De La Soul: My Mindstate
LA Symphony: Broken Now
From Hip Hop Gold Dust (Antidote, 2005)

Both of these are off the new Prince Paul CD, Hip Hop Gold Dust which is a compilation of Paul’s unreleased and rare productions, dating back to the early 1980s. Paul came to fame as a member of Stetsasonic, then the musical mind behind De La Soul in the late ’80s and he’s continued to stay in the mix through his work with Handsome Boy Modeling School. In the years in between he produced for everyone from Jaz and Jay-Z to Justin Warfield to Resident Alien, etc. I have a real soft spot for Paul (though I’ve heard rumors that he’s not the nicest guy in person, but I really wouldn’t know), not just because his productions were a big reason why I became a hip hop fan to begin with, but he was also the subject of the first cover story I ever wrote, around the time Prince Among Thieves came out (for URB Magazine). I still have a poster of that magazine cover in my basement.

In any case, the backstory behind “My Mindstate,” is pretty bugged out, but then again, it is De La Soul so “bugged out” fits just fine. While the group was putting together their third album, Buhloone Mindstate, Paul and De La had the idea to create a fake album, filled with fake songs and give that to the label as a way to trick potential bootleggers into thinking this was the real deal. Ambitious idea – crazy really – but they only were able to finish two songs, of which “My Mindstate” was one of them.

The thing is: if you pay attention to it, it’s apparent that the song is not meant to be taken seriously: it’s filled with literal nonsense, i.e. random rhymes thrown together but no actual coherent thought. However, if you’re just casually listening, it just sounds like another wacky De La song. Basically, the line between parody and reality for De La was always pretty hazy to begin with.

As for “Broken Now,” this is an unreleased track from 2000 by a group I think has/had a lot of promise but never really got their chance to shine. I really like the production here: reminds me a lot of the “Blue Flowers” remix by Dr. Octogon that Paul did around the same time.