A Prince Among Thieves

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A Prince Among Thieves
Studio album by Prince Paul
Released February 23, 1999
Recorded 1997–1998
Studio Paul's Coffee Shop
(Long Island, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 77:11
Label Tommy Boy/Warner Bros.
Producer Prince Paul
Prince Paul chronology
Psychoanalysis: What is It?
A Prince Among Thieves
Politics of the Business
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[4]
NME 8/10[5]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[7]
The Source 4/5[8]
Spin 9/10[9]
The Village Voice A[10]

A Prince Among Thieves is the second studio album by hip hop artist Prince Paul. A Prince Among Thieves was well received by music critics. Music essayist Robert Christgau has called it "the closest thing to a true rock opera you've ever heard".[10]


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 introduces him to 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 in the style of a film trailer was also produced. Although conceived as a story that would be filmed, a movie never came about. In an interview, Prince 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."[11]

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."
  • "Central Booking" contains a sample of Lloyd Price's recording "What Did You Do With My Love?"


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]


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


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "A Prince Among Thieves – Prince Paul". AllMusic. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ Langer, Andy (May 14, 1999). "Prince Paul: A Prince Among Thieves (Tommy Boy) / Dr. Doom: First Come, First Served (Funky Ass)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  4. ^ Baker, Soren (April 3, 1999). "In Solo Debut, Krayzie Bone Shows Eclectic Talent, Tastes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ Crysell, Andy (February 3, 1999). "Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves". NME. Archived from the original on October 16, 2000. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ Stovall, Natasha (March 18, 1999). "Prince Paul: A Prince Among Thieves". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 657. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  8. ^ "Prince Paul: A Prince Among Thieves". The Source (114): 196. March 1999. 
  9. ^ Kulkarni, Neil (March 1999). "Prince Paul: A Prince Among Thieves / The Roots: Things Fall Apart". Spin. 15 (3): 142. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 23, 1999). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  11. ^ 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.