A$AP Ferg teamed up with famed producer DJ Premier – whose productions buoyed classic albums from Gang Starr, Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, among others – for “Our Streets,” a new collaboration full of head-nod-inducing drum loops, tuneful soul samples and the sounds of scratching vinyl.
On his albums, Ferg frequently favors the bone-crushing trap beats that rule today’s airwaves, but he bobs easily over Premier’s throwback boom-bap beat, dropping flinty syllables in between sharp thwacks of percussion. The rapper celebrates Premier’s production prowess and his own talent in the same couplet – “Primo put the soul in it, I make the track hot/ And this thing forever got the game in the padlock” – while also paying homage to Guru, Premier’s former partner in Gang Starr: “My bars is Gang Starr, nobody can fuck with me/ Rest in peace Guru, nobody can fuck with he.”
“With Ferg, or anybody I work with, they already know my history so they know that I come from the Nineties era,” Premier said in a statement. “Ferg just automatically said ‘Don’t do what I’ve been doing on my albums – I want you to do a Preemo style and let me show I can rap to that,’ so I was like, ‘let’s do it.’ Everybody was happy off jump – no suggestions, no ‘I think we should go this direction’ – it was an automatic in, out, done, in one day.”
“It’s a dream to be able to work with the legendary Dj Premier on this record,” Ferg adds. “Preemo has worked with all the NYC hip hop icons and greats – Nas, Biggie, Guru, Hov, KRS-One and the Lox. Just knowing I was working with him pushed me as an MC.”
“Our Streets” will appear on Payday Records, which is preparing to re-launch after a long period of dormancy. Payday released DJ Premier’s New York Reality Check 101 compilation and Premier-produced LPs from Jeru the Damaja as well as Jay-Z’s debut solo single, “In My Lifetime.” To commemorate the label’s 25th anniversary, DJ Premier will release four new productions on the label in six-month intervals. He has stayed busy in recent years, contributing to Faith Evans’ Notorious B.I.G. tribute album, Miguel’s “2 Lovin You,” Yuna’s “Places to Go,” Dr. Dre’s “Animals” and numerous other tracks.
“I’ve been DJ’ing since the whole hip-hop culture was born,” the producer recently told Rolling Stone. “I know how to approach it.”