Recently on www.djpremierblog.com there was a poll for hip-hop fans to vote on which beat Primo had produced in 2011 that they thought was his finest work. As far as I was aware, the Works of Mart were relatively small and low-key over the past 12 months, aside from a few tracks on the Evidence LP - but I was clearly mistaken.
Primo is a workaholic behind the boards. When he isn't producing tracks for his core family of Big Shug, the Year Round family, Freddie Foxxx, Big Shug's mother or Big Shug's landlord's stepdaughter, he's branching out and bringing some of his trademark boom-bap to overseas artists or musicians from outside his comfort zone.
So, I decided to compile the tracks rap fans voted highest in the poll into one nice, compact little album for general consumption. Isn't that nice of me? I'm sure Primo will approve.
There's a lot to like here, as usual. If you're a fan of DJ Premier (and if you're not you really have no place looking at any rap blog whatsoever - get back to your hippy bullshit and buy a thin tie and some elbow patches - pick up that empty Lana del Rey album while you're there) you know what to expect.
He has a very defined sound which hasn't really changed for a decade now. Some people would consider that to be a downside, and in some ways it has led to the popular opinion that hearing a new Primo beat isn't as exciting as it was say, in the late 90s. I can't really disagree with this, but it doesn't change the fact that he is a top 5 DOA producer in hip-hop history, and there aren't really many people out there that can claim to have a better discography than him.
Here he continues his legacy with a set of mostly understated tunes, none of which will make their way into the average backpackers 'favourite Primo beat ever' sentence, but songs that we can all respect and listen to on our iPods regularly with glee.
The beat that was voted highest in the pool was 'You' by Dilated Peoples emcee Evidence, which was from his superb full-length 'Cats & Dogs'. That particular choice isn't too surprising as it was arguably the most high-profile beat on the list aside from 'Born In The Trap' from Dr.Dre's former butler and reference library The Game. Then there's the remix to 'Writer's Block' from Royce & Eminem's successful Bad Meets Evil EP, which eclipses the original with relative ease. Royce is the only artist that appears twice on the list, as he brought Primo on board for 'Second Place' for his solo LP 'Success Is Certain'.
Strangely, my favourite beat on here is probably the remix to 'Embody' by French dance producer SebastiAn, as not only does it keep the general vibe of the superb original song, but it opens up a great great track to a whole different genre. DJ Premier seems to be producing for a lot more eclectic set of artists these days, from pop to dance to rap, both US and overseas, and that can only be commended.
Enjoy everything here. And thank DJ Premier for the music. RIP Guru.
1. Evidence - You
2. Reks - 25th Hour
3. Torae - For The Record
4. Prop Dylan - Shock & Amaze
5. Edo G - Fastlane
6. The Game - Born In The Trap
7. Apathy (feat. Celph Titled) - Stop What Ya Doin'
8. DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles - B.A.P.
9. Royce Da 5'9" - Second Place
10. Venom - Vigilantes (DJ Premier VHS Remix)
11. Bad Meets Evil - Writer's Block (DJ Premier Remix)
12. Big Shug - We Miss You (Guru Tribute)
13. Kendra Morris - Concrete Waves (DJ Premier 320 Remix)
14. Mac Miller - Face The Facts
15. Bushido - Gangster
16. DJ Fudge (feat. Afrika Bambaataa) - Jump Up (DJ Premier Remix)
17. SebastiAn - Embody (DJ Premier 95 Break Remix)
18. Nick Javas (feat. Khaleel) - Anonymous