True: Prince Paul’s sense of humor can sometimes be annoying. However, it is still refreshing to listen to a producer who has been blazing his own trail for well over a decade in this land of rap music, for the love of the music itself.
For his umpteenth release, the prolific super-producer—man behind such groundbreaking releases as De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising and the Handsome Boy Modeling School’s two releases (alongside his equally engaging peer, Dan The Automator)—has dipped into his own crates to share some of his favorite records of all time. These include previously unreleased tracks, like the dark and cynical De La Soul joint My Mindstate(1992), and LA Symphony’s enchanting, humorous “Broken Now(2000),” as well as songs that Paul felt never got there “Just do’s,” like Groove B Chill’s old school party jam Top of The Hill(1990).
Many people don’t know that as well as being a beat miner of some esteem, Paul has also dabbled behind the microphone and behind the turntables. As a member of the premier hip hop band Stetsasonic, Deejay Prince Paul lent his distinctive vibe to a number of classic hits. Here, you get a taste with Stet Live WNYU. Also, as a rapper, Paul worked with a then unknown RZA in Russell Simmon’s failed “horror core” group Gravediggaz. Replete with a remix, you can get a quick history lesson with Constant Elevation (1994) and 1-800-Suicide(1994). Both show the grimy side of the Shaolin, as well as Paul’s diversity behind the boards. With two tracks from the underground legends Resident Alien, the lyrically adept Shaky Grounds(1991) featuring a hyped up Dres (of Black Sheep fame) and the poignant Alone(1990) featuring Derrick Lovelace (whom Paul would make a whole album with later), as well as his work with the Last Emperor on The Monolith, you also get a sense of the love that Paul has for the genre of rap music. Then, of course, there is the joint with his comedic kin Chubb Rock and Biz Markie, for No Rubber, No Backstage Pass (1996). The under-rated Chubb’s gets some shine, while Markie gets to flex the humor he has come to be known for.
After listening to Gold Dust, you’ll see why many people still consider the late 80’s and early 90’s to be the “golden years.” However, you will also come to know Prince Paul on a very intimate level, through his deft production. And note that just because hip hop took a turn somewhere down the line, doesn’t mean that everyone’s forgotten its origins, or the love they have of the genre. Anyway you stack it, this history lesson is a must have for the unannointed and the collector/ super-fan alike.