DJ Premier Breaks Down Jay-Z’s ‘Hustler’ In ‘Decoded’

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By Hillary Crosley, with reporting by Akshay Bhansali

Like Memphis Bleek, DJ Premier weighed in on a page from Jay-Z‘s “Decoded” book, which hit shelves Tuesday (November 16). The Gang Starr legend met MTV News at the New York bar Jukebox to crack the code on some of Hov’s influences.

“I remember the 12-inch of Run-DMC’s ‘It’s Like That’ backed with ‘Sucker M.C.’s’ being definitive,” wrote Jay in the first few pages of the book, which delves into the meaning of his lyrics. “That same year, 1983, I started high school, Bambaataa released ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’ and shot a wild-ass wearing feathered headdresses that they’d play on the local access channel. [My big sister Annie] and I would make up dance routines to those songs, but we didn’t take it as far as the costumes.”

After reading the words placed craftily inside of a vintage jukebox, Premier said, “I think after reading that page, it’s so ill that Jay equated ‘Sucker M.C.’s‘ from Run-DMC, which is a classic, classic record and then ‘The Message,’ which is the first record that talked about how life is in the streets of the ghetto.”

“It’s ill that those are the two things that equated with the definition of a hustler,” continued the hip-hop legend. “I can relate to that just like I wrote that myself. For him to use those as reference points, you already know that he’s really really on the same page of what makes the culture of hip-hop classic.”

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