“I got a Grammy for that.”
As a part of their Off The Record series, Mass Appeal spoke with DJ Premier about how D’Angelo‘s “Devil’s Pie” came to be.
“I was leaving [the studio] and my phone just happened to ring,” Premier remembers. “Just, on the humble, it was D. He was like ‘Yo, what you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m just leaving the studio with Canibus. We were working on something but the track didn’t work out.’ He goes, ‘Can I hear it?’ I said, ‘Yeah. It’s just a bass line, though, not a lot of stuff happening.’ I went over there, played it, and he just starts going, ‘Yo! I want this.'”
From there, Premo recalls how J Dilla, a very young Alchemist, Questlove, and D’Angelo’s trainer were all present during the session. D’Angelo also told Premo about the video treatment for what would ultimately become “Untitled (How Does It Feel).”
“He’s like ‘Yo I’m about to do a video next week but I’mma be naked and it’s not gonna even have a title. It’s gonna be called ‘Untitled,'” Premier says. “…Next thing you know that was a hit and ‘Devil’s Pie’ took off. It did well and I got a Grammy for that.”
The deluxe reissue of D’Angelo’s seminal debut album dropped earlier this year. The album features plenty of bonus material, including 21 rare tracks made up of previously issued remixes, instrumentals, and a cappella versions of the project’s title track and “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine.”
The deluxe edition also includes a 20-page booklet boasting rare photographs, lyrics, and author-filmmaker Nelson George‘s essay about the album’s innovative, influential hybrid of gospel, soul, funk, and hip-hop.