EXCLUSIVE: DJ Premier Splits Production Duties For First Time With Female Beatsmith Jazimoto

In an exclusive interview with AllHipHop, Jazimoto and DJ Premier talk splitting production duties and the need for a bigger spotlight on women in Hip-Hop.

DJ Premier truly needs no introduction. As one-half of Gang Starr, he cemented his name in the Hip-Hop history books decades ago. But the 57-year-old legend continues to push the boundaries of creativity and pump out new projects. Most recently, Premier teamed up with Brooklyn native Teflon for his forthcoming sophomore album, 2 Sides to Every Story. But bubbling behind the scenes is a welcome surprise—the production work of Jazimoto, evident on the single “It Is What It Is” featuring Lil Fame.

As the daughter of jazz musician Wilber Morris of Wilberforce (which included Nas’ father Olu Dara), Jazimoto has been around music her entire life. The Washington Heights native learned to play piano at just nine months old. She was later classically trained to play the piano and violin via The Suzuki Method. By second grade, she was performing at Carnegie Hall. Following high school, she was offered scholarships at Chapman University, The Julliard School, New England Conservatory of Music and Boulder College of Music. But Hip-Hop was calling. Introduced to the genre by her brother, a DJ, she eventually got her first MPC and the rest is history. On 2 Sides To Every Story, Jazimoto splits production duties with DJ Premier, a first for Preem.

“Jazimoto is a classically trained musician, so she has unlimited space to bring a sound of her own into the Hip-Hop world that sets her apart from everyone else,” he tells AllHipHop. “She’s decisive about how she wants her music sound and her ear for detail is meticulous. She call me on the phone to have me fix something that doesn’t sound right. Nothing is getting past her [laughs]. That’s 100% how producers are, including myself.

“Splitting the production duties was simple because when you blend only two producers together and mix all of the songs up in the sequence of the album. The scenes change so smoothly because our sounds are so different every time.  It sounds like an album instead of a compilation.”

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For Jazimoto, she describes the entire experience as a “dream come true.” She adds, “From splitting production with a legend like Preem for a full album from one of my favorite emcees?! C’mon…it gets no better [laughs]. Preem’s my all time favorite producer. The way he structures his beats is so precise. Everything on the 1! And being this is the first time that he’s paired up with just one other producer for a full record makes this really special. Sonically, it all sounds cohesive…but you’ll get to hear it for yourself on June 30.”

With the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop falling on August 11, women still have a long way to go in terms of getting the recognition they deserve. It can often feel like a boys club trying to navigate such a historically male-dominated industry. But when giants like DJ Premier share the spotlight with a female producer, it’s a promising sign.

“I don’t think there’s many women producers out there because the craft was never really targeted toward women,” Jazi says. “Yes, you have women musicians but aside from the likes of say Missy Elliot and Patrice Rushen, it’s been a male-oriented pursuit. I think most women in Hip-Hop want their share of the spotlight, which means being seen and heard by way of emceeing.

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Jazimoto continues, “Women have come a long way in Hip-Hop, and the lane has opened up to be more inclusive over the past several years. Women are showing up and showing out, and I love it. From Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Remy Ma, Doja Cat, Latto, Saweetie, Little Simz, SZA—the list goes on and on. It’s no longer a male dominated culture. In fact, you could argue that tides have turned over the past year or two and that the women are running s###. Now it’s time for the ladies to make our mark on the production side.”

DJ Premier agrees, adding, “Women always deserve more shine in Hip-Hop. They have proven to be just as much of a necessity to the competition in every part of this profession as emcees, producers, DJs, graffiti writers, dancers, lawyers, managers, stylists, models, business administrators, publishers, label owners and so on.”

As Jazimoto mentioned, 2 Sides To Every Story drops June 30. Get a little taste above and pre-order the project here.