You may not know DJ Premier (born Christopher Martin) by name, but you’ve without a doubt heard his music. Cited as one of the “definitive architects of New York hip hop” by NPR, the acclaimed DJ/producer has worked with some of the world’s biggest artists, earned himself three GRAMMYs, and helped crystalize the sound of his predecessors into a cohesive musical aesthetic.
These days, Premo has been touring with a new live outfit under the moniker DJ Premier & The Badder Band, which breathes a new, veral energy into his expansive body of work. Recently, Premo and his band (featuring bassist Braden Watt, trombonist Mark Williams, drummer Frank Reece, and trumpet player Jonathan Powell) stopped by NPR’s offices for a brief performance as part of their ongoing Tiny Desk Concert series, marking the first time one of the acclaimed sets has been led by a DJ. You can watch DJ Premier & The Badder Band‘s NPR Tiny Desk concert below:
In addition to his work as one-half of Gang Starr (along with rapper Guru), Premo’s resume includes DJ and production work for a veritable who’s-who of high profile hip hop artists, including Big L, Big Daddy Kane, The Notorious B.I.G., Common, KRS One, Jay-Z, and countless others. Premier’s work extends beyond the realm of hip hop as well: He has dipped his toe in the waters of nu-metal (on Limp Bizkit‘s “N 2 Gether Now” with Method Man), pop (as the main producer on Christina Aguilera‘s 2006 album Back To Basics), and even classical (on his RE:GENERATION project with Nas that samples Mozart‘s 36th Symphony).
SETLIST: DJ Premier Live Band | NPR Tiny Desk Medley
KRS-One – “KRS-One Attacks”
KRS-One – “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”
Das Efx – “Real Hip-Hop”
Nas – “Nas Is Like”
Jeru The Damaja – “Da Bichez”
Gang Starr – “Step In The Arena”
Gang Starr feat. M.O.P. – “1/2 & 1/2”
Royce Da 5’9 – “Boom”
Gang Starr – “Moment Of Truth”