Album: Prince Paul

Politics Of The Business, Antidote
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The Independent Culture

The rap business is a tough game to get involved in, and not just in terms of the dangers associated with its endemic gun culture. Artists, it seems, are just as likely to be ambushed in the boardroom as on the street. Take Prince Paul: he's been around for the better part of two decades now, a respected producer who started out on the turntables with Stetsasonic before accumulating credits with De La Soul and Gravediggaz, and he "still" has to hustle for fees owed - as illustrated here on the track "Chubb Rock Can You Please Pay Paul the $2,200 You Owe Him (People, Places And Things)". Politics Of The Business is Paul's response, a concept album on which his backing tracks provide the likes of Erick Sermon, Chuck D, Ice-T, Guru and Dave/Trugoy from De La Soul with a platform from which to offer cautionary advice and complaints to would-be rappers. It's not all about business - Trugoy, for instance, deals in "Drama Queen" with the pressures girlfriends place on their rap-star boyfriends - but it's the disparity between aesthetic impulses and commercial imperatives that seems to prompt most of the problems covered here. Luckily, Prince Paul has friends like comedians Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, who help make comic skits such as "Princepaulonline.com" and "A Day in the Life" actually laugh-out-loud funny. Chappelle is particularly amusing in the latter as the label boss blowing hot and cold over Paul's new album, damning its lack of multi-platinum potential. "It's all back-packing music," he splutters vindictively. "You're lucky to go double wood with that shit."

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