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DJ Premier Reveals He Sequenced Nas’ ‘Illmatic’

“He wanted to use the same mastering that I was using, so he was like, ‘Yo, sequence it for me.’”
Nas Illmatic album cover

Life’s a bitch and then DJ Premier sequences your magnum opus slash debut album Illmatic. That’s right, in a new episode of ".Paak House Radio" on Apple Music, Preemo revealed that it was he who sequenced Nas’ oft-called “perfect” album.

“I’m all about sequencing,” Preemo said. “I’ve sequenced every Gang Starr [album], every Jeru [the Damaja album]… I sequenced Illmatic for Nas. He wanted to use the same mastering that I was using, so he was like, ‘Yo, sequence it for me.’ So, I sequenced Illmatic.”

Considering it took Nas over four years to create Illmatic, his passing the sequencing off to DJ Premier makes sense. Not only is this an exciting bit of hip-hop history, but it also puts the reviews and articles surrounding Illmatic in a new light. As Jeff Weiss wrote in 2013 for Pitchfork, “The sequencing is perfect.” Well, Jeff has DJ Premier to thank.

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The accepted truth has been that it was someone from the label that was responsible for Illmatic's sequencing. In 2014, FACT ran an article on the stories behind Illmatic’s creation for its 20th anniversary where it was reported that Sony Records sequenced the album, not Nas. Also in 2014, MTV News said Nas had left the task up to the staff at Columbia Records. 

Now we know that it was Preemo who sequenced the album, not Sony, and once again, not Nas. In fact, Premier had mentioned this tidbit earlier this year during an interview with Wax Poetics celebrating Moment of Truth's 20-year anniversary. 

No wonder Preemo is ranked as the best producer to ever work with Nas.

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