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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Nas, "N.Y. State of Mind" (1994)

Large Professor was teaching me production techniques I didn't understand and he told me one day, "Yo Preem, I got this dude named Rapper Nas. He's ill." When he played me [Main Source's] "Live at the BBQ" [featuring Nas], I was like, "What in the world?" I was already hooked. I got to see him perform live and said, "Man, one day." Once he got the deal with Columbia, I was like, "Pleeeease. I want to be on this album." 

When Nas says in the beginning of the song, "I don't know how to start this shit," he was serious. When I'm building the beat, I think he's gonna know to come in. Most rappers know after eight bars to come in; it's the standard. As I'm doing this, I just happened to look [at him] and he's just looking down going, "I don't know how to start this shit." I'm going [makes hand gesture] "Two, three" and he just started the verse. I was like, "Wooooo."

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