Pete Rock Reminisces about Nas, Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G.

By Rahul Lal

Two of the most influential producers ever, Pete Rock and DJ Premier, were N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s guests on this week’s episode of the podcast Drink Champs . Pete Rock began the show by talking about his role on Nas’ classic album Illmatic; he worked on “The World is Yours.”

“We knew he was going to blow [up],” Rock said. “Wasn’t nobody in the game rapping like that. He stood in his own light but he was probably inspired by the Kool G Raps, the Rakims. That was the one, this was new and up and coming and we were confident and he was confident and I was happy.”

Related: Ice Cube: ‘The First Two Scripts I Wrote Were Wack; The Third One Was ‘Friday’”

While he was still young, everybody knew instantly that it was Nasty Nas’ time to shine and take over the game. DJ Premier contributed three songs to Illmatic as well, producing the hit ‘N.Y. State of Mind.’

But Primo wanted to talk about the classic song he worked on with Jay-Z, “D’Evils” off of Reasonable Doubt.

“Jay called me and said ‘I got this song call D’Evils.’ He explained it to me and then he rapped the whole song on the phone,” Primo remembered. “Then, after he rapped it on the phone, then he gave me the scratch idea. He said ‘This is the atmosphere that I want musically but I want you to, no matter what you make, do these scratches.’ I went down there and said ‘Yo, I’ll be ready by the time you get down there’ and it was ready.”

Both Premier and Rock worked with the Notorious B.I.G. as well, and Rock remembered working on the “Juicy” remix.

“He heard the idea of ‘Juicy’ in my basement,” Pete Rock revealed. “I already knew [B.I.G. was going to be successful]. I didn’t even pay attention to [his look]. I was about the skill. Yo, homie could rap and I got the beat to match, let’s get something popping. He heard the idea of ‘Juicy’ and I didn’t actually do the original, I ended up doing the remix and that was the only thing B.I.G. and I had ever done. He did pick beats but we just never got the chance [to do anything else].”

To hear the full interview with both Pete Rock and DJ Premier, listen to the latest episode of Drink Champs podcast below.