Prince Po (Organized Konfusion) - conducted by Todd E. Jones
The Pedagogical Slickness Of Prince Po
Revolutionary music can empower both the individual listener and the masses. A musical uprising can be inspired by an eccentric emcee with his heart and mind in state of balance. Whether inspiring actual physical movements or innovative music, revolutionary music moves people on a fundamental physical or mental level. Formally of Organized Konfusion, Prince Po is a true eccentric emcee. With a microphone in his hand and a slick attitude within his heart, Prince Po has moved listeners in spiritual, physical, and philosophical ways.
Organized Konfusion instantly sparked a mental revolution in each listener. Fans first heard of the duo when they released the “Judge Pudge” single and their self-titled debut album. Featuring O.C., “Judge Pudge” has an energetic beat and wildly innovative flows by the emcees. Formed by Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po, Organized Konfusion truly gained critical acclaim with their “Stress: The Extinction Agenda” album (Hollywood Records). Their anthem-like single, “Stress” has helped to empower listeners to challenge their own mental demons. “Crush! Kill! Destroy stress!” was chanted repetitively over rugged drums. Prince Po’s opening verse gained him worldwide attention and helped to make the track a classic hip-hop song. “Pain! Stress! My brain – can’t even rest / It’s hard to maintain the pressure on my chest…”, Po rhymes with a both confidence and vulnerability. The album included other songs like “Maintain”, “Black Sunday”, “Bring It On”, and “Why?” featured mind-blowing flows and emotional lyrics. The follow up Organized Konfusion album, “The Equinox” (Priority Records) featured many skits, which weaved narrative tale through the LP. Creative concept tracks had thoughtful lyrics that fans would only truly understand after multiple listens. The song, “Invetro” was told through the eyes of an unborn child. The aggressive track, “Hate” has Prince Po rhyming through the eyes of a White supremist. Although the album gained critical acclaim, many fans were devoted to “Stress: The Extinction Agenda”
Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch broke up Organized Konfusion and walked their separate paths. Signed to Rawkus, Monch had a major hit with “Simon Sez”. While Monch was in the limelight, many fans wondered about Prince Po. They did form their management group, Nasty Habits. After many years, Prince Po finally released his debut solo album “The Slickness” on Lex Records. With a beautiful packaging design, “The Slickness” is an undiscovered gem of a record. Production included Madlib, J-Zone, Jel, Prince Po, and others. Guests included Raekwon, J-Ro (of Alkaholiks), MF Doom, J-Zone, and more. The innovative concept tracks were accessible, but they still possessed an emotional core. Produced by Prince Po, “Be Easy” can almost be dubbed mellow sequel to “Stress”. Produced by Madlib and featuring Raekwon, “The Bump Bump” is an up-tempo track with a thick, bouncy rhythm and catchy chorus. Other tracks like “Love Thing”, “Social Distortion” (with MF Doom), and the title track all prove that Po has what it takes to be a solo artist. The European label, Lex Records released the album with limited distribution. The only problem with “The Slickness” was that the album was hard to purchase in America.
Prince Po is continues to work hard, make music, and inspire listeners. On a warm evening during the later summer of 2005, I had a very in-depth conversation with Po about Organized Konfusion, Monch, hip-hop, racism, different countries, and much more. Poetic royalty is in his blood. Prince Po is the Prince of revolutionary hip-hop that inspires deep thoughts and fierce action. Prince Po makes music from his heart as “The Slickness” flows through the blood in his veins.
MVRemix: What goes on?
Prince Po: Nothing much. Nasty Habits Entertainment, our new production company. It’s a new one made up by me and Monch. Pharoahe and I had one named Medicine Men Productions, but we found out that someone else had the name. We could have sued them but instead of going through all of that, we just made a new company called Nasty Habits Entertainment. I got artists and we’re developing them. We have a few producers. I’m coming out with a new album, ‘Pretty Black’, which is my next solo album. I have new artists too. We have Touch Em Blak. GBG, which stands for Gary Blue Grass. It’s a Blue Grass band. I have an artist named Stone, who was in a group called Brotherman. I’m just trying to make it happen. I have one of the hottest producers, who happens to be a female. Her name is Jazimoto. I’m trying to grow, build, and get a foundation. I’m being creative, man.
MVRemix: What label is going to release the ‘Pretty Black’ album?
Prince Po: I don’t know right now. I’m looking for the right independent situation. I’m talking to a few people. Penalty Records or Up Above Records may be doing something with me. It’s up in the air right now. I’m in the studio until I feel that somebody may do right on the album and get it out there. That’s one purpose of this interview. I’m trying to reach out and let the fans know that I’m still working. Cats wonder what happened.
MVRemix: What did happen? You were in Europe for a while?
Prince Po: I was overseas last year, promoting and doing shows for ‘The Slickness’ album that I put out on Lex Records.
MVRemix: Tell us about ‘The Slickness’ and how you got involved with Lex Records.
Prince Po: Actually, they called me to do a song. My man, Jemini, had a song. I produced his first single, ‘Funk Soul Sensation’. He hooked up with Danger Mouse. They had a deal with Lex Records. Danger liked the work ethic we had and asked me if I would like to do a record on Lex for myself? It worked out, but there were some things I had to adjust to. It’s different working with an overseas label. It was a good experience being overseas last year.
MVRemix: What were some differences working with a European label as opposed to an American label?
Prince Po: For one, it basically comes down to money. The dollar is almost half of what a Pound is. If they spend £50,000 on promotions, it’s really like $100,000 here. The value of the dollar is different. A lot of overseas labels, not all of them, but a lot of them don’t have a relationship with people over here in the U.S. That hinders selling records in the United States.
MVRemix: Did ‘The Slickness’ LP get promotion in the United States?
Prince Po: Actually, it did. The people that they hired to promote the record here, in the States, weren’t competent enough to get the project to where it should have been at. If it was a project that came out on Penalty Records or Traffic Entertainment, there would have been a whole different impact. It would have been a movement. The album remains a classic. They love the album. The people who know about it over here, look at it as something very eclectic.
MVRemix: What is the underlying theme to, ‘The Slickness’?
Prince Po: ‘The Slickness’ is about a lifestyle. It’s like saying you are a b-boy, but in a modern way. It’s a way you carry yourself in hip-hop culture. The way you wear your hat, the way you talk, and the love you have for hip-hop. It’s the way you walk and the way you act. It’s a whole style of living. Even if you take the word ‘slick’ as ‘You think you are slick’, or ‘You think you are sneaky’, or ‘You think you’re smart.’ But, ‘The Slickness’ is how you wear your sneakers and make your pants fall over your sneakers. You want them to look a certain way. Back in the day, b-boys tied their pants to their legs. It’s a style. It’s a life. It’s a movement.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on ‘The Slickness’ LP?
Prince Po: ‘Be Easy’, not because I produced it, but the purpose behind the song. It’s for my man Matt Doo, who drew the cover for Organized Konfusion’s 2nd album, ‘Stress: The Extinction Agenda’. He drew us in caricature form. Years afterwards, he killed himself. That was basically because of the stress and turmoil that you have to face everyday. It’s survival. Some people don’t understand that suicide is a thin line between sanity and insanity. Some of who choose not to fight any more. It touched my heart when he passed away. I wanted to do a song for that. Even when you’re getting money, getting your shit together, and things are looking good, some of the times you have to sit back, not get caught up in the angst, and be easy. You have to appreciate the little things that are going on in your life, instead of trying to shoot for the big ones.