In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paris was best known as "The Black Panther of Hip-Hop," a college-educated West Coast version of Public Enemy's Chuck D. He kickstarted some serious controversy when he tried to release an album called "Bush Killa," with a picture of him hiding in the bushes (get it?) of the White House lawn with a big f'ing gun.
In the mid-90s, he retired from the rap game and became (what else?) a capitalist. He made some bank as a stockbroker and real estate investor, then returned to hip-hop with "Sonic Jihad" a couple years ago. That album was really spectacular, with Paris' G-Funk meets Bomb Squad production, heavy on hooks, melody, and big big bass, and his booming voice doing the Chuck D thing with some thought-provoking revolutionary lyrics.
Now personally, I don't think that the President should be killed, or that he planned 9/11 (both of which are among the more... uh... exciting ideas he presents on that album), but I do think that a lot of what Paris was bringing to light in that record was vitally important. And while the inflammatory cover (which featured a jet headed for the White House) may have obscured the music, the music was exceptionally good.
Paris has been working with Public Enemy, Kam, and dead prez on a new record for the label he runs, Guerrilla Funk, called Hard Truth Soldiers. An interesting review below.
Here's a question: to what extent do you feel The Sound of Young America should host artists with strong political messages? I'm not really interested in banning politically-active artists from the show or anything, I'm just worried particularly when they're talking about explicitly political projects. I've generally avoided this in the past, partly because I worry about the inherent bias of my cultural situation and personal political views. I'd love to hear thoughts.