DJ Premier Says Real DJ’s Own At Least 1K Records

DJ premier appears with DJ P to talk about real DJ’s, Serato, and more. Primo offers honest opinion about what constitutes a proper set and even a minimum record limit for “real” DJ’s.

“If you don’t own at least a thousand records, you’re not a DJ for real.”

“The more we get nice on Serato, the less they’re gonna be wanted because they’re not doing anything, but putting the record on.”

As a person still owns thousands of records, I can’t say that I agree with Primo on a lot of points. This is especially true with requiring new DJ’s to lay down serious cash on 1000 records just to be considered authentic.

Also, we can’t forget that button pusher DJ’s have been around long before Serato. In fact, they’ve always been around and many times have managed to continuously earn a significant living.

Thoughts anyone?

[via DJPB via 2DB]

61 thoughts on “DJ Premier Says Real DJ’s Own At Least 1K Records”

  1. Straight up, Primo knows.

    I’m not a big fan of CDJs, but that at least takes a certain amount of MORE skill than does Serato. Serato is almost pre-packaged, and if you don’t have a stable footing on deejaying itself, you will fall into the trap of easiness. I did, and I lost a lot of my mixing skills. I have at least 1000 records, so I guess I am authentic, but I still have a long way to go before I would even promote myself. Deejaying is an art form, and the art has to be perfected.

    As Shadow once said, “Crate digging won’t make a bad DJ good, but it will make a good DJ better.”

  2. Times are changing. the kid who wants to be a DJ and can’t get all those records but got Serato is and really looks up the premier is gonna be confused and discouraged that their idol is saying something like this. Like it or not the wave of technology is going to obliterate these old head ways. We should embrace it. I l know ppl are gonna say “hey thats not hip hop” but you can only go against a current so far until you get swept away

  3. Mr Hugo I don’t see or think kids Today even know who Premo is. I on the other hand grew up idolizing him & I’m 38 a select few will know how “The craft of using a Turntable” Can change there life I’m talking being a DJ. I’m Down got my 3k vinyl & still hooked I know the Elements of Hip Hop. Today’s boppers & the like want Instant like oatmeal,Few have the patience to learn the history of the Artform they mimic & like my man Nnitred from the Mv Nation said…Most think the guitar center receipt makes them into a producer/DJ/Beatmaker! You know what I’m saying I’m an old head so I’m chill for the moment…and stop my frivolous ranting

    • now you took it too far. lol Premier may not be as big as a dr.dre but everybody who listens to hip hop and DJs know who DJ premier is

  4. 1000 is way too much. Unless your a “Real” DJ/Beatmaker, you dont need that much. Especially if you were born in the era of CDs & MP3s. I dont DJ or Sample when i make beats (Notice i didn’t say produce), and i own well over a 100 vinyls so his thesis is flawed!

  5. 1000 records is not that much money. I could get 1000 records for like $200 just by looking around the neighborhood, ads, old record shops, etc. If you can’t even invest in 1000 records you’re not serious about DJing, period. I agree with Primo 100%. You can still “DJ” but you won’t ever be in the league he’s in or even comparable to most DJ’s who have built their reputation from time and real dedication if you don’t even invest in your craft. It’s not even debatable really.

  6. Let me just put it this way. Trying to act like you don’t have to actually invest in your craft and go out and buy records to find out what DJing is all about is like trying to say you can be just as good as Jordan but you don’t have to go outside and shoot 100 freethrows everyday. It just ain’t happening. Primo has room to talk because he actually has evidence. He has more hits than any other producer in hip hop, he’s worked with almost everyone in the game and given them a hit single or album, and he basically knows his shit. He can sit there and dictate what it took to get to his level because he’s been there almost from day one. At the end of the day, 1000 records is not a HUGE investment and that’s a really small minimum if you’re serious about being a DJ. If you can’t even do that, then how serious are you really?

  7. I think all the man is trying to say is that people need to learn the history of the craft before throwing their hat in the ring and saying “Im a DJ”. There needs to be a sense of history and correctness in this thing we all love instead of allowing all these corporate profiteers to infiltrate our culture and dictate which direction it’s headed by introducing all this B.S. technology that appeals to people that haven’t paid dues. DJ’n and hip hop culture is 2 turntables and a microphone and that’s the way it needs to remain. NONE of the other major genre’s of music have allowed technology to infiltrate them to the point where they aren’t recognizable anymore and hip hop shouldn’t either. Rock & Roll is STILL guitars and drums, Jazz is STILL brass wind instruments and piano’s,Classical is STILL violins and other stringed instruments and HIP HOP NEEDS TO REMAIN 2 TURNTABLES AND A MICROPHONE. You lose your roots and history you lose your identity, you lose your identity and you got NOTHING.

