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The 25 Best DJ Premier Beats

15. Jay-Z "D'Evils" (1996)

Album: Reasonable Doubt
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Priority

It opens with a classically Premieresque drip-drop piano line, followed by, yes, a sample from none other than Snoop, on "Murder Was the Case" (and the song's most memorable line) just a year before East Coast-West Coast rivalries manifested in their worst iterations. As if that weren't enough, it's also wrapped around a Dr. Dre track ("Lil Ghetto Boy"), a Prodigy line (by way of LL's "I Shot Ya" remix), with Allen Toussaint's jazzy "Go Back Home" as the song's backbone melody. The effect is a dark, hazy piece of production that perfectly weaves in some of rap's great moments of brooding spirituality—for a song about the dearth of spiritualism in the 'hood. Foster Kamer

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