Prince Po (Organized Konfusion) - conducted by Todd E. Jones
The Pedagogical Slickness Of Prince Po
MVRemix: What song took the longest, from conception to completion?
Prince Po: I would say ‘Social Distortion’ with MF Doom because of the process. Our schedules were conflicting. That was the main one. ‘Love Thing’ too. I wanted to do a song called, ‘Love Thing’ but I wanted to make the lyrics say how things are fucked up. But at the same token, count your blessings. This music thing is love. There’s positive energy. That took the longest to write because there’s so much negative shit around you. And you don’t want to be a sucker for the people. I know that I’m not a sucker, but I know that love is in hip-hop. I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m going to keep it in the original form that I learned about in the music.
MVRemix: These days, many collaborations are not recorded while the artists are together. Some are mailed in. How were the guest spots on ‘The Slickness’ album done?
Prince Po: The only ones we did together were the one I did that I worked with Carla personally. I wrote all of the stuff that she sang as well. I worked personally with Raekwon too. He’s a good friend of mine.
MVRemix: What was it like working with Raekwon for the song, ‘The Bump Bump’?
Prince Po: He’s so devoted to the game. I called him early on a Friday and he was there Saturday. Much love to him and the love he has for the music. He did like 25 fucking takes for ‘The Bump Bump’!
MVRemix: J-Zone produced a couple of tracks on ‘The Slickness’. What was it like working with J-Zone?
Prince Po: J-Zone put in a valiant effort. We built a couple of times. We didn’t work in the same exact location together, but we talked and we built together. He’s the one who did ‘Copycat’, a song I did with Jemini and Danger Mouse. J-Zone is very creative. He doesn’t cater to the industry. He just tries to do what he thinks is creative. That’s important. He sticks to what he does and he loves it.
MVRemix: How has being a solo artist changed your approach to hip-hop?
Prince Po: Anyone who understands math and science understands that what is - is what it is. I never came out as Prince Po from Organized Konfusion. I came out as Organized Konfusion and my name is Prince Po. I just had to accept that there would always be an element missing when Monch is not rhyming with me on the record. I just try to cover as many elements as I can by myself. I think that it made me grow a lot, but I was able to adjust. I realized the changes that the industry was making. It’s not my industry so, I can’t make the rules and regulations. I can realize how it is going and how it is and how I can fit in that system. It basically comes down to how to work with the elements you’re dealing with. I’m trying to make songs with lyrics that are not so tongue twisting, but still have messages. I always get my point across. It’s still a struggle. Monch is a very creative dude. That was my other half. We still talk, fight, and talk on the phone. It’s incredible how our relationship overcomes everything else, even the industry. We can support each other, do different things, and still have respect for each other. It’s powerful enough to give me the energy to write for myself.
MVRemix: Why did Organized Konfusion break up?
Prince Po: Well we broke up because we didn’t want to hear the fans say the same thing like, ‘You’re dope but you are not getting the right promotion’. That gets tiring. We had three albums and fans thought we were dope but didn’t have the right promotion. We didn’t want that shit to run us into the ground. People kept saying that. It was a hopeless situation, but would we would always be dope? We wanted to preserve the name. I don’t think the records would have been the classics that they are if we kept on throwing records out there like it was nothing. Right now, we are trying to make some moves and put out an Organized Konfusion remix album. We are just trying to make moves on another side. After we came off the road, I was tired. Besides writing, I was doing most of the business. I would say that I was doing 90% of the business. I would always sit down with Monch and discuss it with him. We did do 50/50 on everything. I was burnt out. I was writing rhymes, making beats, doing the business, talking to the labels, and building with the managers. I made sure the job got done while Monch was able to be an artist. That was cool. Monch is my brother, but I wanted to get to a point where I could be creative, make songs, and worry about being an emcee or producer. Even now, that won’t happen because I have a company and artists who I’m working with. The job will never get easier. It will always get more tedious. The difference is that I’m ready for it now. I had to take that break. On the road, we did a lot of shows and a lot of traveling. I was mentally and physically burnt out. Monch was like, ‘Do I have your blessings to go into the studio and work on some material to get a deal?’ I was for it. His anger wasn’t like he wanted to go and shoot somebody at the label. His anger came out in a way that he had to show the world that he was not done yet.
MVRemix: After Organized Konfusion broke up, you appeared on Pharoahe Monch’s solo album, ‘Internal Affairs’. How did the song, ‘God Send’ come about?
Prince Po: He told me the idea of a song he wanted to do. You know, Monch is very eclectic about his music. He wanted me to be on the song that meant the most to him on that album. That’s why he named it, ‘God Send’. We really try to stay focused and count our blessings. We collaborated on the song. I had the rhyme ready and he liked the rhyme. That pretty much made it a rap. It was done just as quickly as he mentioned it to me. With this album he is working on now, we’re building on something. We are also building on this mix-tape that I’m putting out called, ‘The Lost Scrolls’. I’ve been working on this. People have been like, ‘Where is Prince Po?’. I’ve noticed those questions on mightypharoahe.com. They think that I disappeared. There were just a whole lot of things going on. I had to make the transition of using 2000 & 950 from using the 2000 and the Reason program in the computer. It got very digital. I had to teach myself how to use Reason. I had to teach myself how to use Windows products. I had to teach myself how to use Pro-Tools. All of that stuff takes time. I educated myself.
MVRemix: On the song ‘Money, Power & Influence’ from Guru’s ‘The Street Scriptures’ album, Talib Kweli mentions that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?
Prince Po: Of course, it did! It is a lazier way to make music. It’s cheating a little bit because somebody programmed it to cater to the hip-hop world. It has taken out the creativity. Premier chopped samples up, showed his own creativity, and took that record to another level. Pro-Tools changed it drastically. That’s the whole thing. I can’t change the game and say, ‘Fuck Pro-Tools! It’s too digital!’ Even if I don’t use it, if somebody puts me in a situation where I have to use it, I have to show and prove. I don’t totally agree with it because it is taking away some of the creativity. I still like sampling and I play a few things around it. That’s how it goes now. Pro-Tools did hinder the game a little bit and put some studios out of business.
MVRemix: Will there ever be another Organized Konfusion album?
Prince Po: Possibly, in the Fall of 2006.
MVRemix: Are you still in contact with O.C.?
Prince Po: We’re talking. O.C. is on the road with Hieroglyphics. We’re trying to work things out with him too. It’s all a family situation but with us, we’re not yes-men towards each other. If O.C. feels a certain way to me, he’s going to express it, which is something he has done. I don’t give a shit because I put him on a record. He didn’t put me on a record. He’s Monch’s neighbor before anything else. I love him like a brother. He’s like a little brother with me. I want him to get the best he can out of his career, make the most money, and be happy. It’s just that if a little brother is wrong, he is wrong. I’m not going to ‘Yes’ him.