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PRINCE PO: 'Exactly! I grew up with all types of people but I have met people out here who are some of the best neighbors anyone could have. I actually sat down and had conversations with them. They never grew up with Black people. I can't expect them to know everything or not say some things that may be offensive because they grew up in a certain part of Texas where there weren't any Black people. It's my job and my duty to educate them because I don't want them running around thinking that all we do is say, 'Yo! Yo! What's up B?', grab our nuts, and wear our hats sideways all the time.' When I see white kids wearing their hats sideways and talking that way, I can't tell them not to do that because they could have grown up doing that. It didn't come up from Black culture. It came from hip-hop culture, which is color-blind.'
T.JONES: 'Tell us about this new solo album coming out?'
PRINCE PO: 'I produced a lot of stuff on it. There's not just me though. I have Jazimoto, who is a female. My group, GBG did beats too. I get beats from The Beat Junkies, Rhettmatic, everybody. Everywhere I go, I get beat CDs. It's becoming so crazy that everybody I speak to is doing beats. I would say that 60% of the entire universe is involved in hip-hop culture in one form or another. I'm not hating on it, but it is getting out of hand. I miss talking to people who want to be lawyers or doctors. That's where it is getting a little tasteless. Everybody is doing beats. I got four beat CDs up in the Bay Area. Out of the four, only one of the shits are dope. The other three are horrible. I don't give a fuck how they feel about it. The shit is horrible. But at the same time, those dudes may be able to fix a car, build an engine, or create the next invention that makes life easier. Everybody has to find what they can specialize in. Every human is a specialist, but everybody is not made to do music or do beats. Ten years ago, everybody was trying to get into the N.B.A. and play basketball. Now, everybody's rapping. I may call my mom and she may tell me that she's rapping now. It's getting out of hand. Nobody wants to be a lawyer, doctor, or a specialist. I try to comb through what is creative. If don't think it is creative, I throw that shit in the garbage. I'm not going to come to New Jersey and fix your car. I can change oil and take it to get a tune up, but I cannot fix a car. I can respect that. If I take it to Funkmaster Flex and he starts talking about engines, he will be the one to educate me. I know a little but I don't know all of that shit. Everyone has to find where they belong and find their position in life. A lot of these motherfuckers should not be making beats! One of these shits, I threw it away and got so mad because he wasted his time going to get equipment. The music thing comes from a natural existence of where you were born.'
T.JONES: 'The final Organized Konfusion LP, 'The Equinox' was released on Priority Records. What happened with Priority Records?'
PRINCE PO: 'They gave us a deal and knew that we needed promotion and attention. It was all good at first, but people started going on vacation. I realized that Master P sold hundreds of thousands of records on his own. Priority was a street record label to me. They weren't respecting us coming there as humble men who wanted to do business. They only respected us when we shouted and wanted to choke somebody for not doing their job. Our job was done by going into the studio and pouring out our fucking hearts. Our job was to make dope music for people all over the world. In the middle of the project, the contract ended with the distribution situation. You can't sign a contract with a record label unless you find out what their distribution is like. Two weeks after the LP came out, Priority loses their distribution deal. Then, we had to wait through the process of getting a new distribution deal to pick up. During that time, we found out that the record wasn't even in the stores. Then, we found out that the head of promotions was on vacation for three weeks! Then, the street promotion people didn't have anyone to guide them on what they had to do. I'm an artist! I'm not supposed to teach cats how to promote the record, what stores the record should be in, and how many spins we get on the radio. I'm an artist. That doesn't mean I have to coordinate the other side of the project. We asked them for a release and they gave it to us. They didn't do the job that they were supposed to.'
T.JONES: 'Did you think 'The Equinox' LP was misunderstood?'
