As DJ Premier finishes all the last minute tasks, taking down the soundproofing, in-wall speakers and moving the last bit of his equipment, furniture and hundreds of vinyl records, it’s certainly a hectic time in his life—but it does not mean there isn’t time to reflect on one of the cornerstones of his legacy.
On January 7th, 2015, after nearly twenty-five years, the iconic D&D Studios on the fourth floor of 320 West 37th Street shut its doors. Premier first set up shop at D&D in 1991 to record Gang Starr’s third album, Daily Operation, and ever since it has been both a home and a conduit for artists of all genre’s to attach their lyrics to Preemo’s complex rhythm of the streets.
There have been innumerable sessions with hundreds of established and emerging artists, a veritable slew of classic recordings and even more stories created at D&D Studios, as Premier set up camp to put his stamp on timeless music from Gang Starr, Rakim, KRS-One, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Christina Aguilera, D’Angelo, Janet Jackson, Mos Def, Common, Jeru The Damaja, Bumpy Knuckles, The Game, M.O.P., Snoop Dogg, Cee-Lo, Mac Miller, Kanye West, Slaughterhouse, Mack Wilds and many more, to his recently released collaborative project, PRhyme, with Royce Da 5’9″, to still unheard and recent recordings with Miguel, Wale, Scarface, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Joey Bada$$; all of which were birthed at the legendary Studio.
Twelve years after Premier first set foot in D&D, he bought the studio from its founders, Douglas Grama and David Lotwin, in 2003 and renamed it ‘HeadQcourterz’ after his late friend Kenneth “HeadQcourterz” Walker. While Premier knows the end of D&D closes the book on a major chapter of Hip-Hop history, he also realizes it’s the start of a new phase of his career. “The building was sold in order to change it from commercial business to residential and our leases would not be renewed, so basically that means Everybody Out! It is tough to accept after so many years making that much history there, but life is good and I will continue to make hot music. Passion never leaves your soul and I have a lot of it so I’m ready to continue on.” says Premier.
With Premier’s relocation of the “HeadQcourterz” to KAS Music And Sound at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria complete, the three-time Grammy Award winner pushes ahead with an active label (Year Round Records), which Premier will release his debut album, Last Session @320, on in 2015 (a debut album that includes major guest stars) his independent album projects (NYGz, MC Eiht, Lady Of Rage, Khaleel) and begin to heavily focus on stepping into the film and television scoring worlds and use the new “HeadQcourterz” live space to work on a large live show, replete with his own band to tour and play his greatest hits—with so many hits to choose from, the hard part will be coming up with a set list!