DJ Premier Recalls How Canibus Passed on The Beat for D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie”

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DJ Premier Details First Encounters with Nas, JAY-Z, and Biggie
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Premier also discussed his first encounters with Nas, JAY-Z, and Biggie, in a new interview.

Canibus had an unintended role in the creation of a 2000s neo-soul masterpiece, according to DJ Premier. In a recent interview with comedian Tom Segura, the producer revealed Canibus was presented the beat for D’Angelo‘s “Devil’s Pie” before the singer ever heard it.

“He hates that I talk about it, but it’s all good,” Premier notes, shrugging when asked why Canibus passed on the beat. “We just didn’t see eye-to-eye on that being the right track,” the producer added. “It just happened D’Angelo called right when Canibus is leaving the lab,” Preemo continued, explaining how the Voodoo singer pried when he was told about a beat getting left on the cutting room floor. D’Angelo then invited Premier to Electric Lady Studios, where Voodoo and a number of Soulquarian albums were taking form simultaneously. “So when I got to D’Angelo’s and played it for him, he just started going ‘Woooo!! I’m gonna fucking kill this!’,” Premier says.

“Devil’s Pie” landed at the very top of D’Angelo’s Voodoo tracklist, opening an album that went on to define the neo-soul era. The singer’s sophomore album also went platinum and earned a pair of Grammys for “Best R&B Album” and “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.” And according to Premier, it was the first Grammy of the producer’s career.

Elsewhere in the interview, the producer recalls his first encounters with Nas, JAY-Z, and The Notorious B.I.G (who he met while living in Branford Marsalis’ house in the early 90s,) as well as picking up production tricks from Large Professor well before the producers worked on Illmatic. 

You can watch DJ Premier’s full interview with Tom Segura below. Head to the 37:00 mark to jump right into his discussion of the “Devil’s Pie” sessions.

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