Prince Paul occupies rare space in hip-hop. A record-chopping prodigy both in-the-flesh and on-the-boards, the NYC DJ-turned-producer was a natural fit as the man on the wheels of steel for hip-hop’s first band, Stetsasonic. He’d go on to redefine sampling and the genre altogether with De La Soul as the producer of the group’s first three albums, borrowing sounds from funk and soul’s luminary and unsung alike.
Some of these are as seemingly obvious as the gamut of Parliament anthems or Holy Grail breaks like “Impeach The President” or “Hihache.” But Paul’s archive pushed hip-hop out of its baby years and into its peace-funk-and-hair-grease adolescence. The D.A.I.S.Y Age. And just like an unruly teen, nothing was above reproach. Lush orchestral psychedelia via late-sixties Turtles albums, side-splitting barbs from a Richard Pryor routine, movie score magic a la Lalo Schifrin, even contemporaries like Ice Cube, The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy or Biz Markie were all fair game. Scholarly explorations of eras, realms, and textures that laid foundation for relentless (and fearless) producers that would pick up right where he left off in the eternal search for the perfect beat.
And so, on the legend’s 50th born day, we proudly salute him with some of our own dirty work. We’ve compiled nearly the entirety of his samples (yes, even Spotify has its limits) into one massive 25-hour playlist that spans his career as a co-pilot to crew classics and his own brilliant solo material that followed. Celebrate Prince Paul’s genius with our latest installment of The Cheat Sheet below. Jump back to explore the sample archives of J Dilla and Dr. Dre.