  8. He’s talking about a REAL DJ that Bought double copies to Juggle, Got From a Record Pool, Stole, Got Milk Crates in your House, Borrowed and Never returned Vinyl ( Kid Capri Still Got My 2 Vinyl Copies of Licensed to Ill from the 80’s )

    You not a DJ without the ORIGINAL Vinyl of Nobody Beats The Biz, Marley Scratch, Wrath of my Madness, Shook Ones,etc
    I dont know what Homie saying about crying though ..

    No Turntables , NOT A DJ !
    Never Had an MPC .. You NOT a Producer .. WHAT? Yea i said it !

  9. This Information Is Coming From A Guy Who Still Uses Equipment Only From The 80’s. Its Corny. Is He Walking Or Driving. Technology Can Better You. I Bet He Doesn’t Have A Cell Phone Either He Just Uses Landlines Wherever He Goes… C’mon B.

      • Is Kobe Bryant wearing converse allstars?
        Im sure Wilt Chamberlin and Bill Russell think Kobe and Lebron are fakes.

        • Ignorant. He uses protools but his workflow is faster with gear he knows. How can you fault that. Dont diss legends that provided us with the ground work for an entire culture. You probably make dirty south synth based shit anyways. STFU

  10. I will sum it up as this, practice your craft, study your history. I don’t have a issue with serato ( I use to, and it still cripples many a so-called DJ)….but to be called a DJ, records is a must. You may be able to lay down the illest drum patterns on a mpc, maschine, reason ect…..but does that make you a drummer?

    Just saying.

    • True on the drummer point but its not applicable to this debate. Digital is the new vinyl; hence rap is the new hip hop. The culture is dead but the “music” is thriving.

  11. I own 983 records.

    Am I a real DJ? …or do I need to go out and purchase 17 more records?


  12. DJ = Disk Jockey right? I personally cant consider someone to be an authentic DJ if they never got their fingers dusty searching for vinyl. It’s not like I feel they shouldn’t DJ but they are diluting the artform. The technology makes everything more convenient; just download a song and cue it up. Now you are an official DJ.

    Example; my patna bought a mobile DJ system that only requires a USB with downloaded songs to get going. It does the mixing, transitions, effects etc for you so you don’t even have to understand the concept of blending and mixing manually. His chick is now doing gigs with 0.00% of experience.

    It’s only going to get worse because more record labels aren’t doing vinyl like they used to. Digital releases are issued first then cd’s and vinyl. Any reputable DJ wants the hot shit first right? you cant wait months after the digital release to get vinyl when everybody else has been rockin?

    The times have changed but I agree with Primo 100%

  13. Premo’s the man and all that, I love his music for sure – but – nobody really can speak gospel on this stuff. If you’re really passionate about it and do it for the right reasons then the tools and number of records dont really matter .

  14. I think you Can’t or shouldn’t wear the title DJ if you never rocked a crowd for a few hours i.e. party or competition, the DJ use to be the $h!t.

    • Like DJs who just make terrible beats on soundcloud and shit and have never been in a club let alone killed a set. Fucking bs.

  15. I think if anyone can speak gospel on it, it’s Primo. He is talking about putting time and effort into your craft, not just buying some arbitrary # of records to meet some guideline. It’s like I said earlier, you can’t get to Jordan level without shooting 100 freethrows a day. You have to have the basics down first. People think you can skip the basics and then somehow be at Primo’s level or even in the same room. He has actually made innovations in hip hop through his DJing techniques. He created a signature style that is near impossible to imitate exactly. The whole world of today is all about taking shortcuts and convenience, but sometimes you have to do things the hard way first to understand what you are doing and THEN you can incorporate the benefits of technology. It’s a whole different story if Primo got on Serato right now compared to some kid who’s never touched a real vinyl record and mixed and done all the effects himself live on stage. Primo could fully use the benefits of technology with what he’s learned from time and experience and that is the difference. That is what he’s talking about. If you can’t even spend money buying some records and putting in real time and effort to learn about the ins and outs of DJing, you can call yourself a DJ and you might make a little money, but that’s all. You’re not going to innovate anything.

  16. I agree. You can get pretty good results with a digital drum set, but a real drummer will WANT a real set of drums. He just will. A real deejay will want records if for nothing else just to know how his idols did their thing. If your buying doubles 500=1000 . You really only have 3 types of people.
    1. People who do not embrace the new technology.
    2. People who only embrace the new technology.
    3.People who use both.

  17. I don’t think he’s saying you have to go out and buy 1000 records at once. It’s all about collecting and staying with the love.

