Keeping it Negroes On Ice…

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When I called Prince Paul he was wrapping gifts and he hates it! If Paul was a rapper he says he’d hopefully make enough money to never have to wrap a gift again!!! “I’d hire someone to wrap them up for me. It would be like Kanye, I’m sure he doesn’t wrap any gifts.” Prince Paul (PP) and his son DJ P. Forreal (P) recently teamed up to release their first music project together, Negroes On Ice. In between wrapping gifts and prepping for the Knick-Lakers game I was able to have a quick little conversation with this new dynamic father & son duo about the album, about father and sons, about the end of the world, De La Soul and Breeze Brewin.

PSA: The following took place in real time and no strippers were punched in their gills during this interview.

How long was this collaborative father and son project in the works?

(PP) It’s been a minute, we actually probably thought about it in like 2009 or 10. I was working on this other project and had a deal for it, but things couldn’t really get together and that kind of fell through. I was like man, I gotta come up with some content! So I told P let’s finally work on something together. That was when we actually conceptualized Negroes On Ice. I came up with a theory for it and we just sat on it for a while. We would work on it for a couple of months then put it down, work on it for another couple of months, put it down. Than we finally got it down.

So in hip-hop lore there have been a few father and son acts you had Nas and his pops, Common and his pops (You also had Master P and Romeo)…how did it feel working with each other on this project from both a father and a son’s point of view?

(P) It was a process, it wasn’t like an artist producer type thing cause it was my dad, but it was a process because one, I’m not a rapper. So I had to rap on some of the songs, so we had to go through the steps. I guess it was hard at first, it was cool though, and it was fun!  (PP) I have to agree with him it was definitely a process to get stuff done. Because your work relation with your child is different from working with someone else, your patience level is a little shorter, you’re like, “come on man!!!” You know I can’t talk like that to other people that way, but with your kid it’s different in that respect. I would say to anybody that have children, they should definitely, and it doesn’t have to be an album, but I would definitely recommend working together on some sort of project. There is a certain amount of bonding, we bond to begin with anyway, but it puts us into something different because we’re teaming up to become one entity to get something accomplished. Which is really cool, and when you look back years down the line, generations to generations…provided that the 21st (of December, 2012) isn’t the last day of our life and times on earth and the world doesn’t blow up, according to the end of the Mayan calendar…generation of kids will say, “wow, remember great-great-great-great granddad did Negroes On Ice!!!”

P, when you were coming up and having a father like Prince Paul, with his extensive catalog, was he like the dad that was always saying, “yo listen to this one…hold up, hold up…listen to this one…”

(P) I mean yeah, it was always like, back in the day riding in the car we were always listening to “Illmatic”, De La Soul’s “Stakes is High”, Public Enemy or something so I was raised on real hip-hop.He’s still does it though, you know “listen to this”, but not too much because hip-hop is kind of wack nowadays.

I’m glad you said that, you know because you being a young a brother, you know hip-hop nowadays with this generation it is really, really wack! (PP) It’s not really hip-hop anymore; it’s more like a hybrid. It has elements of hip-hop in it but it’s not really it. So I can’t even take it serious anymore. It’s like people just want to make pop songs, want it to hit the radio you know, make a dance song, and make it catchy. It goes against everything we fought for in the beginning. You know how biting was a crime, now biting is cool. Yeah man, let’s bite!!! Let me do a down south style even though I am from…the South Bronx.

So on this joint how was the production split between the both of you?

(P) I’d say production on the album was 50-50. The stuff I produced he added his input on and the stuff he did I added my input to. (PP) Yeah, I would agree with that, but I would say he actually inspired the music on there because I was listening to what he was doing. I told him one day to make me a CD of beats. I was pleasantly surprised with it and told him that this was the direction that we needed to go in. He inspired the whole thing actually.

You guys took it on the road too earlier this year right? (PP) Yeah we actually did like 5-6 shows more or less to see what the response would be like. Also it gave us an opportunity to test the material, rewrite it and tweak a few things before we put the record out. It was crazy because we got such a mixed response, we’d go to some places and they’d be like, “oh this is funny…” other places would be like “oh, you’re ruining this theatre”. It was like either way. (P) It was definitely a love and hate response. (PP) We’re still in the process of figuring it all out. When we put it together we said that we were going to make this a stepping stone for whatever it is we do next. Whether it’s us writing stuff, producing stuff or making video content. We just haven’t sat down and powwow on it. P is coming up from school on his winter break soon, so that’s when we’ll figure out what the next step is.

So yo Paul, next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Buhloone Mindstate, any talks about a redux or any conversation about a new project with De La?

(PP) Wow, 20 years!?! Wow…well that would be something I’d have to speak to De La about. But I doubt it being that there weren’t any anniversary releases for the other albums. It’s actually funny; I did an interview not too long ago where I was told De La had mentioned in another interview that there was some new projects that we would be working on, which was news to me! I haven’t really heard anything about that. I mean we talk once in a while, so they had every opportunity to tell me that. Honestly I kind of like it where it is. What we made was magical in the time that we made it. For us to make anything new now, one, I’m not sure how many people would really be interested in it and two, it’s kind of hard to even compete with the great music we did before, and I don’t want to tamper with whatever the legacy is. Now on another note if someone comes out and says here’s a couple of million to make this record, than let’s go!!! But other than that it’s not worth it, it’s kind of like keeping the past, the past, almost like trying to revisit an old girlfriend and when you see her again you kind of realize why you broke up.

How about some new Psychoanalysis?

(PP) Man if I could recreate that vibe I would love to do another Psychoanalysis album. I would actually like to go out and tour old albums. I think that would be interesting to go out and do some of these old albums.

How did you like working with Breeze Brewin again?

(PP) Breeze Brewin is like that highly underrated guy who even I think doesn’t understand his own capability and his talent. Like, “yo man you’re dope!”, “yeah? I am?” He knows who he is, but then at another point he kind of second guesses himself. Now he’s a teacher, and that’s something I have to respect. 

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