“I bought J. Cole's KOD LP as soon as it dropped with no warning to the fans; which I too am a fan,” DJ Premier told DJBooth of the song. “‘1985’ resonated with me immediately, so I asked Cole if I could get the a cappella and do an underground DJ version just for fun. He sent it and I just pieced some stab samples to keep it on some boom bap shit.”
In true Preemo fashion, he added a boom bap twist, scratching, and vocal flourishes, which definitely take the record back to Premier’s era.
Cole’s version was a purported diss toward Soundcloud rappers, and a few younger MCs—including Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, and YBN Cordae—took offense. Since KOD’s April release, he has discussed Soundcloud rap in a number of interviews, and even sat down to have an hour-long conversation with Pump, where they discussed everything from early inspirations to Pump’s influence on his listeners.
With Premier’s remix, the song now, in many ways, touches on three generations of rap.