dj premier npr tiny desk

DJ Premier makes history as the first DJ to play NPR’s lauded Tiny Desk.

The most interesting factoid about DJ Premier is that the Houston born producer is one of the architects of what “classic” New York hip-hop sounds like. Not only does it remind you that in fact, “The South Won” in regards to musicianship within the genre but also that Premier’s three decade run in hip-hop has little parallel. From delivering the kind of production that shaped jazzy ’90s hip-hop for Gang Starr and others, Preemo expanded to snare Grammy wins with Christina Agulierra and more.

To take the NPR staff out of the always volatile news cycle, Premier led a nine-song medley inside the NPR Tiny Desk studios. Backed by his touring band aptly named The Badder Band, the troupe played records from Premier’s hand, Nas’ “Nas Is Like,” KRS-One’s “KRS-One Attacks,” and finished it out with Gang Starr’s “Moment Of Truth.”

With as expansive a catalog as his, Tiny Desk fans could have gotten hours of Primo records from artists such as Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Group Home, AZ, Kanye West and more. Instead, the nine picks from Premier serve as a reminder of how long he’s had his thumbprint in hip-hop. And why he’ll never let the memory of Gang Starr fade.

01. KRS-One – “KRS-One Attacks”
02. KRS-One – “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”
03. Das Efx – “Real Hip-Hop”
04. Nas – “Nas Is Like”
05. Jeru The Damaja – “Da Bichez”
06. Gang Starr – “Step In The Arena”
07. Gang Starr feat. M.O.P. – “1/2 & 1/2”
08. Royce Da 5’9 – “Boom”
09. Gang Starr – “Moment Of Truth”