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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Jeru the Damaja, "Come Clean" (1994)

My next lawsuit. [Laughs.] Jeru's voice really resonates everywhere. It's so big. I said, "Let me start working with him and see if we can get a vibe." [I wanted] to get his first record to set his own identity off as a solo artist – when Jeru heard the water drops [that start the song], he said, "Yo, that's a hit, Preem." Certain records, we knew we had a hit. Everything's experimentation for me, so I felt at first it needed a little bit more [production]. But Jeru wanted to keep it raw.

With the lawsuit, somebody ratted on us. [The estate of jazz drummer Shelly Manne, whose 1972 track "Infinity" was sampled for the song, sued Premier.] It's a little, itty-bity piece of the song and it's a drummer's album, so who's gonna really find that? Somebody ratted and whoever it is [lowers voice] one day, we'll find them. [Laughs.] But the money was flowing, so we paid them off. They just said, "Add him as a writer," which we did and the fee wasn't over the top.

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