MC Paul Barman - conducted by Alex Goldberg  

MC Paul Barman

July 2005

MVRemix: In your new work, do you feel you’re bringing a new style to your songs?

MC Paul Barman: When I first started I couldn’t understand the emphasis like style was a good thing. I always thought if you’ve got style, the opposite is substance. And if you’re concentrating on style, you’re not concentrating on substance. Now, I understand that style can be a great thing, and so I’m trying to come with more or less a different style every song. Although as a whole I would say my style is much more direct which means less third person storytelling, much more from the heart because I’m more in contact with my own heart. And with a science theme. I’m now able to present information. I was really upset when I saw that some of my songs were not as mentally nourishing as they could be, especially since I kind of have objected to the blather on the radio. Also, I think there’s been a lot more crazy ass lying in the world, so it just seems that telling the truth is a lot more profound. The album is called “Tears of Joy.” I was just talking to my buddy the other day about how comedy is just the shit. It’s the best. Nothing could possibly be better than making someone laugh. And it’s also by far the hardest thing to do. Now, there’s a thin contrast there which is ironic distance, is an easy thing to do. So my new album will have a lot of work that’s not funny. And for me that’s a big achievement, but then again I know that funny is the greatest aspiration. So I guess there’s kind of a conflict there.

MVRemix: Who’s doing the production on “Tears of Joy?”

MC Paul Barman: Well the stuff I’m playing you is by Casual T from Cincinnati. And he was my DJ at the Toronto gig at the “Over the Top” fest. Other producers are Bimos, Al Obregon, actually I should say Clusaki, Chopped Herring and Dub L. And Prince Paul and I are going to do something and there will be some guest MC’s that aren’t confirmed, and other producers as well.

MVRemix: What type of equipment do your producers use?

MC Paul Barman: Regular stuff, most people I work with use MPC’s, Tek-12’s and pro tools.

MVRemix: On “Paullelujah”, on track 3, you say, “I started rhyming when radio was unbearably lame.”

MC Paul Barman: Well first of all I was kind of biting Jay Z. Because one of my favorite rhymes from him is the Hova outro. [He then proceeds to rap the Hova outro.] He sampled Jimi Hendrix just to be like, “I could kick the illest rhyme and sample the most expensive record. Because I could afford it, cause I’m the best MC." That wasn’t on the radio when I started writing, what I’m talking about is, for me, there was kind of dead period between the end of the Golden Period and before Wu-Tang which is the only time I stopped listening to hip hop more or less.

MVRemix: What years would you say marked the end of the Golden Period?

MC Paul Barman: Well, I would never say there was nothing good at the time, I just didn’t have access to it. I think anytime you categorically dismiss a genre, like a lot of people say, “I hate gospel, or I hate opera, or I hate country”. That’s impossible, because there are so many great artists in each of those genres. Someone who understands you, and has a wide knowledge of that music needs to bring you some, I guarantee you’ll find some. I guess I’m talking about like 1990 to 1993. But a lot of people’s favorite hip hop came from the early 90’s. That was before there was “Blazing hip hop and R&B” was on every station.

MVRemix: I read in an interview that you said you would like to work with Fresh Prince, or at least with Fresh Prince in his early days.

MC Paul Barman: Well Jazzy Jeff is one of the best producers of all times. And Will Smith, first of all, how in the world are you going to front on “He’s the DJ and I’m the Rapper”? I absolutely love that album and when I got it I ran to get “Rock the House” which I had on tape and I can’t find it. [He seems really angry that he can’t find the tape, which is understandable]. I mean, Will Smith, come on, he’s a mastermind. He bubbled from the bottom to the very top. He’s broadly knowledgeable, he skipped college. You should check out an interview with him in Wired, he talks about computers and stuff. I’ll send you the link or something. [He does send me the link]. I don’t remember saying that, but it kind of reminds of saying things you’re not supposed to say.

MVRemix: Would you ever consider putting out an early 90’s style album with Arrested Development?

MC Paul Barman: I guess so. Those are talented guys and girls. When you say early 90’s, I think I’ve kind of been stuck in being in love with the sampled sound and digging for records. So maybe the answer is actually no. Check it out, it’s the gay parade today. It looks like these are some stragglers. [This needs explanation. It was the Gay Pride Parade in New York and MC Paul B is distracted and intrigued by what seems to be two lesbian teenagers with rainbow flags that he sees outside the window.] I’m thinking that maybe that format that I fell in love with from the late 80’s is maybe not so fresh anymore. I hate to say it. I think a lot of people have been saying it for a long time, maybe now I’m feeling it a little bit. So with plenty of exceptions I’m kind of feel that way. So this album I’m working on is going to be like a hip hop blow out. And then the one after that will have no samples, all live instruments and I’m starting work on that one too.

MVRemix: How did you meet MF Doom?

MC Paul Barman: I met Doom through Prince Paul.

MVRemix: Describe the events that led up to Prince Paul showing interest in your work, after hearing “Enter Pan-Man.” And describe how you reacted.

MC Paul Barman: It’s pretty simple. I pressed up 500 copies of the 7’’. Actually it was more like 550 cause they said they couldn’t stop the machine in time and it chugs out a few extras and I was like, whatever I ordered 500, then I had to get more covers printed out. I’ve told this story a million times. I printed up the 7’’ in time for the Risdee Student Sale in 98, which was on Benefit Street on a beautiful spring day. And I sent them to a few people, Williard Espy, whose wife returned it to me and said he was too blind to read it, and I was like, but it’s a record. I sent it to David Foster Wallace, whose book “The Broom of the System” I was really impressed by. And he sent me a nice note which I can’t find. And to Prince Paul which I sent care of Tommy Boy. And as I’ve told many people over the years, if you ever want to get something to somebody, and you don’t know their address, don’t fucking bug friends of friends till you get something that’s not your right to have. Just find out who they’re affiliated with whether it’s their publishing group or their record company which at the time was Tommy Boy and put C/O which is care of. And it’s federal mandate that it eventually reaches that person. Then again, with hip hop who knows? It might go in the fucking trash, cause everyone is fucking insane. I think I didn’t know about “Psychoanalysis” and in 98’ I was kind of like, where the hell is Prince Paul? I didn’t understand what was going on with De La and after 3 Feet High and Rising, he was somebody I was really waiting for the new records to come out all the time. So anyway, I just thought, you know what, I bet Prince Paul would like it, simple as that. And it’s really a testament to him that he got “Enter Pan-Man” cause I knew that was the good one. But it’s on side b, so he had to get through side a, he had to really give me a chance a few times. So then I got a letter, at the time I was living in Queens, and I knew it was from him cause of the envelope. And I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited, I ran around my apartment in circles before I opened it and I had his contacts and we started up a phone relationship. Then he asked me to meet him at a club, not that far from here. So we were initially going to do one song, then an album, then an EP, which I wrote while I was living in Chapel Hill North Carolina.

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"Jazzy Jeff is one of the best producers of all times. And Will Smith, first of all, how in the world are you going to front on “He’s the DJ and I’m the Rapper”? I absolutely love that album..."