DJ Premier Spins Tribute to New York, Grand Theft Auto IV

Don't hate the playa… Photo: Joe Conzo / Retna

It wasn’t clear what exactly last night’s DJ Premier gig at APT, one of several music events pegged to the April 29 release of Grand Theft Auto IV, actually had to do with the video game it was promoting — beyond the game’s soundtrack having been “inspired by the diverse sounds of New York City.” And if the hyperviolent Liberty City, the game’s actual milieu, is a tribute to New York’s bad old days of blackouts and Bowery junkies, well, we’re not sure a D.J. set from Premier, whose jazzy productions defined much of nineties hip-hop, reflects exactly that either. But Primo played along, raising the incorrigible spirits of seventies NYC in APT’s cramped basement level with — what else? — disco. “Classic Premier shit! Classic disco shit!” he announced, spinning undeniable jams like “Funky Town.” He moved chronologically up through his crates, jumping from Barry White to Run-DMC, shouting out KRS-One, Scott La Rock, and pop-and-lockers and urging us to “do the wop, ya’ll.” Eager kids, the types who probably know all the samples in “Kick in the Door,” hung around the D.J. booth watching Premier’s hands; later, kids from Munich, smoking cigarettes on the patio, spoke approvingly of the fact that Premier hadn’t played any “Bad Boy shit.” Agreed. —Amos Barshad