Whenever an official museum of Hip-Hop music and culture opens its doors, DJ Premier better have his own wing. The legendary producer and DJ holds fort at HeadQCourterz Studios, and we asked Premo to drop knowledge on its history, as well as the creation of the now 20-year-old Gang Starr classic album, Hard To Earn.
HeadQCourterz was originally D&D Studios, where Premier hooked up beats for the likes of Jay Z, Biggie and Nas, and many more, before purchasing it in 2003 and renaming1 it in honor of his late friend Kenneth “HeadQCourterz” Walker. One recorded recorded in the history filled lab was the hit b-side “DWYCK.”
“‘DWYCK’ came together because Nice & Smooth were working on their Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed [album],” Premier told Hip-Hop Wired. “They wanted to use the [Gang Starr] ‘Manifest’ record to do a record called ‘Down The Line.’ [We said] alright, let’s return the favor and do one for us. It was a fun record. It wasn’t really about anything but just rhyming and having fun. And it sounds like that. We didn’t even have a title.”
Watch Premier explain the “DWYCK” title, a fistfight with Gang Starr partner Keith “Guru” Elam, leading to a great record, “Mass Appeal” being inspired by elevator music and ducking the “Jazz rap” label and more with Hip-Hop Wired inaugural episode of TRACK WORK in the video above.
Worth noting is how Premier still speaks of the late, great Guru as if he’s still alive. Rest in power.
Photo: Hip-Hop Wired