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The 25 Best DJ Premier Beats

23. Sauce Money "Against The Grain" (1997)

Album: Soul in the Hole
Label: Loud/Relativity/Roc-A-Fella

Apart from his uncanny ability to contruct sample-based loops of unparalleled boom-bap, DJ Premier has an encyclopedic knowledge of vocals and a satirist's ear for turning any given phrase's meaning on its head. For this hard-boiled Sauce Money lamentation against the trifling ways of souped-up rappers, Premo takes five earnest words from "Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)" by Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band—"Watch out for your friends"—and inverts their meaning from a plea to warning. The rest of the beat carries through that same tension by virtue of a deceptively simple blend of shimmering organ fills and razor sharp breakbeats. As Sauce puts it, "When we bless this with precise shit, we keep your mental lit." Yep, that pretty much sums it up. —Rob Kenner

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