Filed under: Interviews,Sizzle-chest,Strong Island
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
After checking out the Negroes On Ice LP a couple of times, I thought it might be worth talking to Prince Paul and his son, DJ Pforreal in an attempt to try and figure out why on earth anyone would want to release a rap comedy album in this day and age…
Robbie: Did both of you put the story for Negroes On Ice together?
DJ Pforreal: Me and my dad have the same sense of humor so it was somewhat easy putting the project together. It was no thinking really behind it.
Prince Paul: You could tell the whole record was really no thinking behind it! [laughs] It goes from brain to mouth! There’s no filter in between. To answer your question, the basic gist of the story is just us sitting down together and coming up with, ‘OK, and then what happened? Alright, he’s running! And then what happens?’ It was fun, it was definitely both our senses of humor.
One of the more bizarre moments was ‘Pixel Hero’. I didn’t see that one coming.
PP: If there’s going to be anything that’s kinda out of the pocket as far as far as the context of what you think the album is. The one thing we didn’t want to do is a put a wack, off song. We tried to make it super-duper catchy, and Soca – he’s a pretty funny dude, man. You can’t beat having a gay rapper rhyme at the gay parade, so it made it easier.
Plus the video game thing adds another level to it, if you’ll pardon the pun…so the Negroes On Ice thing started as a DJ tour, right?
DP: We had a DJ duo and we wanted to think of a name – something that was bizarre. We came up with ‘Negroes On Ice’ ‘cos we thought it was funny. It kinda evolved into the story and the music side of it.
The ‘Paul vs. Paul’ video was a good concept.
PP: A lot of it started off when he looked at my first generation iPod one day. ‘Man, that’s old! I’m gonna take a picture and put it on Instagram!’ He was looking at like it was just crazy. I’m like, ‘But it’s an iPod though, man’. ‘No, but look at it! It’s crazy looking! It’s old!’ To me, it seems like I just bought it not too long ago…I guess it was ten years ago or whatever it was, but it just doesn’t seem that long.
You got jibbed on the boombox round – apart from the fact they chew through 20 ‘D’ Energizers.
PP: [laughs] I agree, man. That thing’s a freaking classic. You can’t find that boombox too many places – at least one that’s working!
P, when you started making music, was your dad like, ‘Whatever’?
DP: He still is like that. [laughs] When he saw me taking it seriously, and he heard some of the music I was making, he was like, ‘Yeah, OK’, he started listening to it. Now I admit I was making some wack stuff, but it progressively got better.
Did your early stuff always have a sense a humor?
DP: I produce more than rap. It depends on what mood I’m in, depending on what beat I make, so it varies. But rapping? I rap for the album, but I’m too much of a rapper.
PP: Not too much? He’s not a rapper! What are you talking about? [laughs]
DP: [laughs] Yeah, I’m not a rapper at all.
Do you know much about your dad’s older stuff – or has Paul forced you to listen to them?
DP: There’s no ‘forced’ – you should know what your father does, him being a producer. I know the majority of his work. I know all of the Stetsasonic stuff, the De La, Handsome Boys, Psychoanalysis – I’ve heard all that stuff.
PP: Yeah, that’s what he says until I play it, and then he goes, ‘What’s that?’ I’m like, ‘You don’t know who that is?!’ Or somebody goes, ‘Hey, I really like that record you made’, and he goes, ‘Wow, what’s that?’ And I’m like, ‘Ughh…’ [groans]
He’s like, ‘Who the hell’s Faye? Who’s this Sally girl?’
PP: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. But it’s OK, I’m not mad. It was twenty-something years ago.
I could see that younger dudes could appreciate De La Soul, but Stetsasonic might be too ’80s for them.
PP: Looking back, I joined Stet when I was sixteen. That’s like Grandmaster Flash days! Things were a lot different back then.
P, how much time do you spend on Twitter every day?
PP: Ha! That’s a good question! I wanna hear him answer this question honestly…
DP: To be honest, I’m not on Twitter that much. The reason I’m not is because I have so many followers – not to be bragging – I have mad followers, and I follow alotta people as well. It’s just not fun – I don’t like reading a lotta people’s crap.
[Paul and I burst out laughing]
DP: I have to be in the mood to tweet.
