February 23, 2019

Prince Paul "A Prince Among Thieves" (Spin, 9/99)

"Long after he helped introduce the hip-hop skit during his trailblazing work with De La Soul on 3 Feet High and Rising, producer "Prince Paul" Huston created the most ambitious narrative effort of the hip-hop era: an album-length drama recounting the tragicomic travails of an up-and-coming MC and his brutal introduction to the music industry. The soundtrack to an as-yet unfilmed movie, A Prince Among Thieves also succeeds as a collection of memorable Old School-flavored tunes. Says hip-hop producer Dan "The Automator" Nakamura, "It's the first record I've ever heard that reminds me of the little Superman records I had as a kid, where it would beep and you'd turn the page." Today, on its 20th anniversary, check out the original samples, provided by VinRican, cont'd...

"While Prince boasts a supporting cast that includes Big Daddy Kane, Everlast, and Kool Keith (who took the Method-acting approach to his part as a weapons dealer, arriving at the studio armed with gun magazines), there was one performer Paul coveted but was unable to secure: Vanilla Ice. "I called up his manager," Paul says, "and he was, like, 'Oh, sounds great,' and then never called me back. I would have given Ice a real dope rhyme over an incredible beat ... so that people would have thought he was actually really, really good." Later, when Paul watched Ice spin his tale of woe on VH1's Behind The Music, he couldn't help but laugh. "Man, come on, it wasn't that pitiful - I was trying to give him work." - Spin, September 1999. Revisit this CLASSIC, conceptual album!