HHS: How did you link up with Da Beatminerz early on in your career?
Baby Paul: Well, I actually built an acquaintance with Mr. Walt as a patron of the Music Factory record store in Jamaica Queens, NYC. I used to go there & buy all the latest music, & we got kool once he realized how in tune I was with what was current in scene. I was interning at Power Play Studios in Long Island City, NY while in college & met everyone from Eric B. & Rakim, Kool G. Rap, & KRS-One. I eventually was invited to the Dewgarde home in Bushwick, where I met Walt’s brother Evil Dee & Buckshot as they were demoing songs in their basement lab that later became Black Moon’s 1st hit record “Who Got the Props”…the rest is HISTORY!!
HHS: Who did you listen to, production-wise, that made you want to really produce records?
Baby Paul: I was a student of everyone who came before me, from the early 80′s hip-hop producers like Grandmaster Flash, also Larry Smith who produced Run-DMC, Whodini…I also respected the work Marley Marl did for the Juice Crew, the Bomb Squad for P.E. and all my peers before I got my start: Pete Rock, Dj Premier, Q-Tip and Tribe Called Quest. However, it was The Large Professor aka Extra P. whom I met as an intern at Power Play Studios that truly inspired me to wanna make music. The work he did with so many people early in his career, not to mention the first Main Source album was IT for me, that did it.
HHS: Your production resume is a who’s who of hip hop royalty…everyone from Black Moon, Big Pun and Pharoahe Monch, to Nas, Naughty By Nature and Fat Joe. Do you have a favorite experience being in the studio with a particular group or emcee?
Baby Paul: Thank you man, I appreciate it. I feel truly blessed to have worked with all these people, yet still feel like a brand new producer just starting out!! I can say I had interesting memories from most of the artists I’ve worked with, but in particular my favs to work with have been: Smif-n-Wessun, Fat Joe, Nas, and AZ. The level of creativity and lyricism that these people brought to my music has been amazing to say the least. I give Steele from Smif-n-Wessun props for giving me my start as a working music producer. He had the ear to see what I was trying to do, and gave me the opportunity to participate on their first album, “Da Shining”. I gotta shout Fat Joe out for allowing me to be on one of his first Gold albums, “Don Cartagena”. I also gotta shout out Nas for allowing me to participate on one of his most classic albums, “StillMatic”. All these people I mentioned are extremely passionate about their music and include the producer in the creative process, which I feel is very important & missing these days.
HHS: There seems to be more and more emcees linking up with just one producer to create a full length album, kinda like it was back in the day with, for example, DJ Premier or The Bomb Squad or Prince Paul producing every cut. Do you see that shift as well and do you think it might up the quality in the music being released?
Baby Paul: I think that’s EXACTLY what the game needs, it will cut the saturation going in the marketplace like a butter knife!! Once artists decide on creating more music with a consistent and defining sound, it will force “music producers” to step up their creative abilities to deliver a full album of product. That way, more albums coming out will sound less like a compilation of musical ideas & be more unique which in the end, becomes a CLASSIC! Mind you all of the most classic albums ever made in hip-hop came from having a limited amount of producers involved.
HHS: Da Beatminerz remixes are legendary. Are there any remixes you might have done that for, whatever reason, were never released, or any favorites that you’ve done in the past?
Baby Paul: Oh, absolutely!! I did a remix for D’Angelo’s single, “Left & Right” featuring Meth & Red that was CRAZY!! I was being managed by Patrick Moxey at the time who was over at Virgin Records. The only reason they shelved the remix was the follow up single, “How Does It Feel” took off so the label chose not to invest anymore marketing in the 1st single. I also did a serious remix for John Legend’s very first single, “Used to Love U” and got my homie Consequence to lay an exclusive verse for it and the exact same thing happened – the follow up single, “Ordinary People” took off so Kanye’s label decided not to put out any remixes. Thankfully, I put out both remixes myself so they can be heard on my mixtape album, “Undaground Veteran 1.5″ out now for free download at: www.coast2coastmixtapes.com.
HHS: You were attached to one of my favorite tracks – Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka. That track, in terms of a posse cut, is up there with the best of them. What was it like being in the studio, working with so many talented Duck Down artists?
Baby Paul: Yo, true story?! That record was a JOB to put together!! Imagine having all these mc’s with bars for days spitting over your beat, then having to sit in the studio and try to find the best lines to condense the performances into a real song structure so it can be listenable and short enough in playing time to be on the radio?! It was a lil’ pressure trying not to hurt anyone’s egos cutting their verses down, but it worked out and the rest is history!!
