Christopher Edward Martin (born March 21, 1966), better known as DJ Premier (also Premo/Primo/Preemo/Preme/Preem) is a prominent American hip hop producer and DJ, and the instrumental half of the duo Gang Starr, together with MC Guru on the lyrical side. Originally from Houston, he has lived in Brooklyn, New York virtually his entire professional career. Many fans and hip hop purists consider him to be the greatest hip hop producer ever. He is hailed as an architect of "hardcore East Coast hip-hop known by its heavy drums and sparse loops."
The Source magazine named DJ Premier one of the 5 greatest producers in hip-hop history, while editors from About.com ranked him as #1 in their "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers" list.
Chris Martin was introduced to DJing while attending school at Prairie View A&M in Prairie View, Texas. DJ Premier's original stage name was Waxmaster C, although he had already changed it to DJ Premier after he had relocated to Brooklyn and joined Gang Starr. He chose the name Premier because his mom gave it to him. She said he is always trying to be the first at everything so it should be "Premier".
In an interview with XXL Magazine, DJ Premier was asked how his sound evolved, to which he replied, "Marley Marl is my number one inspiration. Jam Master Jay, Mixmaster Ice and UTFO. Grandmaster D and Whodini. DJ Cheese, Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa. Jazzy Jay, even Cut Creator. Seeing them do what they do. It’s black music, it’s black culture, it comes from the ghetto. How can you not relate to ghetto people when that’s the rawest form of blackness? Even though it’s not a good place in regards to the economy and how bad people have it in the neighborhood, the realism’s there, and that’s what we were born out of. So I very much pay respect by doing the same type of music in return."
Relationships with artists
The details concerning DJ Premier’s falling out with certain artists are hazy and vague, having seen little publicity. Jeru the Damaja, M.O.P., KRS-One, and Group Home were artists who worked with Premier extensively early in their careers but have since parted ways. This was the case with other emcees such as Nas and Jay-Z; however, in the latter cases, it is likely that major-label interference was the main reason that DJ Premier’s involvement was ruled out from more recent projects.
DJ Premier was fully responsible for the production of Jeru the Damaja’s first two albums. Jeru released two albums since then, with Premier having nothing to do with either of them. The supposed reason that the two are no longer affiliates is that there was apparently a financial dispute between them, and Jeru felt that Premier was cheating him out of his fair share.
As far as Group Home was concerned, Premier commented, "They don't respect what fed them," in a 2003 interview, going on to say that the only reason he produced a track on their second album was because Guru said he would rhyme on it.