HHD: Tell us about working with AZ on his upcoming album “Do or Die 2” that’s due to be released before the end of the year?
We’ve been touring doing shows overseas and in Canada. We recorded a mix tape prequel to the album, its called “Feel My Pain” produced by Frank Dukes out of Canada. Its kind of like a teaser before the album comes out. The album has pending production from myself, Pete Rock, Buckwild and a few other producers that worked on the previous album. Havoc, Large Professor and a few others reached out to work on the album. We received a lot of love and support. He’s going to leak another song in about another week, I don’t want to put a title out there yet because it may change, but he’s definetly going to put one out. After he releases his album he plans on doing more work on his label Quiet Money records. He plans on releasing some music from a few artists he’s been working with. They’re mainly hip hop artists, one is a songwriter as well.
HHD: How do your production skills differ on this album as opposed to your work on his critically acclaimed album Aziatic, in which the single Aziatic received a Grammy nomination?
It was great to work with AZ and Nas, shout out to Nas. The interesting thing is they actually did another record together called “Serious” but it was never released commercially. As far as the production my contribution is much more progressive, the arrangements are a lot different. I am also in the process of nurturing new talent, people who share my vision as well so its definetly a team effort. This album is definetly going to be exciting, definetly a classic.
HHD: You credit Steele of Smif-n-Wessun for giving you your first opportunity to produce music. What was the first song you produced?
Wow, I’m glad you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been putting out there *chuckling*. The name of the first song I did commercially was “Recognize”. The original version, was actually one of Smif-n-Wessuns song demos before we got to work on the album interestingly enough.
HHD: In 2007 you did a joint-venture deal with Babygrande Records and signed Amil formerly of Roca-A-Fella records but due to issues the album was shelved. Do you have any plans to work with Amil on any upcoming projects after she releases the mix tape series Sisterhood of the Traveling Mic this summer?
Yes, actually you can look for Amil on Volume 1 of Sisterhood of The Traveling Mic. That’s Monie Love’s project, I was bought on as an A&R. I produced a song Amil has on the tape called “The P Ain’t Free”. The tape is out, you can find it on datpiff.com or coast2coastmixtapes.com. Its on both of those sites. Monie is currently working on Volume 2 right now. Amil is in North Carolina working on new music and taking care of her family. She plans on leaking a few more songs and she’s currently working on a book which she plans on releasing with more music. Before the year is out. She won’t be talking about Roc-A-Fella, it will be more about her life as a woman and a single mother.
HHD: You’ve delved into acting this year as well, what was it like making your acting debut co-starring in the independent film “Ex$pendable” featuring Sundy Carter (State Property)& Taral Hicks (Belly), to name a few?
That was very exciting. Its actually my 2nd film, “Soulful” was my first film. It was myself, Emilio Sparks and Felicia Pearson who plays Snoop on the wire. It was released in 2008 on Kock DVD distribution. It will probably hit cable as well, they’re working on the cable rights now. “Ex$pendable” is due to come out in October. I scored music in the film as well as acting in it.
HHD: Do you see yourself continuing to pursue acting in the future?
Yes, I definetly see myself doing more acting, its something that I enjoy doing. I intend to do more, so anybody that wants to cast me holla at me.
HHD: Within that same year you worked on Nas’ Stillmatic album which was a major turning point in your career. What was it like working with such an established rapper at the time?
It was amazing; there was a lot of attention on him at the time because of the beef he had with Jay Z, so it was crazy. On my end the opportunity came about because Lenny Nicholson from Sony called me about production. We did the song in Times Square at Right Track Studios. When we got in the studio Nas let me hear some pre-recorded vocals and I loved them. It was structured in a way that it wasn’t a complete diss record. It was very conceptual. Its one of the most notable works in his album catalog so I feel honored to have been a part of that.
HHD: When you joined Da Beatminerz in 1994 producing music for Smif-n-Wessun. After years of producing music, you, Evil Dee and Mr. Walt decided to release an album titled “Brace 4 Impak”. Describe that experience?
It was a bittersweet time in my career, it was the first time I was signed as an actual artist. We were on Rawkus and we had a lot of say so on the album, but we were having a lot of issues with sample clearances, marketing ideas, budgets etc..so it became a very stressful time. For me it was very taxing, and I felt it was best to remove myself from it for a little while. By the time the album was done and it came out that was when I decided to part ways. I felt it was time to focus on myself as a producer. It was a time of personal growth. Thankfully, I got the opportunity to work on Stillmatic so it was a good look.
HHD: What was your most memorable project while working with the Beatminerz?
My most memorable projects were “Enter Da Stage” and Smiff-n-Wessuns “Tha Shining”. Those two albums were the most memorable in our production working relationship. Even though I wasn’t credited on “Enter Da Stage” as a producer I was behind the scenes contributing ideas that contributed to the album.
HHD: If you could do it all over again, would you have done anything differently?
The only thing I would’ve probably done differently was the path that I took coming into the industry. I would have approached things differently from a business perspective especially within the first 5 years of my career. I definetly would have learned the business more.
Check out Baby Paul in his new production role as Program Director for upcoming radio show,which kicked off July 23rd, 8pm –10pm(EST) and every Friday thereafter on coast2coast.fm