The 6th Element - Return Of A Panther

By Juan Maldonado, NoHoLA

After a four-year hiatus, one of the most powerful voices of rap is making his way back. He made his debut in 1990 with his critically acclaimed album, The Devil Made Me Do It. He followed up his success of that album with his sophomore effort Sleeping With The Enemy in 1992, which contained a track that landed him in hot water with the FBI. The track Bush Killa led to the FBI probe into every nook and cranny of his life but more importantly brought him to the forefront of hip hop. More people began tuning into the message of this potent teacher because of that incident. This veteran and controversial emcee could only go by one name: Paris.

Speaking on his return to hip hop Paris stated, "I got back into it because A) it [hip hop] needs it, B) because I love it and I need it, C) because I know that it can be done much better than a lot of what you're getting nowadays and D) because the political climate and the time is right for it." Paris has been working tirelessly on his fifth album, Sonic Jihad. "Understand that if I'm going to be doing music at all it's gotta be something that I feel comfortable with. It's gotta be something that I feel will make a difference, something that I won't be ashamed of in a few years. I see so many people now putting out records just for the sake of putting out records. So many people being involved in the game for the wrong reasons."

Forever the outspoken activist, Paris is willing to take on today's social issues. "There's going to be a lot of shit on Sonic Jihad that's going to infuriate a lot of people. But again, that's what good art is about; it moves you emotionally. It's not supposed to be some generic shit that you chant along with on your way to work. Real art is supposed to stand the test of time and it's supposed to move you in a particular direction. Whether it makes you happy or it makes you sad, or express your rage, that's what art is about." But are today's politically turbulent times truly a good time for Paris' return? "Now it's a good time to be here because even if you had absolutely no interest in politics prior to the events that happened at the end of last year, you have no choice but to be now. You see it every day on TV, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You get non-stop propaganda been fed into your house, and politics are now being brought to the forefront. Politics are now popular culture as a result of the way it's treated in the media. So, why not use the media and popular culture to offer my response to that."

With his new project slated to drop in early September, Paris feels good about the product he will be putting out. "Everything is a learning process for me, that's where I differ from a lot of emcees. So every record phonetically gets progressively better, conceptually better. I believe that Sonic Jihad is going to be the pinnacle of my career."

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