DJ Premier and Royce Da 5′ 9″ Collaboration PRhyme Debuts

We stopped by Premier's studio to get the details.

Long before Christopher Edward Martin, better known as DJ Premier (aka Preem), became one of hip-hop’s greatest producers—first as a founding member of the duo Gang Starr alongside the late MC Guru and later producing songs and albums for the likes of Jay Z, Kanye West, Nas, and Common—he was spinning records of an altogether different sort.

Preem grew up in Houston, the son of an artist, and was charged with waiting readily beside his mother’s turntable to swap out the Motown and Soul records that inspired her brush. When artnet News met him at his studio, Head Quarterz, in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Premier explained that he became immediately fascinated with those records and the turntable itself. It’s a fascination that’s never ceased to grow.

His most recent album project, PRhyme, drops on December 9th and is the first step in a new collaboration with eminent Detroit-based rapper Royce da 5’9”. Royce, who initiated the project, had one caveat for Preem, however: he could only sample from composer and producer Adrian Younge’s catalogue.

The result is far from most of what’s coming out of most hip-hop studios these days: auto-tune and dubstep beats are kept mercifully at bay. Focus is placed on Royce’s meticulous cadence and sharp lyrical references and Premier’s masterful beats. The album artwork also features a special collaboration with photographer and former hip-hop promoter Amanda Demme.

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