DJ Premier‘s name and reputation as a pioneering hip-hop producer rests with boom bap, the so-called “golden age” of hip-hop so many are now eager to dwell on. With canonization often comes obsolescence, and his was a year where both hip-hop royalty and upstarts fought to avoid being placed in museums, both global and regional. In enlisting the producer to remix “Latch” it’s not hard to imagine Disclosure (huge fans of hip-hop that they are) replaying Illmatic or Gang Starr albums, expecting to get the warm, gritty flavours Preemo is known for. Instead, he flexes his versatility, quietly brings his roots into the modern age, and demonstrates the folly in attaching just one sound to this artist.
Casio keys, the kind you’d hear in a YouTube soul piano tutorial filmed in a cramped apartment, open up the song. His DJ drop is just a few turntable scratches, because he knows we know. For the first time since we heard them, Sam Smith‘s gold vocals sound like they belong to someone waiting to be discovered. After an understated and powerful (like the song itself) choir, Premier delivers that familiar haymaker, a loping beat with drums found in your higher-end dubstep kit, now synonymous with Top 40. Tension isn’t the right word for this wonderful dynamic between the humble and the ostentatious: it’s more like a mid-afternoon church service, when you get a seat next to someone in Givenchy when all you had clean were Levi’s, but you’re still sharing the hymn book regardless.
Disclosure’s Settle: Special Edition is out December 17th via PMR Records.