Rapping in Palindromes

By Jake Miller ’91 / March / April 2003
June 22nd, 2007

Paul Barman’s first CD, Paullelujah (Coup d’Etat, $11.99), is getting rave reviews for its mix of political commentary and bathroom humor.

BAM So how did you come up in the music business?
Paul Barman Skills.

BAM I don’t think there’s ever been a hip-hop album with references to Jeff Koons and Margaret Sanger before, nor one with two songs on it about an anarchist bookstore.
PB I see my cast of characters in “Anarchist Bookstore” as an opportunity to create my own Lake Wobegon.

BAM I would guess that no hip-hop artist ever said anything like that before either. How does that go together with a song full of nasty names for ladies’ private parts or a song like “Burping and Farting”?
PB Sometimes I think the character MC Paul Barman is too limited, that the character can only do one thing or is expected to stay consistent. I want there to be something for everybody in my audience.

BAM If you’ve got something for everybody to like, you’ve also got something for everybody to hate.
PB Sometimes a love-it-or-hate-it proposition is the position you want to be in.

BAM In one song you ask, “How can it be so smart and stupid at the same time?”
PB “Burping and Farting,” as stupid as it is, is one of the most original things on the album.

BAM Hasn’t anybody ever done that before?
PB No, of course not. It’s too stupid. But I provide the science behind it. I hit almost every point.

BAM This is a path that I don’t want to go down …
PB I answered as cleanly as I can. I’m not a potty mouth.

—Interview by Jake Miller ’91

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March / April 2003