Scratch Magazine Issue 7
As part of Da Beatminerz, Baby Paul was integral in creating some of the grimy melodies for the Boot Camp Click that are now synonymous with mid 90’s hip hop. He continued with the collective until 2001 when he decided to embark on a solo mission that has led to collaborations with Nas and co-executive producer duties on AZ’s latest. But that’s just the beginning as Paul plans to contribute to upcoming tracks from Patra, Consequence, and DJ Clue in addition to crafting his debut album, “The Making,” scheduled for a summer release on Koch Records.
Tell me a little about your history with the Beatminerz.
I started my career working with Evil Dee and Mr. Walt. We were doing our own beats and we started collaborating on the beats we were doing individually. The main producers were Evil, Walt and myself but we had other cats in the circle like Rich Black and Chocolate Tye. They didn’t get the opportunity for as much input because they were still protégés trying to get their beats heard and placed on records. So most of the records made were from the three of us. In the process of building my relationships in the industry, I got a chance to work with artists outside of Boot Camp and that’s where my growth came in terms of doing outside projects.
What made you decide to leave Da Beatminerz after the Rawkus project?
It was more of a growth thing. That project was the hardest album I ever worked on in my whole career. We were conflicting in terms of direction, the artists we were choosing, and the politics at Rawkus. I was frustrated because that was our pet project. We put a lot of time and energy into it and we weren’t coming to a head creatively. By the time that album came out I got an opportunity to work with Nas on Stillmatic. I was able to make up for lost time and decided to move on. I took a producer named Mike Bristol under my wing and we started grinding it out together. He’s more into playing instead of sampling and with the industry changing in terms of musical direction I liked what he was doing. We built a working relationship where he would integrate with my stuff with more of a focus on composing and playing live. He played the keys on “Destroy and Rebuild” and he worked with me on “The Essence” joint, so now everything that I’m doing here on out he’s involved.
You described a lot of your early work with Boot Camp as ‘hard but melodic.’ Is that still an accurate description of your style?
No question. I come from a classic, street-music foundation that people sometimes describe as that dirt or grit and I still keep that edge. I make sure my drums are hard and sit on top of the music and that I have deep bass lines, but my sounds have gotten a little cleaner over the years because of knowledge and technology. I invested in a lot of gear so I could study sound whether its sound effects or bass, string and guitar sounds. I have a Proteus 2000, a Proteus Planet Earth, a Planet Phatt, a Roland 1010, and the Trinity and Triton racks. I have a lot of rack modules instead of keyboards. A lot of these new kids get in the game and buy a keyboard and think they are producers but you have to really understand musical arrangements where it’s in key and makes sense. I try to make the type of music where if I was blessed to have an artist doing so well they were on Saturday Night Live that a band could play my song. My goal is to be somewhat like a Dr. Dre who makes quality hip hop that’s arranged like real music only from an east coast perspective.
In addition to executive producing with AZ, you’re working on your debut solo coming out this summer on Koch. That’s got to be a good feeling.
I’m having a lot of fun. I did a remake of a song in the Main Source catalog with Large Professor. I’m working on some joints I want to do with Nas and AZ. I’m also working with my man Quan (Nas’ new artist), Free from 106th and Park, Angelous, this kid from Cleveland named Nova and of course members from the Boot Camp. The album is called “The Making.” It’s a definition of me, where I’ve been in my career and where I’m trying to go. As a working producer, I always feel like I am still in the making because I’m always growing and I treat my creativity in music in terms of math because it’s infinite.
E-MU Proteus 2000
E-MU Planet Earth
E-MU Planet Phatt