Prince Paul + Dan the Automator :: Handsome Boy Modeling School :: Tommy Boy Music
as reviewed by LOS

Someone at Tommy Boy has access to a time machine. Because somebody there traveled waaaaayyyyy into the next millenium and scooped up this collaboration between the former De La Soul producer and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura (Dr. Octagon fame). The material on this piece ranges from comedic interludes featuring Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello, SNL comedic fame) to turntable displays by the likes of DJ Shadow, DJ Quest, and Kid Koala (burn this name into your brain). Beastie Boys rapper Mike D, Atari Teenage Riot techno-rocker Alec Empire, everyone's favorite homosapien, Del, and one of the industry's angriest tongues, El-P of Company Flow.

But enough about whom is featured on this lp. You want to know if it's bangin', right? Allow me to give you a frame of reference. Place your head on the seat of an exercise at a Jenny Craig facility, while 300lbs. of fat chick ass cheeks massage your dome!!! You won't find a more "experimental", cutting edge, "alternative", enjoyable release than this here. Probably the most surprising track is "Sunshine," a soulful "radio friendly" ballad featuring a duet between Paula Frazier of the rock band Tarnation and Mark Hayden, singer of jazz-pop group Spain. Also featured on that song is singer/songwriter Sean Lennon (Your guess is as good as mine!) a spoken-word bit by Father Sarducci, and the Beastie Boys' freaky-finger man and solo artist "Money" Mark Nishita. There are many bright spots to mention from this lp, but the brightest shine, for me, comes from NYC rapper Encore, with his dark, "…in ya face muthafucka!" delivery. Finally, a lyricist who can freaked that 'Chinese water torture' style beat as good as Jeru did on "Come Clean."

Not to be outdone at anytime is the vibe I get from "Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II)." Without even looking at the song credits, I knew that hard hitting drum programming came from non other than DJ Shadow. That beatboxing break… hold up while I helicopter real quick… okay, I'm back (DAMN!) DJ Quest provides the scratching that solidified the 'holy' aspect for this successful part two. You never get lost or bored with the antics or styles brought to you from the modeling school.

By the time I got to track 14, where Kid Koala ran away with things, I was looking for my check book to send my 60$ to Merriweather and Rockwell. Only the nuclear alarm sounds of "Megaton B-Boy 2000" wake me from my stupor. "… I could say eat a dick quicker than turn my back on you. Casually, comfortable in seven minutes of refreshing while relaxed in missionary position…" Y'all better leave El-P alone!

Yes, this joint holds true to all of the ill styles Prince Paul has done before. And yes, the "far the fuck out there atmosphere" that has come from the genius of Automator in the form of the Dr. is present as well. Hold off on all other releases. Get your musical curriculum for the modeling school instead.

Music Vibes: 10 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 10 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 10 of 10

Originally posted: October 21, 1999