Ask a hip-hop purist who the greatest rap producer of all time is, chances are they'll say DJ Premier. Born and raised in small-town Prarie View Texas, Premo first hit the scene as one half of Gang Starr with his buddy Guru in the late '80s. The group flourished throughout the '90s with four straight classic albums: 1991's Step In the Arena, '92's Daily Operation, '94's Hard to Earn, '98's Moment of Truth.
But Premier's production discography spans well beyond just Gang Starr. He's blessed loads of artists—from underground acts like Jeru The Damaja, Group Home and M.O.P., to world-famous stars like The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Nas—helping just about all of them make some of the best material of their careers. And beyond just being the go-to producer for rappers looking for the definitive boom-bap, he's also had great success working with singers like D'Angelo and, amazingly, even a pop princess like Christina Aguilera.
A list of 25 isn't nearly enough to account for all his important work. But we think the songs on here represent his signiture style. His drums kick harder than a sensei but he lets his hands do the talking with his DJ cuts. And he's famous for searching and searching and searching until he finds just the right sound to sample or slice up. When you conisder that Complex TV just made Jeru's "Come Clean" the subject of the latest episode of Magnum Opus (peep the episode below), 20 years after Premo made the beat, well, you can see the lasting impact of his music. He's a living legend.
That being said, these are The 25 Best DJ Premier Beats.
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