At just about the same time the Beastie
Boys released Licensed
to Ill, Prince Paul Huston was beginning his recording
career. In 1986 Paul joined Stetsasonic, and acted as the
groups sixth member and DJ. As was the case with many
early hip-hop acts, the DJ would also moonlight as producer.
So while the Beastie Boys were resting up after the endless
Licensed to Ill tour, Paul was sharpening his production
skills on Stetsasonics In Full Gear LP. At
this point, the Beastie Boys and Prince Paul were worlds
apart. Yet, when Prince Paul teamed up with 3rd
Bass, the two forces would be engaged in head to head
Not only did Pauls
Boutique have to compete with 3rd Basss
The Cactus Album (1989), it also had to go up against
De La Souls platinum
selling 1989 masterpiece 3 Feet High And Rising.
Having grown up in the same Amityville, Long Island neighborhood
as Prince Paul did, it made sense that De La Souls
Kelvin Mercer, David Jolicoeur, and Vincent Mason, Jr. would
have Paul produce their 1989 album. On 3 Feet High And
Rising, Prince Paul used nearly the same sampling technique
that the Dust Brothers had
used on Pauls Boutique. Whereas the Dust Brothers
were using samples extracted from previously recorded pop
music albums, Prince Paul went on to use samples from children's
records. To this day, many Beastie Boys fan cite Three
Feet High and Rising as the only album that can be considered
on par with Pauls Boutique.
After having experienced commercial
success, Prince Paul decided that he could better capitalize
on his talent by starting his own label. The thought may
have been, "Why make money for other labels, when I
could be making money for my own label?" Things did
not work out though, and Paul later aborted the deal for
his label, Dew Dew Man Records. Paul's disillusionment with
and distrust of record industry drove him to seek out groups
and projects that were more compatible with his own musical
visions. The Beastie Boys song "Root Down"
which paid homage to New Yorks old school hip-hop
scene fit that bill exactly. Thus, on the 1995 Root Down
EP you can find the long overdue Prince Paul Balloon
Remix. Also on the Beastie Boys Video Anthology DVD, one
may select "Prince Pauls Balloon Remix"
as the backing track to the "Root Down" music
video. Either way, you have the two rap legends reunited
as collaborators not as competitors.