Earlier this month, DJ Premier released an album of unused beats called, appropriately, “Beats that Collected Dust.” Available via a variety of sources (and illegally here), the album is really a testament to Primo’s greatness; after all, how many other producers could seriously consider releasing an album of beats that, for whatever reason, were deemed not dope enough for release?
The problem with Primo, though, is that his beats are repetitive. Where other producers of similar stature (think Madlib, Dilla, Shadow, RJD2) layer numerous samples atop one another to create complexity and nuance, Primo digs for that single head-nodding loop: that one snippet of a record – often located where you least expect it – that, when accompanied by drums, sounds like it was made to be sampled.
Maybe this stems from his roots in the old school. Or maybe Primo knows that a simple yet well-constructed boom-bap beat remains the best way for any emcee to showcase their skills on the mic. Unfortunately, it also means that listening to Primo beats without an emcee can get repetitive. Three straight minutes of the same loop, no matter how dope it is, can get tedious.
Still, for any fan of Primo’s, or good hip-hop in general, this album is definitely worth a listen.
Check out two of Collected Dust’s tracks below, then visit your favourite online record store and buy it!
DJ Premier – B-Line (Beats that Collected Dust, 2008)
DJ Premier – Original Represent (Beats that Collected Dust, 2008)