DJ Premier is one of hip-hop’s super producers. Based out of D&D Studios on Manhattan’s West 37th Street, the beatmaker was an integral part of the East Coast hip-hop scene during the 1980s and 1990s, working with the likes of KRS-One, Lost Boyz, Nas and many other renowned MCs.
Premier’s production style was heavily influenced by boom-bap and helped grow the flourishing East Coast jazz-hop sonic that was emerging in the early ’90s. However, there were some other strange influences that the icon had. Some of which ended up shaping the music he made.
During an episode of the DJ’s YouTube series ‘So Wassup?’, the record producer and label executive unveiled one quirky movie that inspired him while making M.O.P.’s single ‘Brownsville,’ from their 1996 sophomore album Firing Squad.
When he made the instrumental for ‘Brownsville’, Preemo revealed that he was obsessed with the cosmic and futuristic sound effects he heard in sci-fi films like Star Trek. As such, it gave him a drive to produce a track that sounded out of this world.
Speaking about his obsession with odd, futuristic sonics, the DJ (real name Christopher Martin) explained, “I’ve always been into these weird spaced-out [sounds]. Shout out to Pharrell; I saw him do an interview with Mark Ronson. I saw him talk about how he comes from the era of Star Trek and he’s always been into space sounds. I’m not a Treky, but it was part of my childhood coming up.”
He continued, “Sound-wise, I like to just experiment with things so I can show the versatility of a producer is not in one box.” Delving into the creation of ‘Brownsville’, Martin detailed, “I was going through sounds, and I found something that sounds like communication sounds.”
He proceeded to explain how he programmed the alien-inspired sounds over the drums and made the track sound like nothing he had ever made before, by being completely out of this world.
You can watch DJ Premier explain how Star Trek influenced the making of M.O.P’s ‘Brownsville’ in the video below.