Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One, & Rakim “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)” (2007)
DJ Premier: “Rick Rubin did the original, and word on the street is they weren’t satisfied with the outcome. It was a whole different tempo, and a whole different approach. Rob Stone said they might actually want to remix it. Actually, KRS-One called me and said, ‘Yo, I need you to help fix this record.’ Then I saw the launch on MTV, and I figured that’s over with, when they launch the sneaker and everything. Then all of a sudden I got a call back again two or three weeks later saying, ‘Yo, they still want you to do something.’ So they sent me the parts, and everything was different. Kanye, Nas, and KRS did the joint to the Rick Rubin beat. Rakim wanted to make his own beat. So he made his own beat, but at the wrong tempo. So when I got it I had to tweak it to get him to that tempo, but still keep him in the same tone of voice. You can do that with technology. So I had to keep him in the same key. He was at a 100 rpm, but it was 107, so that’s a big step. So I stay tuned in the same zero note that he pulled, sped it up, and it matched. Then I just pieced the whole thing together.
“For the video, Rakim came here, and we turned all the lights down, and just made it really dark. Since he’s the only one who came here, when you see the play back, it’s ill. We shot him just with the acapella so we can bring him back in. When I saw that, even though Rakim was last on the song, in the video, I thought he should go first. And that’s how we flipped it around. The video was dope, man.”