DJ Premier explains how he selects his year end list again. This one is good though. It’s a little bit more insight into how he judges his albums. Props to him for looking at album art because in today’s digital world, that artwork will be crucial in presenting and painting an image with your songs. This interview was conducted with HipHopDX. Props to Premierblog and HHDX.
I don’t know how this continues to be an issue. Kanye West didn’t make a list and from what I’ve seen, he hasn’t responded or felt dissed. Think about it. This is Kanye! Read on.
DJ Premier: Well, I thought Ghostface’s [Apollo Kids] album was better than mine. I really did. I’m being honest. I wasn’t being bias at all. And I thought my album was a good body of work. I didn’t put it up there just because I made it, and I deserve to be at the top – which I do deserve to be at the top. But I don’t put myself on a pedestal like that when I compare it to other things that I like. And when I listened to Ghost’s album, which I got two weeks after mine came out, I was really impressed and I was like, “Yo, man, this is it. This is the one. This is my #1 album.” ‘Cause I made that list literally two hours before I went to go do my radio show, and [so], you know, [there are] a couple I wish I could put in a different slot… There’s just one or two albums that I wish I had moved to a higher rank. Like, I thought Roc Marciano’s [Marcberg] should be higher… But hey, if I had cut it to 20, [at least] he still made it. Again, it was really just my list of things that I loved to listen to this past year. A lot of people thought, “How can you leave Eminem’s [Recovery] and Kanye [West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] out?” And I was like, I’m not disrespecting them. I love both of them. Kanye’s a good friend of mine. Eminem’s a friend of mine. I just didn’t like their albums better than what I listened to. I didn’t say it was [wack], I just said these [albums] are the ones that I liked this year. I thought Recovery was better than Relapse. There were better songs on there, [but] compared to everything else I chose, it didn’t make the cut. Kanye’s album, I was anticipating that one highly based on what he told me it was gonna be: predominantly a boom-bap album. I think it’s a great album, but compared to The Left’s [Gas Mask] and Roc Marc and Ghost and all these other albums, it couldn’t compare. Because, my expectations were very, very high [for] that album.
Some people thought I was [being] mad because [Kanye West] didn’t use my beat. Like, I never been sensitive to that. I been turned down on beats a million times. Jay-Z, he’s turned down many of beats. And I don’t get mad like that. The only time I ever got mad at Jay for not picking a beat was not telling me that he didn’t like [a beat], when he only called me the day before he turned [his album] in to do a beat, back when he did American Gangster. And even that, he and I squashed that, after several hours of not being happy that I wasn’t on the album. And that was the only time I ever took something slightly to heart. [But] after a few hours I was over it. I don’t hold on to stuff and hold [a] grudge over people [turning] down a beat. It’s their record at the end of the day. If they don’t want it, I can’t force them to use it when it’s their album. If it’s my album, then I choose what I choose. But otherwise, yeah, there’s no need to get mad at an artist for not choosing a beat. They don’t want it, they don’t want it. Sometimes it’ll end up in the hands of somebody else and turn into something. “Sing Like Bilal” still became a hit in New York. And it helped Joell Ortiz get more recognition… I don’t trip off of people turning my music down. It’s all good.
I’m not that sensitive. So when people were commenting on the list, which I went to HipHopDX the other day and saw I had over 138 comments on my list. And I was just like, the people that were upset, it was funny what they were upset about. It’s almost like they think that I’m not listening to all these albums. I listened to every one of these albums. ‘Cause I do a radio show every week, so in order for me to do my radio show, and we’re formatted to break underground music, [those albums are] what I’m gonna base [my playlist] on. I know Drake is not underground, but he had a good album. In my opinion, it was a good body of work. I like [Thank Me Later]. I like Rick Ross’ [Teflon Don] album. I thought that was good. And I judge [the quality of albums] on more than just beats and rhymes. [What is the] subject matter? How was it mixed? If you have a bad mix with your album [but] you got some dope beats and rhymes, that’s some points against you because your mix-downs are not clear and crisp. So all of that goes into how I judge a record. These other guys, they ain’t doing all of that. They’re not judging on your mix-downs, your lyrical wordplay, your production, who you have on your album, artwork – I’m even looking at artwork. Like, it’s everything. Even the name of your album – all of that shit. Does [the title] make sense to me? That has a lot to do with it. And then again, the main one, is my expectations of the artist that I am listening to. People have high expectations of me to keep giving ‘em hot shit; I have high expectations of artists to give me hot shit. And when I don’t get it, I’m disappointed, but I know they’ll bring another album next time [and until then] I’ll play their old stuff. If you are of the era of when it was really, really great, and making solid albums [was commonplace], then my expectations of you are even more higher ‘cause you know how to make albums. Not everybody knows how to make albums. They know how to make songs, but not everybody knows how to make albums.