Hip-Hop is a two-lane highway. In the fast lane are the emcees, who command attention, respect and popularity from listeners and fans. The producers and deejays, on the other hand, sit back in the slower right lane, twisting knobs and creating samples behind the scenes. They're not as often rewarded with fame and popularity, but hip-hop would have never progressed without them.
And Prince Paul is one of the producers who is most responsible for hip-hop's progression. He broke new ground with his production on De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising (1989), created one of the greatest producer/emcee collaborations with Gravediggaz, and won more commercial success with his work in Handsome Boy Modeling School alongside Dan the Automator. His modus operandi has always been to create highly creative collaborations and albums, not all of which were as great as his 1999 hip-hopera A Prince Among Thieves.
Hip-Hop Gold Dust is a collection of unreleased tracks and rarities from Paul's catalogue of work with different emcees throughout the '90s. It's a fairly cohesive album, thanks to the strong beats and Paul's distinctive cut-up production style. From unreleased tracks such as De La Soul's "My Mindstate" to forgotten tracks such as "Top of the Hill" by unsung groups such as Grove B Chill, Gold Dust is a history class in the old school. In true Prince Paul form, there are plenty of skits between tracks - featuring the likes of Flava Flav, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle - to keep the randomness flowing.
It's hard to ignore Hip-Hop Gold Dust's rather abstract selection of easily licensable tracks as a ploy to sell records before the end of the year. Intentions aside, Hip-Hop Gold Dust is a solid collection of Prince Paul's music and another testament to the vast difference between hip-hop today and hip-hop ten years ago. The simpler beats and playful samples are almost therapeutic.
'Hip-Hop Gold Dust' on Antidoterecords.com
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