Exclusive: The platinum producer compares working on "Doe or Die 2" to his work on Nas' "Stillmatic," explains leaving Da Beatminerz.
As producer for such songs at Heltah Skeltah
's "Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka" and Nas
' "Destroy & Rebuild," New York's Baby Paul is an enduring Rap veteran. Speaking with HipHopDX late Wednesday night, Paul revealed that he's hard at work with longtime collaborator AZ
on his 2010 Doe or Die
sequel. "Well, first off, big shout to AZ. Homie is a survivor and one of the greatest of New York's emcees that came from the '90s era in Hip Hop. It's been an honor to play an integral role in his career over the years, after having made history working with Nas on Stillmatic
, then making history with both
of them together on AZ's Aziatic
album, which earned us all a Grammy nomination," said Baby Paul. He continued, "I recently re-mixed 'The Essence,' with great response for my mixtape album, Undaground Veteran 1.5
which is a collection of a lot of my released and unreleased work, available for download at Coast2coastmixtapes.com
. It shows how timeless the work remains to this day, and I'm extremely thankful for that."
Having worked on Nas' first sequel-minded release, Paul drew parallels between the two early collaborators. "AZ has shown undeniable consistency in terms of the integrity and quality of his music, and continues to showcase his lyricism which his true fans appreciate." He added, "This next album, Doe or Die 2 will be his Stillmatic...alpha and omega places like Nas said in his album intro."
Although AZ told DX several months ago that he was hopeful for contributions from Kanye West and Dr. Dre, several platinum producers are already on board with the Brooklyn emcee's underway LP. "It's going to be exciting to see the outcome of this album, AZ's already reached out to Pete Rock
, Buckwild, who have both worked on [Doe or Die
], and lots of other known producers have reached out and offered to contribute music. AZ makes the final call at the end of the day, aside from my music contribution, I help him situate the records that best suit his vision for the album. Stay tuned for another classic album from AZ before the end of 2010."
Baby Paul is also working with several new artists, through his own imprint. "I have always been a forward-thinking individual, which at times has been to my benefit and other times to my detriment, what I call 'future shock.' Sometimes people are not ready for what's ahead, they want what's now or they're stuck in the past. I've always been about what's new or what's next in terms of music and artists. I started my label imprint in 2006, Divine Order Entertainment, which is my home-base for all my projects."
Several years ago, Baby Paul was representing a hopeful from yesteryear, who he says, still has star potential. "I signed Amil
, formerly of Roc-A-Della records in 2007, and did a joint-venture deal with Babygrande Records to release a prjct. However the album got shelved due to budget issues from Babygrande which lead to irreconcilable differences. Amil released a mixtape online called Amil Returns
and is currently featured on the first volume of veteran female Rap artist/radio personality, Monie Love's fem-cee mixtape series, Sisterhood of the Traveling Mic
coming out in June. Amil is still a dear friend of mine, and is still writing and recording music, which will eventually reach her true fans when the time is right."
Additional Baby Paul/D.O.E. acts include some versatility to the Hip Hop producer's repertoire. "I'm currently working with an artist out of Florida named Mikey Bloodshot, he's a southern Hip Hop artist with a strong Reggae influence, his family origin is from the West Indies so he can rap, sing, and chant like a Dancehall artist. Mikey had a record out on the streets in 2009 called 'Backyard' with Reggae artist, Mavado that was ridiculous. I've been working with him for a few years helping to develop his sound and his artistry, now we intend to see if the world is ready for him. Stay tuned for a street single called 'P4P (Pound 4 Pound)' to hit this summer and a street album to follow."
Paul continued, "I have also been working with a Pop/Rock band out of Columbus, Ohio for the past year named Fatkid Dodgeball. They are a talented four-man band who write their own songs and play their own music. I was referred to them by my business partner/manager, Marc Smilow, and stepped in as a co-exec producer with a mutual associate from MTV Networks who manages them. Their upcoming album is called, Admission of Guilt, and their first single, 'Favorite Fix' has gotten a great response on Internet and college radio. The single is available now on iTunes."
