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Prince Paul - conducted by Hugo Lunny & DJ Neoteric  

Prince Paul - Defining Musical Integrity

June 2005

MVRemix: Listening to this album (Itstrumental), it sounds like there's a lot of different sounds, possibly made over different periods - is this an accurate take?

Prince Paul: Definitely. The music spans from '88 to 2004, which was the "The Boston Top" which we did over at Newkirk's house kind of quick. Everything else is pretty old and yeah, there's a bunch of stuff with different types of equipment. One song "I'm An 80's Man" was 808. It was done on an 8=track and I used S900 AKAI samplers. There's another song on there "El Ka Bong" which was the first beat I ever made on my ASR-10, which I found at this point. "Wow, this is interesting. I'll put it on this record." It spans all over the place.

MVRemix: You said you'd tied all these beats together from various times and then you tied them together as a loose concept?

Prince Paul: Yeah, 'cause Peter went just take whatever instrumentals you got. I think he meant take things like the Barman record I did and all his stuff, but I thought, "Nah, that's cool. But its been heard before. Let me just take beats that are kind of in the archives and use those instead" and in the process of listening to it, I thought "Well I like these, but I don't want to make a regular instrumental album." You listen to it, you put it on, it catches you for a while and then you start talking about your day. It loses you, you start to fade off. I wanted to make something that in every second there's something going on. There's a concept behind it, even though there isn't a lot of vocals in some of the songs, you still get the idea of what the song is about. To me that makes the fact of having a great instrumental, not just the fact of having a beat just run and you vibe into it.

MVRemix: There must be some stories about some of these beats. Were any of these planned for certain projects?

Prince Paul: Yeah, for example the Popmaster song ("My Friend The Popmaster"), I was gonna do a Popmaster album, well actually an EP with all the Black Italiano stuff. That was one of the songs we were gonna use. A lot of those beats were actually gonna be used for Paul Barman's EP "It's Very Stimulating." Those are a lot of Popmaster beats because I never really had a chance to get him down on it. The other song "And The Winner Is?" was a Popmaster song, and it's based on the thinking where people weren't sure whether he was black or white... 'cause we call him the Black Italiano, so people can never really figure out who he is. That's why we used the whole "I am a white American" if people ever knew who he was or who he is. I always kept that mystique up. That was one of the songs... It's kind of all over the place. The slow song the "I'm An 80's Man" was my first attempt at trying to make a ballad right after "3 Feet High & Rising" which would never come out. A lot of things on that ("Itstrumental") were kind of first attempts at something.

MVRemix: What was the reason for the title?

Prince Paul: "Instrumental," well, one when I first heard it I thought I was being clever and I went "It's True Mental." Everybody thinks it's crazy - "It's true mental!" I had used that a long time ago when I had my Doo Doo man record label. I had a regular version and I had an instrumental version, I put Itstrumental and apparently it went passed everybody. So I went, I can't waste that! Let me use it again. It was my chance to name an album after that.

MVRemix: What happened to the "Prince Among Thieves" movie?

Prince Paul: Ah man, it's a sad event. What happened was I sold the rights to Chris Rock and our idea was to sit down and re-write it. I supposed what happened was in the course of him being a very busy man, I guess it got left on the drawing board. Nothing became of it, unfortunately. I get asked about it all the time. People wanting to do plays and whatever else. I don't know. To me too, I'm probably bad at business because of this, but I've moved on to the next thing. That album took a year to come out. I made it in '98 and it didn't come out till exactly a year later in '99 from when I handed it in. By the time it came out I was so done with it and onto the next thing then to keep dragging it on was like my interest was minimal. The issue of me pushing anything behind that record kind of dwindled. Which is bad... My passion kind of died because I was onto the next thing, unfortunately.

MVRemix: What about Handsome Boys Modeling School, tell me about how the concept for that arose...

Prince Paul: Well you know man, a lot of it is just me and Dan being handsome. We look in the mirror and voila, it's there. Again, we definitely had that in common as far as liking that show "Get A Life" - that was one of the episodes that we had talked about. "Wow, lets tap into that. Lets work on a project together, for one. And lets base it on this." We kind of did it as a joke at first. Next thing you know we actually made a record behind it. I think the whole thing is we brought it up at Tommy Boy, and they were like "Yeah, lets do that record." We didn't have a record in mind but we said "Okay." [chuckles] We just made it up, that's how it came about.

MVRemix: With regards to "White People," there are some guest appearances that we wouldn't typically associate with you, Pharell for example. How did that one arise?

Prince Paul: I love the Neptunes me, and Pharell I think is super talented. We were playing a gig at South By South-West and we were opening up for The Neptunes, that's when me and Dan caught Pharell because we were staying at the same hotel. It turns out, and I don't know, maybe he was pulling my leg, but we had a mutual respect. He was like "Ah, I love your work and blah blah blah..." "Oh, I'd love to work with y'all." "I loved the N.E.R.D. record..." It was all stupid lookin'. I guess if you was on the outside lookin' in, you'd be like "Who are these fools?" He was "Oh! "3 Feet High & Rising," Native Tongues..." We're lookin' like fools until finally we put it together which was good. He was really good about, I have to thank him a lot because he didn't charge us a ton of money. He just basically did it for the love, which was nice of him. It basically shows that he is really for the music. Like I said, I'm a big fan. Some people ain't wanna hear that. "You like The Neptunes?" I love The Neptunes! They crazy.

MVRemix: Currently who are the mainstream artists and underground artists you listen to?

Prince Paul: Music that I play myself? I like R.A. The Rugged Man, I like him. I like what Kanye West is doing... I don't necessarily listen to his lyrics, but I definitely understand his production. I like a lot of arrogant rappers. I don't necessarily like 50 Cent per say, not the new album, but I kind of like what he stands for. He just likes to agitate things and I can respect that. I like Jadakiss, I think he's dope. I like Nas' new record, the one with Quan ("Just A Moment"). There's a few underground cats here and there, I just can't think of any off hand. For the most part I don't listen to daytime radio much - commercial Hip Hop radio. It makes you angry after hearing the same thing over and over again.

>> continued...

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"He (Pharell) was really good about, I have to thank him a lot because he didn't charge us a ton of money. He just basically did it for the love, which was nice of him. It basically shows that he is really for the music. Like I said, I'm a big fan."