HHS: You broke off from Da Beatminerz in 2001 to work and produce tracks on your own. Did you want the ability to get in the studio and really create your own sound, instead of working under the Da Beatminerz banner? I’m guessing there might be some limitations when working with a group of producers…
Baby Paul: Actually, it was a tough time for me the year I left Da Beatminerz. I was frustrated, for many reasons. Between feeling creatively stagnant with the music I was making at the time as well as the problems that came with trying to deliver a solid project to Rawkus Records for the “Brace 4 Impak” album we were working on for over a year back then. Walt and Evil are brothers, so when it came to the creative direction musically for that album, as well as certain business decisions I got caught in between business and friendship. Once we completed and turned in the album for Rawkus, I felt the best thing for me at that time was to seek my own path and be on my own, which eventually worked out for me. I wish Da Beatminerz well to this day, I will always acknowledge and respect the history we made together in the 90′s era of hip-hop.
HHS: Tell me more about this mixtape you’re working on with Monie Love. It’s called “Sisterhood Of The Travelling Mic”.
Baby Paul: Yes!! Shout out to tha homie, Monie Love who has been a dear friend of mine for some time. She approached me to help her put together a mixtape series specifically dedicated to showcase the talents of fem-cees past, present and future. So I kinda A&R’d and helped her mix it, picking submissions from various artists once the word got out of what she was doing. This is Monie’s brand, and will be a continuous series of mixtapes that will lead to events, & maybe even a compilation album. The first volume will feature music from a variety of fem-cees from various markets like: Eternia, Rapsody, Amil, Gangsta Boo, Shawnna, Sweet Tee, La Femme Nikita and others.
HHS: I know you’re working on the new AZ album “Doe Or Die 2″ which will be released later this year. What’s it like getting in the studio with a guy like that?
Baby Paul: First off big shout to tha homie AZ, we been collaborating on his albums ever since I worked on the “Aziatic” album & did “The Essence” featuring Nas. AZ is super cool, like on some Fonzie shit! (laughs) He knows what he wants to do by the time he enters the studio, he has his plan of attack and rhymes ready to go. The key is finding the right soundscape that best suits what he’s looking to express, which is where the work is.
I like to switch my music style up, like a chameleon which at times throws AZ for a loop, which is cool cuz I believe in challenging work. If we did the same thing over and over and became predictable, that would be boring and the fans won’t appreciate that. So the goal is to stay fresh and relevant, yet still keep it classic so we maintain the respect we’ve built from our past work.
HHS: Do you feel any pressure producing on a sequel like that with the comparisons that will be made to the original work?
Baby Paul: Oh no, not at ALL!! I’m very confident in what we both bring to the table, I KNOW we already have some joints that will BANG this time around. It’s moreso about not staying stuck in the past, focusing on the right material that stands the test of time from here ON, so the fans can appreciate it and go back to it years from now the same way they reflect on what was recorded on the first album. This time around AZ will have songs that are food for thought yet entertaining, and also performance ready for the TOURS in the future!!
HHS: What’s next for you, besides your work with Monie Love and AZ?
Baby Paul: What am I NOT working on?! I have been going HARD!! (laughs) I started my label imprint, Divine Order Entertainment aka “D.O.E.” which is my homebase for all my future projects. I currently have a mixtape album out called, “Undaground Veteran 1.5″ which is a collection of some of my catalogue along with previously unrleased exclusives & remixes, available for FREE download at: www.coast2coastmixtapes.com. I’m also working with a pop/rock band, named FatKid Dodgeball from Columbus, Ohio. as a co-exec producer the band has an album coming soon called “Admission of Guilt”. The first single, “Favorite Fix” is available now on iTunes, their website is: www.fatkiddodgeball.com. I’m also working with a southern hip-hop/reggae artist named Mikey Bloodshot, from West Palm Beach/Miami Florida. We been working on songs for a few years now, he’s already collaborated with the likes of: Mavado, Dj Khaled, Rick Ross and others. He’s got a few incredible mixtapes out available for download at: coast2coastmixtapes.com & datpiff.com. We have a street album in the works and the first single, “P4P” aka Pound 4 Pound is dropping later this summer. Check out Mikey Bloodshot at: www.myspace.com/mikeybloodshot. I am also appearing as an actor in an independent film called, “Ex$pendable” which I also contributed to the score. The film co-stars; Taral Hicks, Sundy Carter, Omillio Sparks, Gary Sturgis, Gillie Da Kid, others and will be available on DVD in the fall, then hit cable tv. Trailer link: http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi880804377/
HHS: Wow Paul, you stay busy!! Thank you so much for taking the time.
Baby Paul: Thanks for having me – I appreciate it!! Everybody trying to reach me can hit me up on my network links: twitter.com/bpzy facebook.com/babypaul myspace.com/babypaulbpzy
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