Anyone who’s familiar with the work of hip-hop producer Prince Paul knows that he’s a man of many talents. Over the last several years, he’s collaborated with a wide variety of artists on an ever wider variety of projects, although he admits that he’s let himself drop out of circulation a bit recently. But during a recent telephone interview with Crave Online about Negroes On Ice, the new stage show he’s mounting with his son, he revealed a few choice details about what he’s doing musically in the near future. As always, he’s not content just to crank out material, but he’s working on several interesting projects simultaneously, and which all already bear the trademark of his singular, eclectic creativity.
What sort of ideas do you have for your next album?
I think a lot of it is, and the people have spoken, is just going back, not making a record that sounds dated – I don’t want to do that – but just going back to what people miss and what people like, and that’s just melodic music, just beats, that boom, smack, that kind of kicks your chest in, a certain sense of humor, a certain conceptual thing about the music, and just good lyrics and good arrangement. A lot of it to me is like, I don’t think I'm really the best producer, especially when it comes to making music, the best music or being a beatmaker or whatever, but I think I can produce pretty good, which means like a range and kind of get the most out of my MCs and talent that I'm working with and I think that’s where my strong suit is going to be on this record. I'm out for arrangements; it’s not going to be you hear verse, hook, verse, hook, verse, hook and then the song is over. I want to kind of go all over the place and take the songs to places that you wouldn’t expect, and at the same time they won’t turn you off either. I don’t want to be different for the sake of being different. I want everything to be organic and kind of move a certain way; I want to make it an experience, and I don’t get that too much on albums that much anymore, with the exception of maybe Kanye West. Like I think Graduation certainly is like that and I’m like, “wow, okay, this is produced really well.” People like to hate on him, but I can appreciate a lot of the work that he does.
Absolutely. I think like Watch the Throne is actually pretty impressive in terms of being really adventuresome, and really listenable at the same time.
Yeah. A lot of people are, okay, he represents this, but I like to listen to a little bit of everything, and kind of get the best and worst out of it, and see what inspires me.
Can you tell me who you’re planning on working with for this upcoming album?
Ooh, that’s top secret. I already have it together. But put it like this – I'll give you this much info, and this is more info than I'm giving anybody, which is, for this next record I'm putting a new group together, and I'm really excited and I got all the people involved. I haven’t done this since the Gravediggaz, so I'm really, really excited about this and it’s MCs that to me are really underrated by the mass majority, but to the “keep it real” heads, it will be like, “oh my God, he’s my hero!” So that’s something I'm looking forward to and they’re all onboard, and I can’t wait to start recording it – oh! How could I forget? – once I finish up this Brazilian record. I went out to Brazil actually very recently, and I'm working with this dude name Rodrigo, who used to be the host for Yo MTV Raps in Brazil, and we’re putting together this Brazilian [record]. It’s crazy – we’ve recorded a lot of Brazilian musicians, it’s Brazilian influenced, it’s hip hop stuff. And I had to ask him, and I asked all the musician guys who were like super duper incredible musicians, “has anything like this ever been done before [with] the sounds that we’re making?” and they were like, “we’ve never heard anything like this.” So I'm really excited – anything that is always groundbreaking and forward thinking, I'm always excited about, so that’s the next thing – and hopefully I'll have that done by the end of the year. So that’s more of the eclectic stuff.
You want to have both of those albums done by the end, of the year or just the Brazilian one?
I would love to have both of them done by the end of the year. I've lied dormant for quite some time, and a lot of it was on purpose. It’s a lot of family stuff going on and part of it is just being uninspired and kind of like, “whatever,” but for some reason in the last year or so, I started really getting into making music again and being excited about making stuff – and there is a surge; it’s like people actually are starting to like me again. You know, it goes in a wave – it goes up, it’s like, “hey, we like you again,” and then they say, “oh, we hate him.” And they’ll be like, “hey, we like him.” So right now it’s peaking up – I think I'm getting a little bit of attention now, I think out of people being bored by other stuff, so it’s nice. I'm feeling excited about just doing things, so this year there is going to be a few other things that I'm working on, so I'm excited.