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Phat beats and quality lyricists does not a necessarily make the perfect album. Prince Paul's new album, The Politics of the Business, has both, but is missing a certain je ne sais quoi. Bringing together both old school and new school rappers, along with a few of today's most well known comedians, the album tackles a variety of different topics with a wide range of different styles. It is this variety that makes this album special, and not so special at all at the same time.
Prince Paul is one of the most respected producers in all of the music industry. His past work with De La Soul, and Handsome Boy Modeling School speak for themselves, as do the hordes of well-known artists that have worked with him (from the Beastie Boys to personal favorite, MC Paul Barman). This isn't his first attempt at an album; The Politics of the Business is the follow up to his 1999 release A Prince Among Thieves.
Bringing together talent doesn't always result in an outstanding album. There is something about it that just doesn't make the album work as a whole; it is missing one overall cohesive bond that brings everything together. I got the feeling that I was listening to a bootleg mix tape that I could have bought while walking down Fordham Road in the Bronx. The tracks were just all over the place, from lyrical style to background beats.
Each track does do its' job of highlighting the talent on that particular track but no one track stands out above the rest. The album also addressed rather personal issues for Prince Paul, mainly the trouble that arose around his last album. He figured out the hard way that even though he had many years of experience in the business, he hadn't learned just quite how the game is played. Most of his songs reflect either how he was treated, or how his music was disregarded for not being commercial enough, and not featuring many other artists. The Politics of the Business is Prince Paul offering his own fighting words in defense, along with other artists on every track.
The Politics of the Business is a good album if you want both a history lesson and a look to the future of hip-hop, but you can get the same less using Kazaa and reading an issue of Vibe. The royalty behind this album should return to his throne behind the wheels of steel for other artists. Another album like this might start to cause some tarnish on his crown.
Jason Cipriano is the Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.