Arguably the most admired and influential producer in hip-hop (at least on the East Coast), DJ Premier's legendary status is well-earned. His career began in the late '80s, as one half of Brooklyn pioneers Gang Starr. He changed the soundscape of hip-hop through his use of extensive jazz sampling, finely chopped loops, thick drum tones, assorted bells and subtle percussion. In the '90s he collaborated with a wide variety of emcees, crafting classic tunes for the likes of Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, M.O.P., Big L, and many others. He's also explored avenues outside the genre, working with artists as diverse as Limp Bizkit, Branford Marsalis, and Paula Cole. Gang Starr are set to release their sixth proper album in 2002, and Premier will undoubtedly put in work on dozens of other tracks as well. Often imitated but never outdone, DJ Premier continues his reign as one of hip-hop's great beatmasters.