  18. Well premo is and old school head with an old school mentality and nothing is gonna change his opinion about things. He came up in a completely different era with different rules and standards. While I don’t completely agree with his comments I still respect them. I can kind of relate in a way. I’ve been djing over 17 years and built a solid record collection. Spent mad loot on rare records, remixes etc. (we used to cover the labels with a black marker..haha) And now it’s just as easy to find those exact records by doing a google search. But i’ve embraced technology and think it actually helps today. Let’s face it, who wants to buy a shit load of 12″s of today’s best music just to rock a party? The quality of music has lowered so much. But back then you didn’t mind spending the money for records. And with the decline of record stores it’s hard for these up and coming dj’s to find “good” records without being charged an arm and a leg. It was easier for us because records were everywhere and anywhere. But like most crate diggers we know how much of a better feeling it is to have the original. Newer heads don’t get to experience things the same way we did like reading record covers and credits, crazy album covers, etc. That was the fun part of it. Technology makes everybody “think” they’re a Dj because they have an extensive mp3 collection a laptop and some sort of Dj program, but most “so called” dj’s lack the true artform and skills of a “real” Dj and don’t take the time to perfect they’re craft. That’s my only real argument with these new jacks. But I know a lot of young dj’s around here doing it the “right” way getting they’re fingers dusty and learning the techniques so it just depends on the individual I guess. Basically I wouldn’t pay shit for the hottest single on the radio, but I’ll still pay a pretty penny for an old school gem. Times have changed. We just gotta learn to accept them.

  19. The purpose of the DJ is forgotten in all this “keepin it real BS.” The DJ’s job is TO ROCK THE CROWD. It doesn’t matter what you use.

    • there’s actually so much more to being a dj than to just “ROCK THE CROWD”. let’s face it, we all have the same records or mp3’s, but it’s not what you play, it’s how you play it. no matter what you use you have to perfect your craft and learn the artform. i know dudes that got mad records, but can’t blend 2 songs together or keep a continuous flow going. then you got the new jacks that take all the gigs for dirt cheap plus a tab that can’t mix for shit and got their eyes glued to their laptops. if you can’t mix without looking at the screen then you need to practice foreal. that’s what prem was mostly referring to. i don’t think you need to own 1000 records, but at least take the time to learn the art of djing before calling yourself a dj.

  20. If your a real anything you will never have to question yourself if they’re talkin bout you. Real Djs have a collection and mp3s, new or suckers have mp3s only and that’s how you know the fake from the real. A real dj will always want real vinyl. These fake Djs are doing it as a fad same as all these people getting tats covering their body in one month just cause it’s trendy. I chose to embrace technology but do your homework pay respect to where all this came from.

  21. When I was 13 yrs old I used to break into my brothers room and practice mixing and scratching on his 1200’s till eventually he didnt mind me on his equipment anymore.

    Through out high school I made a ton of mixed tapes and did a few school dances. I was never really into doing gigs but I excelled when I was alone in the room and my creative juices came alive. I made some of the wickedest mixes and my brother used some of them on stage at dances.

    In college I got a part time job DJing at a club but the pay was crap and I soon realized that my professional career was going to be in my studies of computer science. I needed money in college and so I sold my equipment and about 12 crates of records as I was officially done.

    Im 35 now and still have the creative itch inside of me to create mixes and share them. After running a few other successful businesses I now understand and am capable of bringing my DJing skills out of the closet and turn it into a side business to help feed my family.

    I think its the LOVE of the craft itself that determines your place in the game of DJing. If you love what you do and take pride in your work then no one can tell you what you are or are not.

  22. I think the real question is : why does Premo care so much about what other people are doing and how they handle their biz? He’s not the say all end all of DJ’s. I love his work too but c’mon… don’t be a douchebag in the process. You own 1000 records good for you. You are a RECORD COLLECTOR.

    A DJ is a whole other thing.

    • See this right here everybody this is what a not real dj or not real fan of hip hop would say. Premier cares and we care cause of what hip hop has become. Hip hop is not what it should of been.

      • Oh and real Djs are record collectors that’s how innovative music is developed mainly hip hop by diggin in crates.

      • DJ Izzy : You sound like a big whiny cry baby. This is what you sound like :

        “Wahhh wahhh wahhhh I’m more hip hop than you because i suck premos dick harder than you waahh wahh wahh records are reallllll people aren’t realll unless they own old crusty ass vinyl waahh waaahh waaahh”

        Maybe if you and Premo got laid more (and not with each other), you wouldn’t have to worry about nerdy bullshit like “who is more real than who” and other dumb pissing contests. lmao

  23. Back in the days when hip hop was new, R&B groups used to write off hip hop as “not real music” …’s always going to be older people putting down the younger ones coming up. Premo sounds like an updated version of those old jaded cats who write off anyone younger than him as “not real”. Puh-lease! Get with the program, Premier. Just because you own 10000 records it don’t mean shit to anyone outside your circle as far as being a DJ. You yourself travel the world and DJ everywhere AND YOU USE SERATO EVEN ON YOUR RADIO SHOW. So where is your 10000 records at and what do they have anything to do with whats going on when the people are on the dancefloor?

