If you listen to Hip Hop of any kind and you don’t know who Prince Paul is… PLEASE… go shoot yourself in the hand and then the foot. Actually, the order doesn’t matter. WAIT, before you do, you need to listen to and download this album. Prince Paul is one of the greatest to ever do it so paying tribute is only right!
So, as an ode to Prince Paul Thesselonius brings us this instrumental tribute project – Thesselonious Presents: Prince Paul Saved My Life. This has been around since sometime in Feb. 2012 but we just happened to recently lay some eardrums on it. Check it after watching the promo video and let us know what you think.
Originally a member of Stetsasonic, he produced tracks on hip-hop albums such as 3rd Bass’ 1989 debut album The Cactus Album and De La Soul’s first three albums. After which he put together two solo albums: Psychoanalysis: What is It? and the hip hop operette A Prince Among Thieves, which featured Big Daddy Kane, Xzibit, Kool Keith and Everlast. He, along with Frukwan of Stetsasonic, Too Poetic of Brothers Grimm, and The RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, made up the Gravediggaz.
In 1990, Russell Simmons gave Paul an imprint under his Def Jam label. The imprint’s only album, It Takes a Nation of Suckers to Let Us In by Resident Alien, was never officially released. In the liner notes of De La Soul’s 1993 album Buhloone Mindstate, Paul hinted at his future projects with the Gravediggaz: “I would like to thank all my friends and business cohorts who dissed me, played me, and jerked me when times were hard. For you made me wiser, stronger, crazier, and, most of all, a Gravedigga!”
Alongside Teo Macero, Prince Paul co-produced guitarist Vernon Reid’s solo debut in 1995.
In 1996, he appeared on the Red Hot Organization’s compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly, alongside Wu-Tang Clan, Coolio, and Fat Joe, among others. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as a masterpiece by The Source magazine.
Huston teamed up with Dan the Automator to form Handsome Boy Modeling School; the group’s album So… How’s Your Girl? featured diverse names from Sean Lennon and Del tha Funkee Homosapien to Alec Empire and Don Novello. Huston was also featured in a feat with super group Deltron 3030 on their self titled album for the song The Fantabulous Rap Extravaganza. In the year 2000, Paul Produced MC Paul Barman’s début EP It’s Very Stimulating. White People continued Handsome Boy’s tradition of strange skits and an odd mix of guests over Paul- and Automator-produced beats, including The RZA, Linkin Park, Tim Meadows, and John Oates.
Politics of the Business (2003) is a look at present-day hip hop, again featuring many guests, from Chuck D and Ice-T to the Beatnuts and Wordsworth. The latter also collaborated on a track Paul composed for the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie soundtrack. Several songs by Paul have been featured only on compilation releases such as Om Records’s “Deep Concentration” and Bill Laswell’s “Altered Beats” collections.
His most recent release is the album Itstrumental, a return to Paul’s previous work, depending on how one saw POTB. Itstrumental contained a range of genres, relying heavily on past samples, especially those from A Prince Among Thieves, and tying it together with several lighthearted skits about his apparently real depression. He also produced the album The Art of Picking Up Women of imaginary rockers the Dix, which bring some of hip-hop’s misogyny and boasting to 1960s-style R&B.
Paul nabbed a deal with satellite radio company XM and was the host of “The Ill Out Show” on the company’s Rhyme 65 channel, until the station was dropped following the merger with Sirius. The show was hosted with members of the Ill Out Crew, various staple partners Paul has worked with throughout his career such as Don Newkirk (who closes engineer Al Watt’s imaginary 3 Feet High and Rising game show and also appears on 3rd Bass’s The Gas Face.). The show is a hip-hop fan favorite, airing news, classic songs, and interviews with various hip-hop artists. What may become one of the show’s most famed episodes was a love-joint show in July 2006, featuring love/relationship-oriented Hip-Hop songs programmed in an unorthodox fashion through an in-depth interview with R.A. the Rugged Man.
Paul’s latest project is Baby Elephant, a collaboration with Parliament and Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and longtime Paul associate Don Newkirk. Released September 11, 2007, Turn My Teeth Up!, features George Clinton, Shock G, Yellowman, Reggie Watts, Nona Hendryx, David Byrne, and Gabby La La.