After creating what may be the world's first hip-hop opera on his guest-laden new concept album, A Prince Among Thieves, producer Prince Paul is taking his show on the road.
Prince Paul (born Paul Huston), who made his name as the producer of classic albums by rap innovators De La Soul, including Three Feet High and Rising, is heading out on a month-long club tour that will primarily showcase his skills as a DJ.
Paul will be "spinning stuff from [A Prince Among Thieves] as well as . . . party stuff," according to his publicist, Zuhairah Khaldun. Some of the dates will feature special guest performances by stars who appear on the album, Khaldun said.
The tour is slated to begin Sunday at the Club Zen in Miami. Then Paul will head up the East Coast before taking a swing out West and ending the outing April 5 in Seattle.
A Prince Among Thieves, which Prince Paul described in November as "a soundtrack that's a movie within itself," tells the darkly humorous tale of a battle between good and evil as embodied in two fictional rappers, who are played by two up-and-coming real-life MCs, Breeze and Sha.
"A lot of people I wanted to work with for awhile are on the album," Prince Paul said. The list of guests includes De La Soul, Chubb Rock, Everlast, Kool Keith and Big Daddy Kane, all of whom assume the personas of characters in Prince Paul's story on their respective songs. Chubb Rock, for instance, takes the role of a Mafia don on the song "Mr. Large"
(RealAudio excerpt), while De La Soul collectively play a crack addict on "More Than U Know."
Breeze will perform with Prince Paul on several dates. One show, at the Manhattan, N.Y., club Tramps on March 23, will feature cast members Chubb Rock, Big Daddy Kane and Sha, in addition to Breeze.
According to Khaldun, that show will also include a performance by longtime Prince Paul collaborators De La Soul, whom Paul called "one of [my] first loves."
"We really made each other as far as the music industry, and I really missed [them]," Paul said. Before reuniting for the Prince Among Thieves track, the group and the producer parted ways in 1993 following their collaborations on the De La Soul albums Three Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead and Buhloone Mindstate.
The New York show also will reunite Paul with the members of Stetsasonic, the group in which he started his career. Stetsasonic helped pioneer the use of live musicians in rap, a tradition that continues today with such groups as the Roots.
Prince Paul Tour Dates:
March 14; Miami, Fla., Club Zen
March 16; Tampa, Fla., Masquerade
March 18; Jacksonville, Fla., Pavilion
March 19; Atlanta, Ga., MJQ Concourse
March 20; Athens, Ga., The Forty Watt Club
March 23; New York, N.Y., Tramps (with De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Breeze, Stetsasonic, Non Phixion, Special Ed and Missing Linx)
April 2; San Francisco, Calif., Justice League (with Breeze)
April 4; Los Angeles, Calif., Ruby's (with Breeze)
April 5; Seattle, Wash., AERO Space (with Breeze)