    Any DJ’s who are coming out now need to just ignore Premo’s advice on “whats REAL and whats not” as it doesn’t apply to them. it’s 2011. Buying vinyl records is NOT the standard anymore. If you own records then cool. But this whole “I own 10000 records and you don’t so you ain’t real” is a bunch of horseshit.

    And this is coming from someone who does own 8,000 records.

    • True. Primo does kinda sound like the people who would dis Hip Hop as music. That being said, that doesn’t necessarily make Primo or the old Hip Hop dissers wrong. There’s a lot to learn from our elders.

    • I didn’t hear Primo brag about having 10000 records. You people are twisting the point that he was making. He was attacking the scab dj that lowers the expectations / standards laid by the pioneers. Bottom line, if you have love for the art form. You are still going to buy some records. Not necessarily new stuff because I’m not buying a lot of new stuff either. The art of making records is becoming a lost art form in itself. I will buy new stuff if it’s properly pressed with good fidelity. A lot of new music is cheaply pressed, that’s why a lot of people don’t buy represses. There are plenty of jams that you cannot simply just go and download/purchase. This is where the love and studying your craft come in, If you have true love, you are going to dig to find those lost gems. I have been involved with music for over 15 years, and there are quite a few jams that I am still hunting for. How could you be hip hop and not want a copy of The Bridge / Marley Marl, or even Hail Mary / Tupac because that is history. Many Hip Hoppers cross over to Jazz at some point, what about Birth of the Cool / Miles Davis. If you are a student of your craft and you respect your craft, you realize that you can never know everything about this Music/Hip Hop. rule 1 —Respect the Pioneers. Name one Top level DJ that doesn’t dig for new sounds, and I’ll show you a clone that is uninspired and unoriginal that will be forever biting leftover techniques and styles. I think the term Hip Hop has been jacked by the mainstream. I think that the rules and foundation of Hip Hop have already been defined. If you are not Hip Hop, come up with a new term that incorporates your new found beliefs and attitudes.

  24. So let me get this straight.. Just because Prem has an opinion. (one mans opinion, & thats all it is at the end of the day.. an “opinion”) everyone on the planet is supposed to follow what he says or they aren’t “real” to an artform that was NOT created by him in the first place??


    I guess my Gangstarr CD’s that i paid for means im not real because it’s not on vinyl. *rolls eyes*


  26. … a legend who now sounds as corny and irrelevant as everyone who thought sampling required no talent, what a dummy.

    him and cope2 need to start a club.

  27. man yall are a buncha crybabys! why is it everytime an OG makes a comment about the elements of hip hop, the rules, what its used to be or anything dealing with the art, that YOU dont either understand or agree with, why do you get ONLINE and bitch about it? He’s basically saying APPRECIATE this artform, learn your history, know your history and embrace it instead of tryin to rebel like a spoiled brat…like wtf? does that piss you off? well this aint for you then! I mean does a brain surgeon not understand the human brain in totality? Are you an MP3 freak? button presser? Vinyl addict? good me too and proud of it! I LOVE hip hop! ALL of it! You should too but in this day and age I dont see how you could…
    “hip hop is a feeling, it would have never turned into a million dollar business if it never had feeling” -Preemo
    are you dumb mutha fuckas listening man? thats why this generation is still flat on its face and the OGs still got a platform cause nobody takes you & what you stand for serious…like how are there even negative comments condemning vinyl or preemo for that matter? on CRATE KINGS? this of all places SHOULD BE where a cat like preemo is praised highly, lord knows it wont happen on a top 40 type hip hop site… fuckin amazing man…

  28. I agree with everything that Primo and Dj P said. I think the 1000 records was just a nice round figure. The point he was making is that you love and respect your craft enough to want to learn about vinyl and what DJ’s went through in the past for the love of the art form. Spending your last few dollars on that hot jam, so you can rock the party this weekend. Carrying the crates to and from the party. Hunting for that certain record for years, and that feeling you get after finally tracking it down. Serato is a great tool, but if you are a real DJ that loves and respects their craft, you are going to have some real vinyl in your collection.

  29. how bout this..if you got just got talent..every piece of hardware software…alll needs time and practice to perfect it..and i feel that as long as its dope..who cares about what you use………….but….there many very good points here…buying serato doesnt mean ur a an MPC doesnt mean ur a producer..but its what you do with whatever you have that shows if u got talent or not..

  30. primo suck my boner…n learn to respect every1. that kind of attitude will push u back into ur momma z womba.

  31. I’ve owned approx. 2K records back in the day, before I decided to sell my record collection and go to college. Now I bank about 10x’s as much when I was Djin’ practically every other weekend from ’87 – ’97, then 2002 – 2012. I’m curious to know if this Jack, thinks an individual in my particular situation is still considered a DJ, since he states a DJ must own at least 1K vinyl records. LMAO

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