Long Island-born, Brooklyn-based DJ/producer/emcee J57 is probably best known among hip-hop heads as a member of the Brown Bag All-Stars, one of the more prolific and underrated crews in contemporary hip-hop. And over the last couple of years in particular, J57 has received attention and critical praise for a production style that channels the sound of hip-hop’s golden age — i.e., big, boom bap beats, heavy synth-based orchestration paired with ridiculously tight, catch hooks. But what a lot of folks probably don’t know — hell, I didn’t know this — is that the Brooklyn-based DJ/producer and emcee was mentored by the legendary DJ Premier, and that J57 has assisted Premier on production work with the likes of Nas, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. And those contributions have directly led to collaborations with Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Method Man, Raekwon, Mack Wilds, The Roots and others.
Continuing J57’s growing reputation as a go-to producer, J57 produced “The Purple Tape,” the first single off Method Man’s soon-to-be released album The Meth Lab (slated for an August 21 release through Hanz On/Tommy Boy Records). J57’s production consists of an looped and eerily minimalist twinkling piano sample, bolstered by a burst of bluesy guitar chords and enormous, boom-bap beats that subtly channel Kool G. Rap‘s “Ill Street Blues” and are spacious enough to allow Meth, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon and his song, also named Raekwon to spit bars that should remind you of Wu Tang‘s glory days — and that these guys aren’t ready to go quietly into the good night.