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The 25 Best DJ Premier Beats

24. Gang Starr f/ Jeru the Damaja & Lil' Dap "I'm the Man" (1992)

Album: Daily Operation
Label: Chrysalis/EMI

This song—one of only two on Daily Operation that go so far as to use six different samples—is like the three-course-fine-dining of Premier beats. And it opens simply, with Guru spitting over record pops and guitar lines peppering a breakbeat in 4/4 time. That's all it really is until Guru finishes his verse, and the beat does a full change-out, a complete tidal shift. Then: Lil Dap is speeding along a funk-laden bass line augmented by tinny high-hats. Not long after that comes another musical hairpin curve, signified by something like a fax tone, or an alarm, and the wall of sound around the bass is broken down, as that bass opens right the fuck up into a kicking upright bass, manifesting in a full-on groove, with stuffed horns interrupting a kickdrum as Jeru drives us home. Foster Kamer

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