DJ Premier: My Life in 15 Songs

Gang Starr co-founder and producer behind Nas, Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. classics recalls early days, lawsuits and working with Limp Bizkit

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Christina Aguilera, "Ain't No Other Man" (2006)

Her ex-husband Jordan [Bratman] is a big hip-hop head and introduced her to my stuff. She liked my style. I was only supposed to do one song and I came in with a blank canvas. The first beat I did was "Back in the Day" and we were already in the same zone. I figured I was done and she's like, "Wanna work on another one?" and we did "Still Dirrty" and "Thank You." She wants vamps and pre-choruses and next thing you know it's, "I have to step out for a second and when I get back, I wanna hear it." [Laughs.]

I started messing with the break for this one and she said, "What is that?! That's my single. Can you do a breakdown? [Premier imitates horns and drums in song] That's it." Her and [songwriter] Kara [Dioguardi] went into the other room, came out later and said, "I'm ready to record." I'm down to [work with pop stars] anytime because it's still gonna have my signature to a degree where I don't have to be like, "Aw man, I've gone soft." But the pop stars ain't reachin' out. Even my fans said, "Aw, not you, Preem" when they heard I was working with her. Then they heard the song.

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