Prince Paul Clarifies an MF DOOM Production Rumor, Revisits Prince Among Thieves (Audio)
Prince Paul is one of the more legendary producers of the last 30 years. Throughout that time, the Long Island, New York native has been involved with an extensive range of music, into Comedy and Spoken Word. His approaches have changed and pioneered the modern Rap sound, with the use of sampling, mixing, and adding thematic interludes to his and others’ work. He has gifted a good amount of people in the industry with true talent that helped pioneer the art and culture of Hip Hop today. He is a Grammy Award-winning artist/producer with numerous amounts of gold and platinum works under his belt/on his wall.
“The Cipher Show” host Shawn Setaro recently released part 1 of a comprehensive interview with Paul. That portion of the talk covered his involvement with Stetsasonic, the production of De La Soul’s first three albums, his relationship with RZA and the formation of Gravediggaz. Now, The Cipher Show has released part 2 of the conversation and it is filled with more unearthed Prince Paul jewels.
(4:00) The second part of the epic interview starts off with a discussion about his second album, A Prince Among Thieves, which many people consider the first “Hip Hop Opera” and one the most ambitious conceptual albums of its time. He talks about the $10,000 trailer he had made for the promotion of the Tommy Boy Records release, and how he was inspired by the poorly directed but commercially successful Master P movie, I’m Bout It to create an actual film from the album. Paul comments on how his primary label in his career, at the time did not vest their interest in capitalizing on this project.
(6:00) Paul goes on to talk about the work he put into the mixing, and editing of the Breeze Brewin (of The Juggaknots) starring LP, and how some of the tracks were created through “MIDI-sequencing” on an earlier version of the Apple Macintosh “Master Tracks” program. The character’s interactions were created from an inspiration by Paul’s custody battle over his son before he finished the ’99 LP, where he subscribed to the concept of the common saying “the bad guy always wins” as a theme throughout the story.
(10:00) With a list of big named guest appearances, Paul talks about how Everlast (previously of House Of Pain, Rhyme Syndicate), who appeared as a racist cop on the track “The Men In Blue” was at first uncomfortable with going against his newly-adopted non-use of profanity. Setaro then switches it up to ask Paul about a track called “Beautiful Night” off of his debut album, Psychoanalysis: What Is It? Paul states that even though this track was a bit grim and voile based on the content, it propelled him back into the conversation (as a soloist for the first time) at the time of its 1996 release.
(16:00) Paul then goes in to talk about personal issues among co-workers, and the trust issues he has because of the “cold reality” of the world, and how everything is about success, no matter what the situation is. After he produced hit after hit, he was telling The Cipher Show host that he caught the attention of artists outside of the Rap genre that wanted Paul to remix their records.
(21:00) In a subsequent discussion, spanning Janet Jackson to The B-52’s (of “Love Shack” fame) to working with Prince and George Clinton on their “Paisley Park” joint, Prince Paul’s interest in music, and his many talents sneak out at every turn.
Using a Billy Squier sample in Queen Latifah’s “Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children” featuring De La Soul, Paul talks about transforming the Rock hit to a Hip Hop classic. Setaro then asks Prince Paul about his involvement with experimental rapper, MC Paul Barman, and why he chose to work with him.
(24:00) Although admitting how hard it was to work with such a peculiar artist, Paul cites his production and work with Barman’s debut, It’s Very Stimulating as one of his personal favorite records. The conversation then switches up to Paul’s first run in with MF DOOM—during his “Zev Love X” days, on the hit, “Gas Face,” that he produced for 3rd Bass in 1988. He talked about how the KMD front man was a respectable young man at the time, but he dismisses the rumors that the original London, England native produced the Def Jam Records hit, saying “no disrespect to [MF] DOOM, but I did the whole thing by myself.”
(32:00) After discussing the solo production projects of Paul’s work, Shawn Setaro talks about his group Resident Alien, which consisted of Paul’s close friends. The sound of the band threw Russell Simmons off, who gave Paul his short-lived Doo Doo Man Records imprint. With clearance issues and the inability to reach an audience, Resident Alien were dropped from Def Jam, and Paul’s first label vanquished.
(40:00) Horror City was another group he worked with, which as Setaro mentioned sounded more “street than everything else Paul did.” Being the comedian he is, Paul talked about his mockumentary called The Rise and Falls of the Dix, which he explained as a way of “getting friends together and laughing and joking” without being competitive among other artist in the game.
(48:00) He then moves on with the discussion and talks about poking fun at the privilege of the wealthier people in the world with famed Hip Hop producer, Dan The Automator. Paul and Dan created the duo named Handsome Boy Modeling School, where both producers were inspired by ’90s Chris Elliott-starring sitcom, “Get a Life” where one of the main characters actually goes to a modeling school. The duo had made collaborations on both albums with a number of artists from different genres like the melodic guitar playing and singing of Jack Johnson. Paul talks about how humorous the whole process was and how he wanted to put on a mustache for the both album covers to keep the comedy concept of the project alive.
(53:00) Outside of producing albums with more mature content, Paul talks about being involved in Children songs, and his ad campaign with Scion of finding artists with talent.
When talking about his search for the new artists’ with hopes and dreams of making it in the music industry, he shifts gears and mentions how “hard it is to be a person of morals, in a business of no morals.” As far as new, upcoming work, Paul is switching up the scenes by working with Brazilian music and hoping to find a platform to release some of the Brazilian band’s project.
Prince Paul is just living the life of someone with no pressures to be the best in Hip Hop, but encourages his fans to have a little fun doing what they love in music. With such a great and welcoming personality, the interviewer gives the listener a type of hope for more creativity and independence in Hip Hop.
Although he’s big on laughter, jokes, and caricatures, is Paul Huston one of Hip-Hop’s realest ones?
With Paul’s part two being the 99th episode of the Cipher Show, Shawn and company celebrated their 100th episode this past Monday (March 30) with an interview with Rock outfit, The Metermaids. The segment includes a sit-down with the Daptone Records’ Gabriel Roth, and more.