There’s no denying DJ Premier‘s turntable mastery. The legendary DJ/producer is embedded in the history of hip-hop, holding a repertoire of classics that encapsulate the sound and influence of the East Coast and has remained a prominent figure in music today. DJ Premier stopped by NPR to perform for its Tiny Desk series on Monday (Aug. 21) — the first DJ-based set in Tiny Desk history — and brought along a nine-track collection of his classic productions.
The Badder Band laid down a harmonious melody to introduce Premier, who hopped on the turntable and laced the arrangement with his signature scratches. The start of Premier’s set began with a voice asking, “How many real hip-hoppers in the place right now,” a fitting question given the nine-track medley of throwback cuts to follow. KRS-One‘s “Attacks” kicked off the medley as Badder Band members Mark Williams and Jonathan Powell interjected horns. From there, Premier seamlessly blended into KRS-One‘s “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know” adding his own adlibs to the classic track.
Later, Preemo chopped and screwed Nas‘ 90s cut “Nas Is Like,” calling for the NPR audience to participate in a chant as he gave each of the Badder Band horn players a moment for a solo, and brought his performance to a close by rapping along with “Moment Of Truth” from Gang Starr.
Watch DJ Premier’s Tiny Desk performance below.