DJ Premier Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Notorious B.I.G. “Unbelievable” (1994)

DJ Premier: “I almost didn’t make the record. Big called me at the last minute, and said, ‘Get me a track,’ and I told him, ‘I don’t have time to make one.’ I had other deadlines to meet at the time. He was on his way to blow up, and I loved him, and I wanted to help, but I really just didn’t have the time. I used to see Big in the area all the time. Just to hang. Mister Cee put me on to Big, and we would go down to the store where we used to buy 40s. We’ll see Big, and he’ll be like, ‘Yo, what do I got to do to get put on?’ And I said, ‘Well, you messing with Puff.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, but he’s taking too long.’ And I would be like, ‘Nah, stay with him. He’s going to help you get rich.’ He was just impatient like all artists, but it’s a process.

“So he just kept pushing me like, ‘Yo, Prim, please, please, I ain’t got no more money in my budget. All I got is $5,000.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, I cost way more than that, but I love you, and I’m going to go ahead and look out for you. Just get up here tonight.’ And I did that beat. He was here. Standing right over there [points at the corner next to the turntable] while I was sampling the beat, and goes, ‘I just want to watch [imitates Biggie’s breathing].’ [Laughs.] I don’t like people watching me making my beats, but with Big I was just comfortable. He was actually the one who said, ‘Yo, scratch R. Kelly’s ‘Your Body's Callin'.’ You know where he goes, ‘Unbelievable~’’ And I was like, ‘Yo, that sounds like it’ll work.’ Then he just went in there and spit it. No paper, no nothing. He actually just sits there for hours. And you’d think he’s not doing anything, or even concentrating, and then when it’s getting damn near three or four in the morning, you ask him, ‘Dude, are we going to do this tonight? Or are we coming back tomorrow?’ He’ll be like, ‘Nah, I’m ready.’ And he just gets up, and goes in there. Bangs it. Done.”

blog comments powered by Disqus