Prince Po (Organized Konfusion) conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Pedagogical Slickness Of Prince Po Interview

November 2005

MVRemix: You're from Queens but you are in California now?

Prince Po: I'm in Burbank, California. I've been in the valley for about 3 months.

MVRemix: Many emcees from New York move out there to California. How is the hip-hop scene different out there?

Prince Po: Honestly, there's no difference, but there is more of what is, out here. When you talk about Los Angeles, California, you are talking about the size of New York state. Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland have a whole other following of people. There are so many people to reach out to at one time and in one spot. New York is definitely the epicentre of hop-hop, not just because it was born there. It's not the biggest place to sell records but you have to get the 'Okay' from New York to tell you that your record is dope. If New York thinks your record is wack, your record isn't going anywhere. That is a part New York plays. Cali plays a part too. Once New York says your record is dope, you better have a dope show in Cali. If your show is wack in L.A., they'll fuck with you. If your show is dope, people will let you expand more. They will appreciate your creativity and how you make music. It's dope. There's more shit to get into out here. Prince Po of Organized Konfusion interview

"I'm an artist! I'm not supposed to teach cats how to promote the record, what stores the record should be in, and how many spins we get on the radio. I'm an artist."

MVRemix: Does recording in Los Angeles have a different creative effect or stimuli than recording in New York?

Prince Po: I'm looking for any deal, not a major. Hypothetically, if someone gave me $400,000 to do an album, I would have to do half or most of the songs on the East Coast, but I would also have to do a significant part of the album on the West Coast. I'm on some different shit. Fuck the palm trees! I'm into the sun coming up in the morning, the smell of wet grass, and nature. If you wake up at 8 in the morning with the sun coming up, you get that energy. You get that vibe. It has to do with nothing else but nature. 80% of 'The Slickness' album was written in California, at Danger Mouse's house. It gave the LP a different vibe than the other shit I have done. I would definitely record in both spots. I would also record down South or Midwest. Chicago, Atlanta, or Texas. There are different vibes when you go places. People go through the same struggles. You can meet beautiful ass people everywhere. The nature, the atmosphere, and the people all make up where I am at. That is why I would have to keep it versatile.

MVRemix: Your music has many themes about overcoming struggles. There are uplifting sentiments about getting by and maintaining through life. Songs like 'Maintain', 'Stress', and 'Be Easy' help people get through hard days. The song, 'Maintain' was especially moving for me. Was this intentional?

Prince Po: The main thing was that it is for cats like you. You are like the three hundredth person who told me that the 'Stress' album helped them get through rough times. They always specifically name that song, 'Maintain' too. That album was recorded when a lot of stuff was going on. We lost Monch's father. He passed away during that time. He was a very big influence on our life. Not only was death hard, but we were also dealing with the record labels. We were struggling and arguing with the labels, and trying to satisfy the record labels. We had to make sure we could eat. It became hard. We just wanted to make a record and see how many people go through what we go through. Not everything is peaches and cream. We got a response from that record. The record shows that we went through a lot of shit. Hollywood Records had to let us go. They weren't doing the full job that they were supposed to do. They didn't understand the music or where we came from. They were putting all of these boujie ass people. I don't give a fuck what color people are. Boujie people are Black too. We have a lot of Boujie ass Black people. Problems don't have a color. You can be white, Indian, or whatever. It doesn't matter who you are, you are going to get challenged and face turmoil. You have to learn how to adjust and live with people. I have white people who I have looked out for me just as well as my Black friends. Am I supposed to treat them different when they looked out for me exactly the same way? No! One of my roommates out here in Burbank is a white kid. I don't give a shit what color you are! I'm going to tell the truth and pull no punches. You just have to have a certain type of etiquette and have some respect for each other. Accept the fact that we are all different! Black people are different from each other. We are not all the same.

MVRemix: You just need to be yourself.

