For Prince Be of PM Dawn, the birth of his son Christian three years ago was
both a blessing and a curse.
"You're a new parent and you want to protect your kids from everything, and in
terms of doing so, it opens you up to everything that is wrong," the 28-year-old
rapper explained from his Jersey City, N.J., home last week.
"It's almost like I had no idea that this much was wrong with this place," he said.
"It was like, 'Wow, I have to protect my kids from everything, but I can't.' They
wouldn't have a life. I really can't protect them from everything. That's the way it
His dilemma is what led to Prince Be (born Attrell Cordes), his brother J.C. the
Eternal (a.k.a. Jarrett Cordes) and singer/songwriter Clark Anderson to set out
to make Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love,
Dad. The album is set for a fall release, with no date currently set in stone.
It's an album that Prince Be hopes will wake people up to what he feels is a
world gone wrong. "There's a lot of things wrong with this place, but more so I
think internally," he explained. "There are a lot of things wrong with people
hiding from each other. I think we're all so used to being away from each other
that we kind-of like it that way. And that's not necessarily such a good thing right
Prince Be said that he wants Dearest Christian (the title that will appear
on the spine of the CD) to be an album that his children will hear and know that
he's sorry for the state of the world and that the people of the world will hear and
become sorry for the environment that they have created.
With songs such as "Misery in Utero," "Hale Bop Regurgitations" and "I Had No Right
(Being So Not for You)," it may sound like the album represents PM Dawn's turn
to the world of depressive goth music, but Prince Be says that the opposite is
true. "The record is about finding hope in hopelessness," he explained. "My kids
are here. I'm only apologizing for the acts of selfishness I did by bringing them
here. But I love them and I am glad they're here. It's just that now we have to
deal with what comes next."
In addition to its lyrics that reflect concern for the world, Dearest Christian
also finds the group playing more live instruments than usual. Prince Be
estimates that 80 percent of the album was played live. "There are samples on
there, a couple of huge samples," he said. "It's just not as common."
When news of this new direction broke, some PM Dawn fans seemed
disappointed. David Sherman, a 24-year-old PM Dawn from Raleigh, N.C.,
wrote in an e-mail that he was a little bit worried about the group's new
approach, but said he would reserve judgment until he heard some of the new
"I guess I've always been intrigued by the amount and kinds of sampling they
did," Sherman wrote, "so hearing that 80 percent of their new album uses
instruments is kind-of shocking."
Prince Be, though, thinks that the group's longtime fans will see it as a
progression. "On each of our records, we do something we've never done
before," he explained. "On our first album [1991's Of the Heart, of the Soul
and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience], we had never really used strings
before and never really dove into R&B music. On [1995's] Jesus Wept,
we never had so many guitars. This album is sort-of adult-sounding, with a lot
of cool stuff we've never done before."
Although plans are currently in the embryonic stage, Prince Be said the group
does intend to tour in support of the album. "We've never toured before, and
that's definitely something we planned to do when making this album," he said.
One of the songs on the album that will use a sample is "I Hate Myself for
You," a track built around a sample originally performed by Czechoslovakian
jazz-fusion keyboardist Jan Hammer. The song -- which Prince Be called the
hardest one for him to work on, due to its personal nature -- does not follow the
current rap trend of using TV theme songs as samples. Instead of using
Hammer's best-known work, the theme to "Miami Vice," it uses a more obscure
track to flavor Prince Be's self-loathing.
"I'm just making sure I'm being honest with myself," Prince Be said of the track.
"I'm talking about the things I dislike about myself and a lot about the things
people dislike about me." The song has been so difficult for Prince Be to work
on that it ended up being the last song he recorded for the album.
"This album, and that song in particular, have been real therapeutic for me,"
Prince Be explained. "I made this album so I could stay here. I don't think I
would have stayed here if I hadn't made this album."