A Prince Among Thieves

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A Prince Among Thieves
Studio album by Prince Paul
Released February 23, 1999
Recorded 1997-1998
Genre Hip hop
Length 77:11
Label Tommy Boy/Warner Bros.
01210
Producer Prince Paul
Prince Paul chronology
Psychoanalysis: What is It?
(1996)
A Prince Among Thieves
(1999)
Politics of the Business
(2003)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars link
Robert Christgau A[1]
RapReviews 9.5/10 link
Rolling Stone favorable link
The Source 4/5 stars link

A Prince Among Thieves is the second studio album by hip hop artist Prince Paul. It is considered an apex in the hip hop world, and was one of the most acclaimed concept albums of its time. A Prince Among Thieves was well received by music critics upon its release. Music essayist Robert Christgau has cited it as "the closest thing to a true rock opera you've ever heard".[1]

Background[edit]

The concept follows the story of an aspiring young emcee named Tariq, played by emcee Breezly Brewin, who needs to collect money to record a demo tape before a meeting with Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA. The story follows a desperate Tariq, who quits his low-paying job and turns to his friend True, played by emcee Big Sha, who plugs him into the world of drug dealing. The two make their way through the drug world, a police ambush, jail, and, finally, a deadly showdown.

The album features cameos by Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Everlast, Sadat X, Xzibit, Kid Creole, Special Ed, Chris Rock, RZA and Buckshot. A single version and video were also produced, which have the feel of a film trailer. Although conceived as a story that would be filmed, an accompanying movie was never made. In an interview concerning this, Paul said:

"That was the intention. When I first made it I was inspired by Master P's I’m Bout It, I was like this movie is so poorly shot and it’s popular. I could do that with more star power. I tried to pitch it to Tommy Boy, and they apparently didn’t see the vision. I was like we could make so much money, but they were like 'Yeah, yeah Paul, we’re going to put this million dollars in whatever group' that they had. Then at some point Chris Rock bought the rights to it, but he didn’t do anything with it. So it sits and it sits. If I had the opportunity, if somebody said hey I have a small budget or wanted to get a Kickstarter going, I’d love to put that together."[2]

Track listing[edit]

# Title Producer(s) Performer (s)
1 "Tariq's Dilemma (Intro)" *Interlude*
2 "Pain" Prince Paul Sha, Breeze
3 "How It All Started" *Interlude*
4 "Steady Slobbin'" Prince Paul Breeze
5 "Just Another Day" *Interlude*
6 "What U Got (The Demo)" Prince Paul Sha, Breeze
7 "The Hustles On" *Interlude*
8 "MC Hustler" Prince Paul Horror City
9 "The Call" *Interlude*
10 "The Other Line" Prince Paul Breeze, Heroine
11 "Crazy Lou's Hideout" *Interlude*
12 "Weapon World" Prince Paul Kool Keith
13 "My Big Chance" *Interlude*
14 "War Party" Prince Paul Horror City
15 "Count Macula" *Interlude*
16 "Macula's Theory" Prince Paul Big Daddy Kane
17 "Mr. Large" Prince Paul Chubb Rock, Biz Markie
18 "Can You Handle It" *Interlude*
19 "Put the Next Man On" Prince Paul Breeze, Sha, Superstar
20 "I Was In" *Interlude*
21 "My First Day" *Interlude*
22 "More Than U Know" Prince Paul De La Soul
23 "Room 69" *Interlude*
24 "Mood For Love" Prince Paul Newkirk, Sweet Dee, Breeze
25 "The Bust" *Interlude*
26 "The Men in Blue" Prince Paul Everlast
27 "Central Booking" *Interlude*
28 "Handle Your Time" Prince Paul Sadat X, Xzibit, Kid Creole
29 "The Rev" *Interlude*
30 "Sermon" *Interlude*
31 "Showdown" *Interlude*
32 "You Got Shot" Prince Paul Sha, Breeze
33 "Every Beginning Must Have an Ending" *Interlude*
34 "The New Joint (DJ's Delite)" *Interlude*
35 "A Prince Among Thieves" Prince Paul Sha
Sample credits
  • "Steady Slobbin'" is a parody of Ice Cube's song "Steady Mobbin'," and both contain a sample of Average White Band's recording "Reach Out."
  • "What U Got" contains a sample of Albert King's recording "I'll Play the Blues for You."
  • "Macula's Theory" contains a sample of Syl Johnson's recording "Wind, Blow Her Back My Way."
  • "War Party" contains a sample of Gwen McCrae's recording "Love Without Sex".
  • "MC Hustler" contains a sample of Magnum's recording "Witch Doctor's Brew".
  • "You Got Shot" contains a sample of Ol' Dirty Bastard's recording "Brooklyn Zoo."

Personnel[edit]

The cast[edit]

The DJs and VJs[edit]

  • DJ Evil Dee
  • Bobbito
  • DJ Mecca
  • Bobby Simmons
  • Andre (Bless Me) Smith
  • Ken (Special K) Spellman
  • DJ Atlas
  • Artist
  • Lynn Gonzales
  • Rotimi Rainwater

Background extras[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album
Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums Top Heatseekers
1999 A Prince Among Thieves #138 #46 #5
Singles
Year Song Hot Rap Singles
1999 "More Than U Know" 45

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 16, 1999). "Consumer Guide: A Prince Among Thieves". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2010-09-04.
  2. ^ Yohance Kyles (2013-11-07). "EXCLUSIVE: Prince Paul Discusses His “All Purpose Show,” Art vs Business & Refusing To Sell Out". AllHipHop.com. Retrieved 2014-08-14.