Paris Interview (by A to the L)
One of the early to mid-90’s most radical and politicised rappers, Paris has been out of the limelight since his last release “Unleashed” dropped in 1998. However, The man who caused many an uncomfortable moment for the last Republican president is now back on the scene, and already pissed at Bush Junior’s attempt to play “big man”, both at home and abroad. With a thought provoking new single, ‘What Would You Do?’ already set to make those in power uncomfortable, Paris intends to keep hitting his targets with his new album, “Sonic Jihad”. I recently had a chance to fire some questions at P, and this is how it all went down…
First off, where have you been for the last few years? The last thing I remember was the “Unleashed” joint…
Paris: I’ve been heavily involved in investment banking since about 1997. “Unleashed” is my least-favorite record, as it lacked focus. My new LP, “Sonic Jihad”, is my most comprehensive project to date – world class tracks with conscious lyrics. Folks who know me won’t be disappointed.
Did you ever think of pursuing any work in the production end of things? (After all your track record with your own shit, and Conscious Daughters is pretty impressive.)
Paris: Thank you. I really only want to do production with people who will help me grow musically at this point. I’ve still got a funk jones and love live instrumentation. We’ll see.
The new track ‘What Would U Do?’ is dope, and actually a bit eerie in the way you hooked up those Bush samples at the start. How did you come up with that idea?
Paris: Thank you again. That idea came to me because that’s what THEY do in the media – report with bias. It’s the same concept as splicing in “street dancing” celebrations of Muslims after the WTC attacks. It’s counter-propaganda propaganda. It can be heard and downloaded here: http://www.daveyd.com/paristrack.mp3
You also open up the track with a play on PE’s “Black Steel” lyrics. Today’s Hiphop audience sadly seem to have pushed “conscious” and “thought provoking” lyrics to the background in favour of watered down thug shit. Its resulted in PE, KRS etc losing a little of their relevancy to today’s crowds… how do you plan to overcome this?
Paris: Good product always overcomes adversity if it is presented correctly. I paid homage to PE because the message that they put out helped inspire me to do this in the first place. The message is absolutely relevant today – much more so than ever before. The insinuation that it isn’t detracts from it’s importance.
You seemed to make a major shift music-wise on “Guerrilla Funk”, and I think I remember you saying at the time that if people were feeling the whole G-Funk vibe, then thats what you would use to get your message across. In my opinion, “Guerrilla Funk” was criminally slept on, and I think a large part of that was due to the fact that although you were both rhyming over funk breaks, Dre & Snoop etc were pushing party anthems, while you were trying to kick some knowledge. At the time, I personally felt that this was because Hiphop was moving into a more (dare I say?) “ignorant” phase. What’s your view?
Paris: I always like to try new things musically. Sometimes my ideas work, and sometimes they don’t. Everything is cyclical, moving from positive to negative and back again. I’m definitely on a more structured page now, in that I want consistency in all of my new material. I’m paying very close attention the the sonic quality of the mixes and to the concepts being presented. This will be my best LP to date, hands-down.
Lets talk about the album. “Sonic Jihad” as a title will instantly be viewed as “inflammatory” by many sections of the media. Is this an intentional “red rag to a bull”?
Paris: “Sonic Jihad” is my version of raging righteous warfare against injustice. It’s intended to inflame because it goes against all that we currently are told in the media day in and day out.
Judging from ‘What Would U Do’, you haven’t lost your knack for opening peoples’ eyes up to alternative views – the line about Giuliani and Diallo is a perfect example… what’s in store for the rest of the album? What subjects are you touching on?
Paris: Thanks again. I love to push the envelope and hit folks with things they might not consider. This album will cover a variety of topics – from the War on Terror to classism to music politics to the current state of hip hop. Many things.
Following on from above, is now the time for a ‘Bush Killa Part 2’? (Your prime target is back in office after all!)
Paris: He’s too easy! The thing about ‘Bush Killa’ is that part of it’s relevancy was diminished because it was a revenge fantasy. Nobody was actually trying to KILL him, rather, it was a way to address his administration’s ongoing lack of commitment to my community and the devastating impact that it had on people of color worldwide. The new LP has no element of fantasy to it. It’s all real. There is nothing in ‘What Would You Do?’ that indicates any type of violent “made-up” revenge, yet, to me at least, it is a much more powerful record because it’s all true.
How about production on the album – did you handle that all yourself? And what about guest appearances?
Paris: I’m doing it all. Kam is on it thus far, with perhaps more to follow. I will keep others input to a minimum, however, because I don’t want a “compilation”-type of feel.
Speaking of guest appearances and collabs, how come with you and Boots both being from around the same area, and talking on the same kinds of topics, that we’ve never seen a collab between you both?
Paris: We may sooner than you think! That’s my folks.
How do you think the situations in Afghanistan and the Middle East are going to pan out? Do you think the US underestimated the resolve of the Taliban and their affiliates, and do you think they’ve made a major mistake by announcing their intentions towards Iraq?
Paris: I have no idea. The US backs Israel and is very pro-Israel in it’s media coverage, so we’ll see. Since I believe all of this so-called terrorism was manufactured (see my thoughts here: http://www.daveyd.com/FullArticles\articleN1046.asp) I don’t believe that the US underestimated anything – it’s all according to plan. It’s now open season on any country we wish to demonize.
Do you ever feel uneasy, or worried about the stuff you’re saying? By that I mean that you’re quite open about your anti-government stance – do you ever feel that you might get a visit from the FBI or CIA one day in their quest to eliminate dissenters?
Paris: I always feel uneasy, always paranoid because I know the time. That won’t stop me from speaking on things that need to be addressed, though.
How do you feel the internet has affected:
1) The music industry?
2) The news industry?
(After all in terms of news and music, you can usually find WHATEVER you’re looking for online, which means the tired old cliches both industries come with each time, can be challenged with easily accessible alternative viewpoints)
Paris: On the music side of things, it hasn’t, really. Only single sales, and then only to a certain extent. The internet is cool to reach a lot of people in a hurry. File sharing is not really that big of a deal because 90+% of people online dial-up. Do you know how hard it is to file share w/dial-up access? Better pack a lunch. It is good, however, for keeping me in touch with my listeners. As for news on the internet – I love it because I can get a wealth of information from many different sources. I can also share points of view with people I might not otherwise have contact with.
With your economics degree and business experience, can we expect to see you reaching out and helping other artists come through the record business to sign deals where their careers are put first before the record companies start to take their cuts?
Paris: I would if I could. The sad part is that most artists don’t want help and think their business should be kept private. I’ve already helped a lot of people in the financial arena. I’m easily accessible, so again, we’ll see.
Final questions – when exactly does the album drop? And why should we pick it up?
Paris: I’m looking for a mid to late summer release. You should pick it up because it is timely, relevant, the music will be BOMB and the lyrics will be intelligent. If you like the single ‘What Would You Do?’ then you’ll love the full length album, “Sonic Jihad”. Thanks again for taking the time to holla at me…. And thank you for providing me with a voice.
Thanks again to Paris for taking part.