What Had Happened Was

What Had Happened Was

Open Mike Eagle Sits down with the legendary creators in hip-hop to discuss their life, impact, and legacy over the course of a season. Season one covers DJ Prince Paul (De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School). Season two covers El-P (Company Flow, Run the Jewels). Season three features legendary hip-hop A&R/producer Dante Ross. Brought to you by Stony Island Audio.

Episodes

June 19, 2020 69 min

Prince Paul opens up about his time with RZA and the Gravediggaz.

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Prince Paul tells the story of producing De La Soul's first album. Along the way we hear how the group was formed, the creative direction behind the album, and how they fit into the burgeoning hip-hop community around them. From the invention of the 'skit' to the first major sampling lawsuit, it's the story of an album that changed the business of rap music forever.

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July 15, 2020 66 min

In 1999 in the height of rap’s jiggy era Prince Paul made one of the most imaginative projects in music history. A Prince Among Thieves is a fully formed musical novel born from Paul’s creative vision and fueled by pain in his personal life. In this episode he walks us through the struggles of producing the album, the triumphs of completing it and how close he came to actually developing it into a full-length movie. Its the story o...

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July 22, 2020 78 min

As Chris Rock was skyrocketing to fame as a stand-up comic he worked with Prince Paul to release three comedy albums that were so innovative and impactful that each one of them won a Grammy award. Here Prince Paul tells the story of thinking he was being pranked when Chris reached out to him and walks us through the development of each of the albums, including the hit single ‘No Sex in the Champagne Room’. 

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July 29, 2020 67 min

In this loosies episode Prince Paul tells the story of working with these three legendary hip-hop acts and gives us a look inside each of their creative processes. Along the way we discuss 3rd Bass’s beef with MC Hammer, a potential full length collab with DOOM and the story of what the beats from Paul Barman’s ‘It’s Very Stimulating’ were originally intended for.

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August 5, 2020 74 min

In 1991 after the smash success of their debut album 3ft High and Rising, De La Soul and Prince Paul become household names and with that comes strangers harassing them with unwanted demo tapes, weird encounters at Burger King, and rumors being spread about the group. All of these problems are front and center on their second album, the brilliant De La Soul is Dead. 

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Paul began his journey in rap in 1977 as a DJ right when hip-hop was starting in New York. Shortly after that it turns into a career when he meets the rappers that would become the legendary group Stetsasonic. In this episode he tells the story of going from ‘sucker duck’ kid DJ to touring the world with Stetsasonic and the lessons that led him to strike out on his own with De La Soul.

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August 19, 2020 65 min

In 1998 Prince Paul linked up with Dan The Automator (Dr. Octagon, Detlron 3030) and formed Handsome Boy Modeling School based on an episode of Chris Eliot’s 90s sitcom ‘Get A Life’. They made two albums featuring everyone from DJ Shadow to Father Guido Sarducci. Paul walks us through these collaborations including amazing stories about linking up with Pharell Williams to record him in a very unlikely location and why El-P was conf...

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August 26, 2020 50 min

In 2003 after the mishandling of ‘A Prince Among Thieves’, Paul found himself in a dark space and made an album reflective of his negative feelings about the music industry. Devoid of his signature skits and melodic samples, Politics of the Business is Prince Paul at his most cynical. He tells the story of putting the album together, its critical/fan reception and how he feels about it now. (album features Dave Chappelle, Ice-T, Ch...

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September 2, 2020 50 min

The music video for 1990’s ‘Buddy’ by De La Soul introduced the world to the Native Tongues collective. The crew consisted of Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, Queen Latifah, Monie Love and more. This collective was groundbreaking in that it made space for a freer and more individualistic image of rap stars at a critical time in rap history. It would go on to influence the rise of Common, Kanye West, J...

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September 9, 2020 70 min

In 1993 De La Soul released Buhloone Mindstate which was their final album produced by Prince Paul. Filled with raw expression and lush jazz arrangements played live by James Brown's original backing band, the album sounds like none before or after it. The careers of Paul and De La Soul both took sharp turns after as they parted ways and attempted to carve out their own identities. 

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September 16, 2020 55 min

On the season finale of What Had Happened Was we talk with Prince Paul about what didnt happen in his long and storied career. From near miss collaborations with legendary artists to TV projects that ended before ever launching, these are the stories of what almost happened plus a look into the future.

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to kick off this season Open Mike Eagle and El-P dig into El's early life leading up to his first recordings and the forming of the seminal underground rap group Company Flow. Along the way we hear the story of his first encounter with the music business and how that informed the ’independent as f*ck’ aesthetic of his early releases. We then explore the record label bidding war that lands the group at legendary underground labe...

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April 7, 2021 59 min

on this episode El-P breaks down Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus LP. He discusses the origins of his unique approach to production and the changes between the EP version and the final commercial release, the alchemy of The Fire in Which You Burn, and the disagreements that eventually led to the dissolution of the group

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in this episode El-P walks us through the launch of the legendary record label Def Jux. in the initial days of the label Company Flow disbands as El assembles the roster from standout artists in the underground rap scene like Mr. Lif, RJD2 and Aesop Rock. One of the first major releases is Cannibal Ox's classic debut The Cold Vein. El walks us through meeting the duo, putting the album together and unleashing it on the world.

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April 21, 2021 71 min

in 2002 El-P released his solo debut LP Fantastic Damage to critical acclaim and unbridled fervor from underground rap fans that had been following El from Company Flow to the creation of Def Jux. In this episode El tells the stories behind celebrated songs like Stepfather Factory, Deep Space 9mm and Squeegee Man Shooting and he sets the record straight on the album's connection to the events of September 11th, 2001.

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April 28, 2021 63 min

having covered El's production masterpiece in Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein and his breakthrough solo LP Fantastic Damage, we profile the artists and albums that are the tentpoles of El-P's artist-owned record label Def Jux. He tells the story of meeting and working with underground legends like Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock, RJD2 and more and explores the void left by the passing of friend and brilliant artist Camu Tao.

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May 5, 2021 63 min

In 2007 El-P released his second solo album I'll Sleep When You're Dead. In this episode El tells the story of creating this project which he calls his favorite of his solo works. He details his excitement at collaborating with Trent Reznor and explains the stories behind tracks like Habeas Corpses, The Overly Dramatic Truth and Tasmanian Pain Coaster

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May 12, 2021 55 min

In this episode El-P tells the story of the LP that serves as the origin of Run The Jewels. in 2012 Williams Street Records (part of Adult Swim) paired El with Killer Mike to produce an album. The bombastic LP combined the sounds of both artists and changed the course of both of their careers in its wake.

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May 19, 2021 68 min

In 2012 after the dissolution of his record label Def Jux and the death of his friend and collaborator Camu Tao, El-P released his 3rd solo album Cancer 4 Cure. The album chronicles El-P at one of his lowest points and though he made it thinking it might be his last project, it changed the course of his entire career.

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