(AllHipHop Features) Thanks to his production work on De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising DJ Prince Paul has picked up the moniker "The Inventor of the Hip Hop Skit." Theatrical interludes like "Intro," "Can You Keep A Secret," "Do As De La Does," and "I Can Do Anything (Delacratic)" helped establish a new tradition for rap albums that is still prevalent nearly a quarter century later.
Paul is also well-known in the Hip Hop community for his critically acclaimed solo LPs Psychoanalysis: What Is It?, A Prince Among Thieves, and Itsrumental. Each project centered around a distinct theme or story establishing the New Yorker as one of the leading creators of the concept album in the genre.
AllHipHop connected with Prince Paul to ask the host of Scion A/V's "The All Purpose Show" about his all time favorite Hip Hop skits, concept albums, and personally produced tracks.
AllHipHop.com: What are your Top 5 Hip Hop album skits of all time?
Prince Paul: One would have to be whatever is on that Niggaz 4Life album by N.W.A. To me that set the bar, because you could actually see everything. Those to me are like the most top-notch ones I think I’ve heard. I think ones that are really funny are the ones they put on [Wu-Tang Clan’s] 36 Chambers. That would have to be my number two.
My number three would have to be - and this is not necessarily a great skit it was just stuck in my head - on Big Pun when he did that “packing a mac in the back of the ac” [Capital Punishment’s “Pakinamac Pt. 2 (Skit)”]. For some reason that always stuck in my head. It wasn’t even a great skit. It was just that he made some weird skit out of it, and it was totally goofy. After that, Ice Cube’s Lethal Injection. The beginning of that album I felt was brilliant. It was mad intense. Probably lastly… I can’t even think of too many skits. I don’t even like skits to be honest.
The “Inventor of the Hip Hop Skit” doesn’t like skits? That's ironic.
When I made [those skits] it wasn’t with the intention of like “yeah, everybody’s going to follow.” I was just trying to glue 3 Feet High and Rising together. I was thinking all of these records are so awkward let me just find a way to piece them together, and then it became a staple for a second for Hip Hop albums.
I’d skip past them like, “oh god, why did they put that on there?” I can’t name a top five, but those are definitely my top four… Oh, Tha Alkaholiks. I’m not sure which album it was, but it was the one where they had the impression of Bill Clinton [Tash’s Rap Life]. I thought it was really funny.
What are your Top 5 concept albums?
My number one would have to be [Marvin Gaye’s] Hear, My Dear. I just thought that was brilliant, just the whole story behind that album. Super brilliant. That would have to be number one. I have to think of things that more-or-less affected me. Number two would have to be The Amazing Spider-Man [Beyond The Grave] on Buddha Records in 1972-73. The next one would have to be recently [Killer Mike and El-P’s] Run The Jewels. To me that’s a concept record, because they came out with personas of hardcore gangster guys and made songs based on that. Another concept record that was really good… I’m trying to think of some that were really impactful.
What did you think of Kendrick Lamar’s [good kid, m.A.A.d. city] album?
I think for a contemporary record that’s a really good concept album, because people don’t really do that no more. He didn’t really take it literally like some people do. [Public Enemy’s] It Takes A Nation Of Millions[To Hold Us Back] that’s a concept record because it’s all about black revolution. If we were to put that in order, it would be Kendrick Lamar last after It Takes A Nation Of Millions.
What are your Top 5 quintessential Prince Paul tracks?
Man I don’t even listen to my own music. [laughs] Except recently on a long flight I was listening to records to see how they lived over the last 15-20 years since I made those songs. Man, Prince Paul records? Probably, “1-800 Suicide” - Gravediggaz. “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa” would have to be another one. “Beautiful Night” on the Psychoanalysis album. “The Men in Blue” on A Prince Among Thieves. Those are the ones I really, really like. Last one? “No Sex (In The Champagne Room)” by Chris Rock because that’s just a silly song, and it’s experimental.
Check out Scion A/V’s “The All Purpose Show” hosted by Prince Paul at www.scionav.com and on YouTube.
Follow Prince Paul on Twitter @DJPrincePaul
Check out the video for Chris Rock’s “No Sex (In The Champagne Room)” produced by Prince Paul below.