We'll Always Have Paris
By Grahame Bent, Recordcollectormag.com
Never afraid to stand alone Paris has likewise never been one to sit on the fence.
With the aftershocks of his 'comeback' album Sonic Jihad still reverberating throughout a hip hop industry that's grown fat on bling and dumbed down lifestyle rap, Paris follows up Sonic Jihad with the re-release of his first three albums - The Devil Made Me Do It, Sleeping With The Enemy, and Guerrilla Funk that made his name in the early-mid '90s. All three titles are now reissued on Paris' label Guerrilla Funk Recordings as 'deluxe editions' and each includes a selection of bonus tracks and remixes. As Paris himself observes on the sleeve notes this is music from 'an era when potent political commentary wasn't an exception to the rule in hip-hop.'
And how right he is. In these dark times when it's left to trusty campaigners like Public Enemy and dead prez to continue to fly the flag for politicised hip-hop the reissue of Paris first three albums transports the listener back to a time when the number of zeros on a bank balance wasn't the primary consideration for a rapper who claimed he had something to say.
Originally released on Tommy Boy in 1990 The Devil Made Me Do It introduced the world to the unapologetically militant Bay Area MC who made explicit his support for all manner of revolutionary politics from Malcolm X and the Nation Of Islam to the Black Panthers. Two years on Paris blew the ante through the roof with Sleeping With The Enemy which not only came packaged in artwork depicting Paris in the role of would-be assassin poised to take out George Bush Sr outside the White House but included the infamous track 'Bush Killa'. In the event, the album was suppressed by Tommy Boy's parent company Time Warner until after the Presidential election of November 1992 before eventually surfacing on Paris' label Scarface records in 1993 after Paris had been dropped by Time Warner in the wake of the hysteria surrounding Ice-T's 'Cop Killer'.
Completing the trio of reissues 1994's Guerrilla Funk welded Paris' socially conscious messages to the then all-conquering sound of G-Funk and now comes repackaged with a selection of tracks from Paris comparatively lightweight fourth album Unleashed (1998).
In addition to the reissues, a remix compilation titled The Devil Made Me Remix is also set for future release but arguably the hottest news of all is that Paris is set to both produce and release the next Public Enemy album Rebirth Of A Nation via Guerrilla Funk. Rebirth Of A Nation is currently scheduled for release this summer and further cements the Paris-Public Enemy partnership