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Prince Paul

'Business' Major

PrinceConcept albums are often tricky fare, especially in hip-hop. However, veteran producer Prince Paul has been able to create his own niche with his hip-hop-driven concept pieces. He takes on the music industry this week with "Politics of the Business," his debut for Razor & Tie.

The set is tongue-in-cheek commentary on the state of the industry. A follow-up of sorts to his critically acclaimed "Prince Among Thieves" (Tommy Boy), Politics features a variety of veteran MCs and newcomers, including De La Soul's Trugoy, Gang Starr, Kardinal Offishall, Masta Ace, the Beatnuts, and Black Ice.

"After 'Prince Among Thieves,' the label said, 'Despite the critical acclaim, we can't sell this record, because you have no single,'" Prince Paul recalls. "I remember feeling bad. The rebellious side in me said, 'Oh, that's what you want? Then that's what I'm going to give you.' I decided to get a whole bunch of guest artists and [make] this real cheesy keyboard music. This was in 2000. What's really wild is that the label folded before I could put it out. So the joke was on me in the end, but that was the whole concept. Plus I figured it would be fun to mimic those styles."