AllHipHop: What is the personal highlight of your career in your eyes?
Prince Paul: Wow, mine are very simple. It’s not even one big highlight. It’s just the fact that – Yo, I’m still working! Everyday I wake up and man, it amazes me. I could easily say that when the Chris Rock records won Grammy’s or when I won this award or did this overseas – Nah, it’s the fact that – Man, I beat some serious odds! And I was least likely to succeed. Coming from an era where, like Daddy-O was the lead member of Stetsasonic, Big Daddy Kanes, Teddy Rileys, Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad, and everybody. How is it that I still make records? I’m not saying that they don’t, but I’m still out there.
AllHipHop: Your work, EPMD, and Public Enemy was just crazy for the changes it brought to Hip-Hop. Do you think growing up on Long Island and being close to the city, but far enough away, made your vision so eclectic?
Prince Paul: I wouldn’t say necessarily eclectic, I think the eclectic part was just our personalities. We had to make our own voice. It seemed like we had to work ten times harder because we were from Long Island. You say Long Island, the expectations were low. You had to come out with something completely different or better than, or Rakim, just check out his rhymes man – they’re ridiculous.
AllHipHop: With this series, I want to spotlight one record that I adore with each. If the reader likes it they like, if not – tough. With you, it’s “Keeping the Faith.” The first twenty seven seconds of that track just tickle me, man. Tell me about the creation of that record.
Prince Paul: [Laughing] I could tell one major element in making “Keeping the Faith” and that’s Maseo [from De La Soul]. Cause he came in and more or less said, “This is how I want to piece everything together.” It was just a matter of me – as a producer – piecing it together, and making it work, and make the guys rhyme and sound a certain way. But conceptualized as far as the music, he definitely gets a bulk of the credit. Me, I just wanted the guys to have a nice cool vibe. One thing about De La Soul, especially those days, what I concentrated on with those guys, was always make sure the rhyme style matched with the music.
AllHipHop: Funny question. We know Chubb Rock owes you some money. Did Chubbs ever pay up?
Prince Paul: [Laughter throughout] Oh, of course not! He’s avoided me. Man – I’m all of 5’9”, a hundred and fifty pounds, and he’s what – 6’3”, maybe three hundred pounds. And he’s avoided me! Man, look! That cat, he owes a lot of people money. And we’re all looking for him. There’s a union of people who he owes money, looking to get at least something back. Yo, you know what I’m putting out? Anybody who gets my money from Chubb Rock, I’ll give ‘em half of what he owes me! He owes me $2200. You get my money, I give you $1100!
AllHipHop: That’s a used Geo right there. That’s not bad at all.
Prince Paul: [Laughter] Something’s better than nothing. And I’m not talking about violence. Cause if y’all might see him before I see him. If you could politely get my money back.
AllHipHop: One odd note is. You don’t get high, never did, and I know you’re not a big drinker either, and you’re dope! Growing up, that helped me get on the straight and narrow. But you never aired it as a role model. Talk about that for a minute.
Prince Paul: Well, for me, I’ve always been offered, especially in the early days, in the 80’s, it was cool to sniff coke and smoke weed and everything else. Not that it’s not uncool to smoke weed now. But it just never appealed to me because when I see how some of them dudes act, I see a lot of dudes get robbed, high [laughter], especially from women. Sometimes I don’t see me getting high as fun. I laugh anyway.
AllHipHop: You bring your son with you a lot. Does he show interest in Hip-Hop, being around you so much?
Prince Paul: I don’t think he takes the interest like I had it because now, Hip-Hop is add water. You add water to [anything], you got Hip-Hop. From the musical instruments they got at Sam Ash, to your clothes, it’s there. I think what made it interesting for me when I was a kid is you had to look for it. It wasn’t there, it wasn’t accessible. And nobody really supported it except the kids around [my] age. Adults didn’t support it. You had to make stuff Hip-Hop. It gave you a whole Macguyver feel. Like, “I gotta make these leaves Hip-Hop” [laughter]. The man who made Cazals didn’t really think, “Urban kids are gonna be wearing these glasses!” We had to make stuff. Whether it was music or clothes or whatever the case is. For him, it’s for granted. His dad makes music. I come home, it’s around him. There’s drum machines. He doesn’t have to go to a friends house or find one or work real hard to get one. It’s just there for him. I think the excitement is minimal. But he’s a natural talent though, which is kinda scary. He’ll get on the turntables and he’ll cut like Bam Bam Bam! And be, “Oh, I’m done.” I’ll have kick snare patterns on the drum machines. He’ll program a beat, Bam Bam Bam. “That’s cool.” It’s frustrating. He’s naturally nice like that. But I don’t push him neither.
AllHipHop: He won’t be squaring off against Lil’ Romeo?
Prince Paul: Nah, you know I would love to! I wish I could be like Joe Jackson, like “Go! Go!” [laughter] But he’s kinda nice and he’s smart with it. I just let it be.
Support Prince Paul’s “Politics of Business”, and past efforts throughout the record store nearest you. Check back for our next stop in the series, the legendary Diamond D: “The best producer on the mic.”