DJ Premier Pays Homage On Hip-Hop Volume One

Independent record label Mass Appeal, helmed by legendary New York emcee Nas, is releasing six EP’s over the next year in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary. Each of these EP’s will be created and curated by a different producer who has been critical to a different realm of hip-hop. DJ Premier, arguably one of the best producers in the game, is at the helm with Volume 1.

Preemo got his start in the classic duo Gang Starr alongside emcee Guru. Following that he worked with a diverse cavalcade of hip-hop, pop, R&B, and rock artists including Anderson .Paak, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson, and Jay-Z. Also, Kanye West, Limp Bizkit, Mac Miller, and Eminem for good measure.

On Hip-Hop Volume 1, DJ Premier gathers a collective of the best talent, both new and old school. The Brooklyn-based Premier highlights juggles his geography between NYC and the South, making for an eclectic yet cohesive blend. You’ve got East Coast rap with Nas, Slick Rick, Joey Bada$$, and Remy Ma. Southern rap represents with Run the Jewels (Atlanta), Lil’ Wayne (NOLA), and Rapsody (North Carolina).

There is not a weak track on this EP. Every rapper brings their absolute A-Game. Besides featuring top notch solo acts and the incomparable Run the Jewels, Preemo also works as mad scientist here with two whack-a-doo emcee pairings. Remy Ma and Rapsody, two of the best and most underrated female emcees in the game, throw down on my favorite track of the album. And who would think to partner 80’s legend Slick Rick together with mixtape master Weezy? This track serves as proper reminder that Lil’ Wayne can seriously drop heat.

Let’s talk about the track “Remy Rap.” Run the Jewels are one of my favorite groups of every genre. So it’s quite the accolade to upstage them. But “Remy Rap” is so unbelievably good, considering it is perhaps the simplest track on the project. Two verses, no, hook, boom bap programmed drums with a sparse bass line and some scratching at the end.  That’s it. And yet the song captivates from the get go, due mostly to the dueling emcees.

Remy Ma comes out the gate with fast, aggressive bars and then transitions into Rapsody’s verse, which might go even harder if that’s possible. Both drop punchline after punchline, my favorite being Rapsody’s, “Never had an urge to be the wave, I’m just the f****ng ocean.”

Premier holds everything together with his signature breakbeats, scratching, classic turntablism, and even some jazz sampling. It’s comfort rap, drawing together the best of what the genre has to offer.

Hip-Hop Volume 1 is a cypher album. I can imagine the rappers standing in a circle in the park, ready to drop in with their best and hardest bars. It’s a masterclass in rhyming. The five tracks cover barely fourteen minutes run time, but listening closely will leave you breathless, exhausted, and reaching to press repeat. Stream Hip-Hop Volume 1 HERE and follow Mass Appeal for future releases.

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