DJ Premier is the best storyteller in hip-hop and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. AmbrosiaForHeads unearthed an old archival photo of Mean Joe Preem, D’Angelo, The Alchemist and J Dilla from 1998 and got him to tell the story behind it. And in true Premier fashion the stories leading up to the story were every bit as golden.
The narrative begins with Premier talking about the release of Gang Starr’s pivotal Moment Of Truth album and his partner Guru’s trial. The late MC was facing five years in prison for gun related charges, so they were preparing as much promo as possible in case he was convicted. But thankfully he ended up going free.
Later that year they were approached by Def Jam to place “Devil’s Pie,” the DJ Premier-produced track with D’Angelo, in the film Belly. In telling this part of the story Premier reveals an interesting nugget.
“The record actually happened because…it was originally Canibus. We had worked on the song at my studio, D&D [Studios] at the time. It didn’t pan out to do the record. Once Canibus left, that same maybe hour later, D’Angelo just called me out of the blue. Like, ‘Hey, what are you up to?’ I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m just ending a session. I was working on a beat for Canibus, but we’re not using it.’ He said, ‘Can I hear it?’ I said yeah. He said, ‘Well, come over here to Electric Lady [Studios]. I’m over here just bangin’ out my album.’ So I went over there. I already knew D’Angelo from when his first album, Brown Sugar came out. We were [Virgin/EMI Records] label-mates. We knew each other through mutual people. So we were already cool with each other.”
Things got really interesting when Preem got to Electric Lady and you can read the full epic tale over at ABF by clicking HERE.