From Reasonable Doubt to In My LIfetime Vol. 1, Jay-Z’s approach as a rapper went through some noticeable changes, lyrically and also with choice of production. On his debut, the bulk of the tracks were handled by Clark Kent, Ski Beatz, and the homey DJ Premier. His sophomore effort had a little bit more gloss in it’s production, mostly due to the addition of Puffy’s Hitmen behind the boards. Lucky for us all, Jay kept a few of his original producers on board for In My Lifetime, and rightfully so, started it off with a DJ Premier produced intro. The sole amount of music Primo has produced throughout the last twenty years is impressive in itself, and amongst that batch of records is countless classics, including several marked moments in hip hop history. It is no surprise that his name consistently comes up in the G.O.A.T. producer discussion. His discography alone has its own Wikipedia page, which I have yet to come across for another hip hop producer. Preem would be unanimously respected throughout the industry if his career consisted only of his role in Gang Starr, but his legacy and influence has touched the careers of many of the greats, Jay-Z included.
After the breakout success of Reasonable Doubt, all eyes were on Jigga to achieve equal success with the always challenging second album. After we find out that the man is reloaded, the album jumps into action with that DJ Premier bounce. In true Primo fashion, “Intro” is built off precise chops from more than one record. First used is Latimore’s “Let Me Go”, which he skillfully cuts up into three main hits, and then triggers them to the drum pattern. That section ends, leaving the listener unsure whether the intro is over as they hear a classical sounding sample from Ferrante & Teicher’s “Break Up To Make Up”. As that sample ends with a chiming triangle hit, a whole new beat begins this time with Isaac Hayes’ “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” as the centerpiece. I must say, Hova don’t play around with his intros… I am a HUGE fan of not only this one in particular, but also the openers from The Dynasty, Vol. 3, The Blueprint, and even Kingdom Come to name a few. I think we need a Primo/Jay-Z track sometime in 2011, come on guys.