Prince Paul: Politics Of The Business

Prince Paul: Politics Of The Business

Since revolutionizing hip-hop with his production work for De La Soul, Prince Paul has reinvented himself with practically every new project, from the horror-core of Gravediggaz through the Dan The Automator collaboration Handsome Boy Modeling School and a pair of high-concept solo albums. Given that track record, it's surprising that his latest project, the producer compilation Politics Of The Business, is a fairly straightforward collection of songs and skits, albeit one laced with oddball humor. Paul has said in interviews that Politics Of The Business is his attempt to make a commercial record, but the man behind 3 Feet High And Rising's kaleidoscopic grooves has a different idea of what constitutes commercial rap than, say, P. Diddy or DJ Clue. Commercial only by his adventurous standards, Politics finds alternative rap's crown Prince collaborating with an assortment of underground rap's most overlooked and underrated figures. From Masta Ace to Chubb Rock to Tha Liks' Tash to The Beatnuts to super-villainous MF Doom to Jean Grae to Guru, the album boasts a formidable roster of cult heroes, up-and-comers, and old-schoolers who haven't visited the charts in a decade. But it's newcomer W. Ellington Felton who makes the most indelible impression, with "Beautifully Absurd," a gorgeous folk-rap song powered by acoustic guitar and low-key, almost subliminal scratching. If Politics has a consistent theme, it's a sense of disgust with society in general and the music industry in particular, articulated most memorably on the lush, album-closing "My Life," which reunites Fatlip with Tre Hardson. Hip-hop is littered with old-timers struggling to hang on after inspiration has left them, but with Politics Of The Business, Prince Paul ages gracefully, evolving without losing what made him special in the first place.

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