The former Beatminerz producer added that he's making a foray into acting. "I also co-starred in and contributed to the score of an upcoming independent film shot entirely in Philadelphia called Ex$pendable
, which co-stars Omillio Sparks and Sundy Carter of State Property
, Taral Hicks of Belly
, Gary Sturgis who's been in Tyler Perry's films, as well as Gillie Da Kid
, [and] others. The film is due on DVD in the fall, then should hit cable television programming afterwards."
Speaking of Da Beatminerz, Baby Paul was asked about his years with the longtime sound of The Boot Camp Clik, led by blood brothers Evil Dee and Mr. Walt. "I got my start with Da Beatminerz as a patron of the infamous record store in Jamaica Queens, The Music Factory, where I met Mr. Walt, who used to help run the store before beginning his career in music with his brother, Evil Dee."
The record store homies shared an insider's passion for the Rap culture. "I used to hang with Walt in the store bringing advance copies of the latest in Hip Hop at that time, which I acquired while interning at Power Play Studios in Long Island City, which is how I met Kool G Rap
, Large Professor
, Eric B. & Rakim
, others. My forward-thinking and passion for Hip Hop music is how Walt and I bonded and started hanging outside of the record store."
Paul recalls the duo making one of their many hits with Black Moon in the early '90s. "I met Evil and Buckshot while they demo'd 'Who Got The Props' in the basement of the Dewgarde family's house in Bushwick, which eventually became Black Moon's first hit record with the help of DJ Chuck Chillout. The rest became history."
Joining the production troop happened circa 1994, when Da Beatminerz focused on projects outside of Evil's group, Black Moon. "I didn't get to work officially on Black Moon's [Enta Da Stage
] album as a credited producer, but I shared ideas. It was when Smif-n-Wessun
's [Dah Shinin'
] project came about that Steele of Smif-n-Wessun took a liking to my work while in D&D Studios and asked me to give him some beats I played on a small radio in the studio that I got the opportunity to produce music. I will always credit Steele for my first real opportunity, big shout to him."
Paul states that when the then-quintet began working on their official debut release, he wanted to choose friendship over business. "Leaving Da Beatminerz was one of the hardest decisions of my career back in 2001. It was a bittersweet year for me. we were signed to Rawkus Records and working on the Brace 4 Impak album, which was a compilation project to showcase all our individual talents as well as deliver what could have considerably been a classic Hip Hop album. We had a lot of challenges during the recording process: the label politics, issues with artist and sample clearances [and] budget constraints. All of these things happening forced a wedge between myself, Evil and Walt, who are blood brothers. So I ended up on the outside fence when it came to conflicts in decision-making."
He elaborated, "I felt creatively stagnant as well, we had different visions in terms of the music production during the making of the album which became extremely stressful for me, so I sought refuge by time the album was finally done and coming out which was almost a year-plus process. I just removed myself completely from everyone and everything before I got to the point of spazzing out completely and ruining our business at hand. Within that same year, thanks to a hard grind and some serious networking I got the opportunity to work on Nas' Stillmatic album. I never looked back since."
Paul extends respect and warmth to his former band-mates, who remain active as deejays and prroducers. "To this day, I wish Evil Dee and Mr. Walt all the success in the world, I think since those days, we have all continued to do well for ourselves. I'm greatful for all my experiences with Da Beatminerz it taught me a whole lot, it was my college for the music business. I have no hate whatsoever for them, and respect the relationship we had and the histroy we made together. A good example of my relationship with Da Beatminerz back then is the Gang Starr
's song, 'B.I. vs. Friendship.'"
The veteran closed in saying, "Speaking of which, I'd like to send a 'rest in peace' to the late, great Guru of Gang Starr. Salute!"