from Vibe Magazine:
DJ Premier was given Classical and began his immersion into the genre with Bruce Adolphe, a former classical music professor at Juilliard. They met at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music not far from DJ Premier’s home in NY. After learning about classical music theory, the inspirations of some of the genre’s most profound composers and how traditional pieces are structured, DJ Premier went out and bought tons of classical symphonies on vinyl to mash up his own creation. We then took that mash-up and orchestrated it for sheet music.
In the first step of the actual recording process, DJ Premier partnered with Stephen Webber, a professor and conductor at the Berklee College of Music. Stephen taught Premier how to conduct and helped him in studio with the 58-piece Berklee Symphony Orchestra you hear on the track. Of all the takes, the one you hear is the “wild” version (which means they recorded it without the metronome in their headphones) DJ Premier conducted himself. Then DJ Premier brought that instrumental track back home to NY and Nas laid down his rhyme on top of it.
Here is the link to the actual story.
It's absolutely true that DJ Premier is one of the most well recognized and established creators of hip hop music. However, it's also true that after a long and successful career, many artists sometimes lose a sense of exploration and discovery of the new. That's what makes this track so fantastic. During the process, Premo allows himself to be a student of Classical music theory and approaches the piece like a journey into uncharted territory. Though he is certainly armed with the knowledge and experience of his well documented music history, he must still navigate this track with a beginner's mind. That's the only way for something like this to work.
Quite dope, indeed.
Here's the link to the documentary website. I hope I'll have an opportunity to check it out soon.