Prince Paul Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

De La Soul “Eye Know” (1989)

Album: 3 Feet High and Rising

Label: Tommy Boy

Prince Paul:“What’s crazy is that was one song that out of the whole album I wasn’t around because I went on the road with Stetsasonic to do one or two dates. When I came back, Pos had looped that [Steely Dan sample] up. And then we just took it, and I helped to create the piece together. Let’s take it, flip, EQ it, but it was initially Pos’ idea. And I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s crazy. That’s nuts.’

 

I’m not trying to diss the guys on Stetsasonic, because that’s my first group, and there are fond memories there. But on the business side and the creative side there were a lot of things that just didn’t happen. With De La, it was a matter of wanting everybody to participate. There wasn’t an idea that I shot down.

 

“I’m not trying to diss the guys on Stetsasonic, because that’s my first group, and there are fond memories there. But on the business side and the creative side there were a lot of things that just didn’t happen.

“With De La, it was a matter of wanting everybody to participate. I wanted everybody to try whatever ideas there were. There wasn’t an idea that I shot down. As far as music, adding a scratch or whatever.

“I was like, ‘Yo, I’m going to try everything. I’m not going to allow you to say something, and make you feel bad about it.’ We’re going to make this into an even group effort. And that’s the magic of the album.

“I’m kind of being the conductor and standing them along with their ideas. Nobody at that time could’ve produced them better, and no other group would’ve been ideal for me except them. It was just a weird circumstance, now that I’m looking back on it.”

“The production for the album was done collectively. It was one of those things where guys would have ideas, and I was the one who put it together, making it happen. So Pos would say, ‘I’ve got an idea using three is a magic number.’ And I would suggest how we’re going to put it together.

 

The production for the album was done collectively. It was one of those things where guys would have ideas, and I was the one who put it together, making it happen. 

 

“If I said, ‘We need a better drum behind this.’ Maseo would come up with another drum pattern. And then I’ll arrange the pieces together. So it was more like taking and manipulating whatever ideas they had, and during the process they’ve learned the procedures. I was teaching them how to use different equipment.

“The thing for me was this: Whatever I did not learn from Stetsasonic, which I kind of resented for a long time, I’m going to teach these guys. Whatever I know. From working the equipment to arranging and everything, which wasn’t even much then.

“But it was more than what the De La guys knew. So that’s how we did things. We worked on [3 Feet High and Rising] together. That was my tutorial for De La on the music business and production.”

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