Prince Po: Exactly! I grew up with all types of people but I have met people out here who are some of the best neighbors anyone could have. I actually sat down and had conversations with them. They never grew up with Black people. I can't expect them to know everything or not say some things that may be offensive because they grew up in a certain part of Texas where there weren't any Black people. It's my job and my duty to educate them because I don't want them running around thinking that all we do is say, 'Yo! Yo! What's up B?', grab our nuts, and wear our hats sideways all the time.' When I see white kids wearing their hats sideways and talking that way, I can't tell them not to do that because they could have grown up doing that. It didn't come up from Black culture. It came from hip-hop culture, which is color-blind.

MVRemix: Tell us about this new solo album coming out?

Prince Po: I produced a lot of stuff on it. There's not just me though. I have Jazimoto, who is a female. My group, GBG did beats too. I get beats from The Beat Junkies, Rhettmatic, everybody. Everywhere I go, I get beat CDs. It's becoming so crazy that everybody I speak to is doing beats. I would say that 60% of the entire universe is involved in hip-hop culture in one form or another. I'm not hating on it, but it is getting out of hand. I miss talking to people who want to be lawyers or doctors. That's where it is getting a little tasteless. Everybody is doing beats. I got four beat CDs up in the Bay Area. Out of the four, only one of the shits are dope. The other three are horrible. I don't give a fuck how they feel about it. The shit is horrible. But at the same time, those dudes may be able to fix a car, build an engine, or create the next invention that makes life easier. Everybody has to find what they can specialize in. Every human is a specialist, but everybody is not made to do music or do beats. Ten years ago, everybody was trying to get into the N.B.A. and play basketball. Now, everybody's rapping. I may call my mom and she may tell me that she's rapping now. It's getting out of hand. Nobody wants to be a lawyer, doctor, or a specialist. I try to comb through what is creative. If don't think it is creative, I throw that shit in the garbage. I'm not going to come to New Jersey and fix your car. I can change oil and take it to get a tune up, but I cannot fix a car. I can respect that. If I take it to Funkmaster Flex and he starts talking about engines, he will be the one to educate me. I know a little but I don't know all of that shit. Everyone has to find where they belong and find their position in life. A lot of these motherfuckers should not be making beats! One of these shits, I threw it away and got so mad because he wasted his time going to get equipment. The music thing comes from a natural existence of where you were born.

MVRemix: The final Organized Konfusion LP, 'The Equinox' was released on Priority Records. What happened with Priority Records?

Prince Po: They gave us a deal and knew that we needed promotion and attention. It was all good at first, but people started going on vacation. I realized that Master P sold hundreds of thousands of records on his own. Priority was a street record label to me. They weren't respecting us coming there as humble men who wanted to do business. They only respected us when we shouted and wanted to choke somebody for not doing their job. Our job was done by going into the studio and pouring out our fucking hearts. Our job was to make dope music for people all over the world. In the middle of the project, the contract ended with the distribution situation. You can't sign a contract with a record label unless you find out what their distribution is like. Two weeks after the LP came out, Priority loses their distribution deal. Then, we had to wait through the process of getting a new distribution deal to pick up. During that time, we found out that the record wasn't even in the stores. Then, we found out that the head of promotions was on vacation for three weeks! Then, the street promotion people didn't have anyone to guide them on what they had to do. I'm an artist! I'm not supposed to teach cats how to promote the record, what stores the record should be in, and how many spins we get on the radio. I'm an artist. That doesn't mean I have to coordinate the other side of the project. We asked them for a release and they gave it to us. They didn't do the job that they were supposed to.

MVRemix: Did you think 'The Equinox' LP was misunderstood?

Prince Po: I think it was misunderstood because people didn't get a chance to see it for what it was. We did some powerful things. We did the Vibe television show. BET and MTV gave us support. At the time, record labels wanted to hire outside companies to do other shit. The labels didn't want to do the footwork to get the money. That's cool, because that's what it's all about. Get the money. When you hire other corporations to do that and your distribution is fucked up, it gets tricky. We were a group who busted our asses. We slept in the parking lot of BET because Priority didn't have hotel rooms for us. We knew what we had to do. Still, artists can't sell a record any more than what the record label wants to sell. 'The Equinox' was misunderstood. It just didn't get a chance to live like it should have.

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