Beat Juggler

Hip-hop legend Prince Paul is responsible for some of the music's most transcendent moments

Later in '99, he joined Dan the Automator (responsible for Deltron 3030 and Kool Keith's Dr. Octagonecologyst) to create the Handsome Boy Modeling School. Their album, So ... How's Your Girl?, released in late 1999, is a hoot. Again, there's a theme: The two tackle fashion and beauty and truth, tossing in hilarious sound clips from comedian Chris Elliott's short-lived sitcom Get a Life. For guests, the two enlisted wonderfully diverse talent: Del tha Funkee Homosapien (the best rapper alive today, by the way), Sean Lennon, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, DJ Shadow, turntablist Kid Koala, Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Alec Empire, Father Guido Sarducci, Biz Markee, Roisin Murphy of Moloko, former Company Flow kingpin (and current Definitive Jux owner) El-P and others.

The album's success was the result of the vast array of styles and emotions that the two were able to create. It's not a mere hip-hop album. It contains rock, breakbeat, smooth soul (the exquisite "The Truth"), rhythm & blues and, of course, those beats.

But really, the minimalist nature of Prince Paul's work -- his way with samples, the simplicity of his beats, his way with structure -- are only tidbits of Prince Paul's personality. You can hear him in his music, even though you can't hear his voice. "I like people who can do that, like Prince Paul," DJ Shadow once explained to an interviewer. "He always puts his personality in a bunch of samples. Puts his personality into the instruments and lets it out. I always respect that."

Prince Paul
Prince Paul

Prince Paul performs at the Galaxy as part of the fifth -- and best -- Washington Avenue Beat Fest. Also performing at the Galaxy are Mike 2600 and Doug Surreal, as well as DJ Pee Jay. Velvet's concentrating on house and is featuring an amazing lineup of the stuff: The highlight will be legendary London DJ Seb Fontaine, who's been a resident at two of London's most popular clubs, Ministry of Sound and Crème; the versatile Chicago house DJ Lego; RFT Music Award winner DJ Steve-O; and Lovemix Velvet residents Les Aaron and Johnny Orr.

Rue 13 promises a mix of live acoustic music and electronic dance music: San Francisco's Soulstice, who records for the consistently inspired Om Records; and Rue 13 residents the Hothouse Sessions.

At Tangerine: House DJ Jeff Feller, soul/funk DJ Papa Ray and the amazing live house band the Urban Jazz Naturals.

Finally, you can catch some great drum & bass and two-step garage at Lo: DJ Bailey, who's part of London's phenomenal Metalheadz roster; Reid Speed, a drum & bass DJ who's transformed herself into one of the pre-eminent U.S. two-step DJs; and local drum & bass hero Jim K.

The Washington Avenue Beat Festival should be kicking. By all means, check the beat.

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