Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves

I just had to stick this on cos I got it late today and have been listening to it non-stop. It’s fucking brilliant. As good as the Roots and BEP albums are, this one’s my fave so far in ’99.

The liner notes say it’s been three years since ‘Psychoanalysis’ which I can’t believe. That album is one of the maddest, most fucked-up hip hop albums ever. It proved PP to be both immensely creative and wildly nutty. A genius.

This one’s a progression, perhaps a bit straighter but no less inventive. The loops he picks are this disorienting mix of the familiar with the…crazy. If only half the current pop hip hop producers had this much breadth of musical knowledge. The vibe is a lot scarier than ‘Psychoanalysis’ and harder. I just hope he does some film scores soon cos it’d be mega.

In fact, he may have already cos the whole album has a blaxpoitation flick feel from the cover art through all the interludes. And when you catch yourself thinking ‘hmmm…that bit sounds De La or Gravediggaz or whatever’ you have to remind yourself it’s cos PP produced those albums as well. Those are his sounds and riffs he’s bringing home. Silky Sicilian strings, Les Dawson Wu piano loops, huge nad-crushing beats. The sub bass is sub baaasss.

He’s got a lot of help on there. There’s the incomparable Chubb Rock who delivers his track ‘Mr. Large’ just completely fucking beautifully. Amongst all the chubbsters (Fat Joe, Eightball, Big Pun), this proves Chubb still reigns supreme. Him and Biz Markie come and go in one minute, which is way too short. Plugs 1, 2 and 3 turn up on ‘More Than U Know’ which makes me realise how much I’d missed Trugoy, Posdunous and the original Mase… They make it sound so easy – just rolling along, with a sly tip of the hat to the Sugarhill mob. Other luminaries include Kool Keith, Sadat X, Xzibit, Everlast in rock mode and even Chris Rock (not in Everlast mode).

Really, I could wank on about this album till Usenet crumbles under the weight of my purple prose. Just go and buy it. There’s gotta be something on here that you love, even if you don’t like all the other PP-produced stuff. The music has epic depth coupled with forceful simplicity. It does everything – this album gets your head nodding more than Flat Eric on a Brian Harvey-sized dose of E.
love and kisses,