Meet Paul Barman - the most clever, yet unconventional MC to come along in some time, maybe of all-time. That being said, you are going to either love Barman right away, or never want to hear his high-pitched, choppy flow come through your speakers ever again. If you choose the latter, that's unfortunate, because if you are willing to give Barman a chance, you are sure to get that "breath of fresh-air" so commonly talked about in hip-hop.
Here's the rundown for those unfamiliar with the background of this Jewish MC. Barman graduated from Brown University and released a 7" record that found its way into the hands of Prince Paul. Of course, Prince Paul is never one to pass on the obscure and different, so he quickly started working with Barman and together they released the amazing, 18-minute EP, It's Very Stimulating. While the Prince only blesses Barman with one beat this go round, the production on Paullelujah! is nothing to scoff at.
By the time the title-track rings through your system, you already have a sense of what you are getting yourself into - madcap, slap-shtick rapping. Produced by MikeTheMusicGuy, who handles most of the albums production, the track sends the listener directly into the intellectual, and at the same time immature mind of Paul Barman. "What shall we do when we have our own kids? / Give them twelve-year bids after the bars come off their cribs?"
"Old Paul" continues down the same path, with a sing-a-long hook and lyrics that will have you reading and re-reading for days. "If it's not hip-hop is it the opposite? / Rap is scary / Bout to go pop, a zit, or bust a cap-illary." Also in the same vein is "N.O.W.," a sort-of woman rallying song about abortion. "RU486ing justice? If so, then get on the bus." Marinate on that.
The album hits its peak with two tracks, "Cockmobster" and "Anarchist Bookstore Pt. 1." "Cockmobster," produced by MikeTheMusicGuy, has Barman listing all the famous chicks he'd like to bang, but this is no "Dreams of..." style track. "I'm having intercourse while listening to Winter Warz / Winona Ryder? Going inside her / I want to get on the whole width of Anna Nicole Smith / I like Tracy Bingham in a lacey thingum." MF DOOM produces "Anarchist Bookstore Pt. 1.," where Barman kicks a clever story tale too confusing to even being to explain in a few sentences. Meanwhile, Phofo, who produces three tracks, gives Barman tons to work with on "Excuse You," arguably the best beat found here.
There are a few snags. Somehow, Prince Paul produces possibly the weakest beat here with "Bleeding Brain Grow." Not a bad song, but more like a lame five-year reunion that should have been a bangin' 25-year bash to remember. The two spoken word parody tracks could have been left off the album and might have been better used as a surprise during live shows.
That all being said, if you like Kool Keith, Princess Superstar, or any other zany kind of MC, Paul Barman should be right up your alley. His debut only took six years, but it's here - and be sure to break out that Webster's.