DJ Premier’s jazzy handicraft and his work as one-half of Gangstarr has made him one of hip-hop’s most venerated sonic masters. The combination of his percussive jazz samplings and Guru’s cool but deliberate vocals made them the authors of a New Age blues in hip-hop. Gangstarr’s 6 album output established them as key voices of the Golden Era who never chased after pop success. Premier’s beats have been lavished on several critical emcees both underground and major label including Afu-Ra, Canibus, Group Home, Nas, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Kanye West, Big Daddy Kane and many others. “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)” is a collaboration song co-produced by DJ Premier and Rick Rubin for Nike Records and it features Kanye West, KRS-One, Rakim and Nas. Common appeared on the remix of the track of which the proceeds went to youth leadership programs through the Force4Change fund. DJ Premier continues to produce unadulterated beats for some of hip-hop’s most interesting rappers and there are plans for him to entirely produced a new album for Nas as a collaboration in addition to his ongoing projects with artists like Big Shug and Bumpy Knuckles. He also hosts the Live From HeadQCourterz show on his DJ Premier Blog Radio.
A cast of thinkers, rappers, poets and academics assembled in London on June 26th at the Barbican for the Intelligence Squared and Google+ debate titled, ‘Hip-Hop on Trial: Hip-Hop Doesn’t Enhance Society, It Degrades it.’ The debate was streamed live and moderated by Jemima Khan who took questions from online posters. The problem with all of these ‘Hip-Hop is bad, dead or going to the dogs’ debates is that they are always centered around a very slim segment of corporatized hip-hop. So what happens is that people are debating the merits of hip-hop based on a small section of music instead of “Is The Corporation Promoting A Certain Kind Of Hip-Hop And Why.” It is especially shameful that Versus would promote this kind of discourse in 2012 when we live in a digital age where people are grabbing all kinds of music from everywhere. And this kind of focus keeps hip-hop in a subjugated place when it is still empowering people all around the world. How can the most popular art form of the past 30 years not function at all as folk music because of the music business establishment? These type of “intellectual” notions are the reason why Ice-T just released Something From Nothing: The Art Of Rap. No matter how ridiculous Lil’ Wayne may look hip-hop still saved his life and is doing the same for several kids around the globe who will never reach his commercial status. It is also important for hip-hop fans to understand that hip-hop is the only popular art form that Blacks still dominate hence the singularity of Eminem. So to say that the music is “dead” destructive” etc. is tantamount to racism because you are blaming people of color creatives for society’s problems. The nasty things that some rappers say may not be pleasant to hear but it’s important that society hear their outsider status because it tells us what needs to improve. These kind of propaganda attacks disguised as “debates” totally ignore the fact people on this very panel like Q-Tip, KRS-One and The Roots defy all of these static ideas about hip-hop.
KRS-One shares the story behind his ’93 album Return Of The Boom-Bap. The low sales of the project is more proof that undiluted hip-hop does not always sell and therefore the high sales of some other projects does not validate its artistic merit.
The Teacha is still talking about historical conspiracies and modern mass mind control in “Aztechnical” from his 20th album, Just Like That. Mad Lion produced the album that comes out January 4th on his Killah Pride label.