJs. The 1993 single "Come Clean" by Jeru the Damaja became legendary for a melody resembling that of children banging on water pipes.
DJ Premier's drums have been known to complement his melodies. For example, during Nas' "N.Y. State of Mind", (Samples Kool & the Gang - "N.T pt.2") two bars have a simple round of kicks and snares; in the following two, a complementing second set of drums plays out. This is repeated throughout. Ultimately, the simplistic patterning used to structure his drum beats helps to define the inimitable sound characterizing the typical DJ Premier track. Rarely, if ever, do patterns veer from their programmed two to four bar loops. Drum rolls, cymbal crashes, and hand claps are usually absent.
 Multiple beats
Although not entirely unique to Premier, he is well known for producing songs that consist of more than one beat. When this is the case there is usually a short introduction instrumental to bring in the track. He has also used outro beats but these are less common. O.C.'s ("My World"), M.O.P.'s ("Face Off"), Jeru the Damaja's ("Scientifical Madness") and Big Shug's "Tha 3 Shugs" are good examples of this. Several tracks on Group Home's debut album also make use of this technique.
Possibly the first and one of the most noteworthy instance of DJ Premier making use of this technique was on Gang Starr's third album, Daily Operation, with the song "I'm the Man." Guru, Group Home's Lil' Dap, and Jeru the Damaja took turns on the mike while DJ Premier provided three separate instrumentals, appropriating the styles of each individual emcee. This same formula was then recreated two years later on Hard to Earn with "Speak Ya Clout."
 Clean versions
Another trademark of DJ Premier is evident in the clean versions of his productions. Premier is known to edit the censored words out himself, replacing them with sound effects. This makes the clean versions of the songs much more listenable and fills the void of the absent words.