PRINCE PO: 'I think it was misunderstood because people didn't get a chance to see it for what it was. We did some powerful things. We did the Vibe television show. BET and MTV gave us support. At the time, record labels wanted to hire outside companies to do other shit. The labels didn't want to do the footwork to get the money. That's cool, because that's what it's all about. Get the money. When you hire other corporations to do that and your distribution is fucked up, it gets tricky. We were a group who busted our asses. We slept in the parking lot of BET because Priority didn't have hotel rooms for us. We knew what we had to do. Still, artists can't sell a record any more than what the record label wants to sell. 'The Equinox' was misunderstood. It just didn't get a chance to live like it should have.'
T.JONES: 'What advice would you give to someone coming up in the music industry?'
PRINCE PO: 'Get on the grind for what you know. Nobody owes you shit! Stop thinking that just because your block told you that you are dope, the industry is supposed to let you in. It doesn't go that way. You have to walk your dogs. Monch and I would actually read the back of records and then, go to the labels. You can't do that anymore. You have to find a new way of doing it. Be determined and believe in yourself. If you really feel that you are dope and have something to offer the game, do it. And please, stop writing like everybody else! I heard the shit already! Come out with some shit that no one has heard before! Try to be creative and original. All that recycling shit is done with. There are 5 million rappers all over the fucking world. Give the people something different. Say something, whether it is a message, if it is encouragement, or even if you are pissed off and have to vent. Listen to other people's shit so you don't sound like them. Give them an ear so you can be a creative person. Do what you believe in. If you believe in yourself and have talent, go for it, but please, offer something different to the hip-hop community, so it can continue to grow. Touching Black did a song called 'Asphalt', which is for the skaters. This is not for the motherfuckers in a Benz who like their chains. This is for skaters who like hip-hop. He just talks about how skaters love what they do. He talks about how gangsters have it twisted because these skaters have gats in their knapsack with extra clips for extra picks. You have skaters, bikers, b-boys who break, graffiti artists, and more. All of those are part of hip-hop. If we don't continue to build, then hip-hop should die. Hip-hop will never die as long as we continue to do it how it was done in the first place. That means being creative and being original. Organized Konfusion didn't sound like A Tribe Called Quest. Leaders Of The New School didn't sound like Black Sheep. We all did shows together and broke bread together. It was friendly competition. There was love! Even if we didn't have Busta on the album, we could still sit with him, break bread, smile, laugh, and talk because we were all contributors to the hip-hop culture.'
T.JONES: 'You did some non-hip-hop collaborations?'
PRINCE PO: 'One of my neighbors, Chaz West, sings with the drummer from Black Sabbath, and a guitarist from ZZ Top. We collaborated and did this rock song called, 'I Got A Right To Know'. It sounds a little like 'Why' by Jadakiss. I'm asking these questions like, 'Why do I have to say that I'm African-American on an application?' At the end of the application, it says that the company is an equal opportunity employer. If you are an equal opportunity employer, what difference does it make what color I am? Jada did asked a lot of important questions on his song. I had an idea similar to that and decided to do it anyway. It's still different. In Jada's hook, they are singing 'Why?'. In my hook, Chaz is sings, 'I got a right to know'. That's why I'm asking these questions. I do have a right to know. Large Professor did the track.'
T.JONES: 'Madlib produced a couple of tracks on 'The Slickness' LP. How is Madlib different from some of the other producers?'
PRINCE PO: 'Madlib is a very eclectic dude. This dude loves working with me. I never had to ask him for beats. He'd give me a beat CD with 30 or 40 beats and it was hard to pick only 2 or 3 songs from them. He's a very eclectic dude. I only worked in the studio with him once. He did 3 songs on 'The Slickness' album and I only was in the studio with him once. That lets you know something. It's just weird. He's not weird. It's a weird situation. I'm usually a hands-on person when I'm working with producers. Also, I don't like to force shit. I like things to be natural. If he's naturally not working with anybody, personally except for people, like J Dilla and Oh No, let it be. In the future, that may stop. He'll get his ass in the studio with me. He ain't going to tell me that he's a fan of my music and I'm a fan of his while we are playing this cute tip-toe around thing. We're going to meet up. We have to get in there together, build, and feel each other out. That's the way hip-hop is supposed to be.'
T.JONES: 'What were some songs that made you fall in love with hip-hop?'