PP: I thought P had 80,000 tweets!
DP: Nah, nah, no. Now Instagram? I Instagram a lot.
I was quite shocked to see that you have about 3,000 more followers on Twitter than your dad.
DP: [laughs] See, the difference is that he doesn’t follow nobody. Nor does he Tweet! His followers are fan followers, my followers are friends and people I follow. His followers are pretty high-powered followers.
Is that a polite way of saying that his followers are all old?
DP: Nah, nah! I hope not… [laughs]
At least with Twitter, someone can put out a wack album and you can tweet them and say, ‘That shit was wack!’ and they might see it.
[Both laugh] Right!
Are you worried about the reply value when you make more comedy style albums?
PP: One thing me and P discussed when we were making this record, is that music is for free. Anything you put out there – even though we’re selling it initially – everybody knows the reality is, somebody wants to listen to it, ‘Hey man, yeah I’ve a got a copy! Want me to send it to you?’ ‘Yeah!’ It’s one of those things that we designed for taking a drive somewhere, you’re on the plane killing some time, you wanna show you’re friend, ‘Yo, this is stupid! He punched Akon in the face!’ Just to bring-up dialogue and giggle about. Do I think people are going to wake-up in the morning, be like, ‘Yeah man! I gotta listen to this!’? No, highly doubt it, but I think it has it’s moments. Definitely has a few memorable lines in there that I find a few of my friends repeating. That’s all I really want.
I’m sure Kanye appreciated that you apologized to him after you punched him in the face.
DP: The point of the album is not to think! You listen to and enjoy. [laughs]
PP: [laughs] Everybody knows too that Kanye West is a bit sensitive. You treat everybody else a little tougher. He’s whiny and stuff.
What’s next for you guys? Are you doing solo stuff, P?
PF: I am putting out a mixtape, mid-November. It has my homeboy Talent – he’s on Negroes On Ice, he goes by T. Harris – and two other people from my home city. We’re putting out a project, it’s called Black Boy.
PP: Really? Interesting. See, I didn’t even know that, man. Thanks for this interview! Finding out stuff about my own child.
DP: [laughs] It’s fully produced by me, I’m not rapping on it at all. These three dudes that I know are nice.
PP: I have to co-sign – they’re not bad. They’re pretty nice, man.
That could go on the sticker on the front: ‘Prince Paul Says: They’re Not Bad!’
What do your hip-hop tastes extend to?
DP: I prefer old school stuff, like 90’s music – early 2000’s pushing it. I have to listen to a lot of the new stuff, ‘cos I DJ. So I have to keep myself updated with all the new stuff.
PP: He likes Neo-Soul, that’s his thing…
So you’re hoping to be the future Mr. Eryka Badu? You could be her next conquest!
PP: [laughs] His name’s Eric Badu!
Start wearing kufis and dashikis!
PP: We coulda put you on the record, man. You have a similar sense of humor.
Right, I could be ‘Crocodile Jack’.
PP: [laughs] You know what? I’mma keep that in mind for the next record. Crocodile Jack!
What about you, Paul? What are your thoughts on current rap?
PP: For every well-known rapper that’s out there right now – except for maybe Kanye, I like a lot of Kanye stuff, believe it or not – for all your 2 Chainz and everybody else that’s really popular, there’s probably one good song that I like of each of those guys. I’m like, ‘That’s not bad!’ Maybe two. That’s just because I don’t go to the club and get high. Maybe if I went to the club and got high and listened to it real loud, I’d be like, ‘Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about it!’. I’m not a complete hater, I can appreciate 2 Chainz ‘Birthday Song’. P kinda taught me that. He was like, ‘So this music is made to be played loud – it’s not made to be listened to, dad’.
P, do you feel pressure to be funny because of who your dad is?
DP: I’ve always been the class clown. I got it from my dad. Most of my humour is my dad’s humour.
PP: Wow, he admitted that! Normally he tries to claim half these jokes as his own…
DP: Y’all gonna have to excuse me, ‘cos I have a class at 5 o’clock. Unfortunately I have a speeding ticket, and if I don’t go to this class I’mma go to jail.
Sure thing, now I can finally ask your dad questions about Stet…
Negroes On Ice is out now via Nature Sounds.
Next Up: Prince Paul – The Unkut Interview
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