Legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier has crafted a timeless catalog that stretches across the genre. A trendsetter with an easily discernible sound, his patented brand of hard-knock drums and syncopated stab-n-scratches have been steadily coming correct for the better part of three decades. Known best as one-half of Gang Starr the seminal duo with the late emcee Guru, Premier’s body of work as a producer for a veritable who’s-who of hip-hop royalty cemented his reign as one of the creators of the New York hip hop sound. He might have been born in Texas, but no other producer is more synonymous with New York’s celebrated reign atop the golden era of hip hop than that of DJ Premier.
Starting in 2015, the man they call “Preemo” embarked on a new kind of project in the live music realm, forming a five-piece ensemble called The BADDER Band. This brood of instrumental bullies helps the venerable DJ re-create his iconic discography as a live concert experience. Each set they play is an award tour through thirty years of boom-bap bliss. The BADDER Band is made up of bassist Brady Watt, Lenny “The Ox” Reece on drums, horns/keyboardist Takua Kuroda, trombonist Mark Williams, and the bandleader, DJ Premier himself, on live production.
After first touring Japan, and later releasing their first official record and video, “BPATTER,” Premier took the group on a 16-city trek across North America, dubbed the BADDER Band Tour. Now Preem is bringing the group home to Crooklyn for a late-night get-down at this weekend’s Brooklyn Come Alive.
Watch the video for DJ Premier & The BADDER Band’s “BPATTER” below (via DJ Premier‘s YouTube page):
“My addiction is turntables, drum machines, guitars, amps, and a lot of speakers,” Premier stated in a press release last Spring. “I have fun doing a whole bunch of different styles with my band, because they fall into place so well, with everything that we’ve brought into the picture, no matter what it is.”
Preem’s live band’s shows have made an impact on some of the most well-respected modern day hip hop/funk/soul tastemakers. After DJ Premier & The BADDER Band brought their beats to Denver, Lettuce/Break Science drummer/producer Adam Deitch proactively reached out to comment on the show, beyond impressed with the group and their fresh presentation of Preemo’s untouchable catalogue.
“DJ Premier is the epitome of Real Hip Hop,” Deitch raves, “From his work with Gang Starr to KRS One to NAS and Biggie, he is the architect of the NY hip hop sound. Hearing his band play his original tracks so well, anchored by drummer Lenny ‘the Ox’ Reece, their set at Brooklyn Comes Alive is a can’t miss situationfor any true beat-heads and golden-era aficionados.”
Hovering above the clouds and strolling down memory lane, ever the veteran OG, Premier knows that the mass appeal remains hard to earn. When his BADDER crew takes the stage to represent, with militia-like discipline and a New York state of mind, they kick in the door, and mos’ definitely take it personal. New York, ya out there? My advice to you is to step in the arena when Crooklyn Comes Alive, because although DJ Premier is royalty and still boasts the skills, he will not be puttin’ in work forever.
In anticipation of Brooklyn Comes Alive, here is Live For Live Music‘s Brooklyn Comes Alive “PREEMO PRIMER”–a brief selection of just some of DJ Premier’s finest cutting-edge work over the years, from the likes of Gang Starr, Rakim, Nas, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Jeru the Damaja, D’angelo, and Christina Aguilera. We also included a Best-Of mixtape (above) so you can bump the beats blended together and get stoked for the BADDER Band. If this list appears like a hip-hop Hall of Fame, that’s because it is. You know Preemo’s steez…
BCA PREEMO PRIMER: Gang Starr Tracks
BCA PREEMO PRIMER: Classic DJ Premier Production Credits