PRINCE PO: 'The song, 'One Love' by Whodini. Also, 'Five Minutes Of Funk'. I loved a lot of songs on Run-Dmc's 'Raising Hell' album. Spoonie G, Kool Moe Dee's 'Feel The Heartbeat'. That whole park jam era when I was a kid.'
T.JONES: 'Word association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said 'Public Enemy', you may say, 'Revolution' or 'Fight The Power'.'
PRINCE PO: 'Right.'
T.JONES: 'Del The Funkie Homosapian.'
PRINCE PO: 'Mr. Bob Dobalina.'
T.JONES: 'Phife Dawg.'
PRINCE PO: 'The 5 Footer. He's a dope live performer!'
PRINCE PO: '8 Mile.'
T.JONES: 'Pharoahe Monch.'
PRINCE PO: 'Agent Orange.'
T.JONES: 'Wu-Tang Clan.'
PRINCE PO: 'Loyalty.'
PRINCE PO: 'Eclectic but forgotten.'
PRINCE PO: 'Realness.'
T.JONES: 'Curtis Mayfield.'
PRINCE PO: 'Superfly.'
T.JONES: 'Marvin Gaye.'
PRINCE PO: 'Trouble Man.'
PRINCE PO: 'Jhalil. I love him to death, my brother.'
T.JONES: 'Smokey Robinson.'
PRINCE PO: 'The Apollo.'
PRINCE PO: 'Times Up.'
PRINCE PO: 'One of the most eclectic dudes I have ever met in my life.'
T.JONES: 'De La Soul.'
PRINCE PO: 'I love all of them, especially Mase.'
PRINCE PO: 'Touring together.'
T.JONES: 'George Bush.'
PRINCE PO: 'Confused and greedy.'
T.JONES: 'What was 'The Extinction Agenda'?'
PRINCE PO: 'It's basically like the new world order.'
T.JONES: 'What was the song 'Thirteen' about?'
PRINCE PO: 'It wasn't about shit. 13 was Monch's favorite number. 8 was my favorite number. If you listen to the song's numbers, Monch is number 13 and I'm number 8. We even had jackets like a football team with our favorite numbers on the arm. 13 was his favorite number and his personal song for the album. We decided to do separate songs for the album and do something different. It's dope. I love that song.'
T.JONES: 'What is next for Prince Po?'
PRINCE PO: 'I'm working on the 'Pretty Black' album. I have an artist named Touch Em Blak with the 'Asphalt' song. 'The Lost Scrolls' will be out in the stores hopefully after September. I'm putting it out by myself if I have to. I'm doing this totally independent. I'm looking for a distribution company who thinks I'm worthy to work with them. A lot of distribution companies front. A lot of these independent record labels are becoming like these majors. They are becoming really funny about who they sign. Some people are still keeping real with the eclectic shit. But, some are only doing things with certain people. It's getting funny style with some of these indie labels. I'm just trying to put out records, move people, and move units. It's love. We take it back to the street. I make them run up on cats, spit on them, and just hit em in the head. DJ's? Promo directors? I smash them with the shit that is supposed to be played. I'm working on GBG's shit. They're just about finished. Everybody's working on shit. I'm working close with everybody.'
T.JONES: 'Any final words?'
PRINCE PO: 'I think the interview went great, man. You asked me some real interesting questions. It's dope. You asked some real creative and different questions, which is dope! Final words? I just want my fans to know that I love them to death and I didn't go nowhere! I feel like I owe them much more than records. I owe them the proof that I'm sitting down and doing my homework. I thank them so much for supporting me. I don't give a shit about anybody else except for the people who not only support the records, but live and understand what we are trying to do. They know life is ups and downs. You have 'Maintain' and you have 'Let's Organize'. It went back and forth. I want my fans to know that it will be a long time before I am done. I have much more coming!'
THANK YOU PRINCE PO!!!
Interview by Todd E. Jones aka New Jeru Poet
NOTICE: This interview is property of Todd E. Jones and cannot be duplicated or posted without written permission.