Posted by Billyjam, January 6, 2010 02:14pm | Post a Comment
MC Paul Barman "Owl Pellets" from his new album Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

New Jersey born, New York City based MC Paul Barman first caught the attention of the hip-hop world a decade ago when he arrived (seemingly out of nowhere) with his Prince Paul (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, A Prince Among Thieves, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Souls of Mischief etc.)-produced It's Very Stimulating EP, which won critical praise and instantly cemented his place as an unabashedly nerdy hip-hopper. A most clever wordsmith, he was labeled by some as a thinking man's emcee. And while his unique lyrical style may not have been every rap fan's cup of tea, he won respect for not fronting, just being himself, and for MC Paul Barmantackling topics not addressed by your average rapper.

He also won the respect of many hip-hop artists and over the years has collaborated with such acts as MF DOOM, Deltron 3030, Masta Ace, and has toured with such acts as Blackalicious and Del tha Funky Homosapien, who is one of the many guests on his new album, Thought Balloon Mushrooom Cloud (Househusband). The album, which touches on such topics as sampling, owls, AIDS, and circumcision, is the self-described "Jewish atheist'"s first official release since 2002's album Paullelujah!. I recently caught up with the artist to talk about Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud and some of the new rhyme styles unveiled on this recommended new album.

Amoeblog: It's been a minute since you put a new release out. What have you been doing in the meantime?  

MC Paul Barman: Two sons. Full Buck Moon Kaboom Mixtape in 2008. Developing new styles, many of which are included on the LP, and shall be expanded: "The Science Gang," my version of edutainment; "Hairy Moth Owl," less grounded in reality, a relief; Body Of Work, anti-body-harm dogma; collaborating with director/percussionist Michel Gondry -- our band is called BEER. Film: Be Kind Rewind & Strawberry-Banana. (See here and here.) Journalism. And teaching.

Amoeblog: That is your cover art on the new album right? So you still actively paint and draw?

MC Paul Barman: Actually... the cover is still unifinished! But yes, I draw all the time.

Amoeblog: On the song "Back on a White Horse," you utilize a unique style of wordplay. How do you describe that style?

MC Paul Barman: I call it a double-acrostic or double-crostic. Big Daddy Kane was an early acrostic dropper with I Self Lord And Master (ISLAM) and King Asiatic Nobody's Equal (KANE). Wu-Tang said We Usually Take Anotha Nigga's Garments (WUTANG) and Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural
Game (WUTANG). In order to compete I had to innovate on the structure: rhyming across, down and inside. I break it down, here, in Pellet #1. (See video below and see "Owl Pellets" music video above.)
Amoeblog: Can you tell me why there is the recurring owl theme on the album?

MC Paul Barman: Hairy Moth Owl demanded it.    
Amoeblog: What is the connection between "The Moon" on your new album that features guest spots from Masta Ace, Del The Funky Homosapien, and C-Rayz Walz and the "The Sun" by Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon The Chef and Slick Rick?

MC Paul Barman: It's an answer song. When I heard "The Sun," I thought, "This is one of the greatest MC Paul Barmansongs I ever heard in my life. I will make the Moon." Best song on the album. Best posse cut since "Speak Ya Clout." I'm working on the picture book/storyboard this instant. And we are making another song with the same line-up plus a special addition.

Amoeblog: I love the whole production, and how varied it is, on the new album. I know Memory Man is one of the producers, but who else is responsible for production and who is credited with all the great scratching throughout? 

MC Paul Barman: Thank you! Producers are ?uestlove and James Poyser as Randy Watson Experience, DOOM, DJ Pocket, Michel Gondry, Memory Man (who did lots of skratching), Max Anomalous, the JBeez, Prince Paul, Mofo Snot and Casual-T, a DMC champion who recorded the vocals for much of the album and laid down the best and lengthiest skratching on an MC's LP since Dr. Octagon.

Amoeblog: Prince Paul, who you first came to fame with, also is featured on the new album. Exactly what did he do?

MC Paul Barman: He produced the "Get Along Song" and "Hot Guacamole."

MCPB Pellet  # 1: double-acrostic from Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

Amoeblog: The new album track "Losing A Puppy," which is such a beautiful song, is sung by Kimiko Ono-Bernard. Who is she and how did you end up collaborating with her?
MC Paul Barman
MC Paul Barman: Kimiko is wife to Jean-Michel Bernard, who often works as Michel Gondry's film composer. Together they also made Golden The Pony Boy for The Science of Sleep.
Amoeblog: Another pleasantly surprising collaborator of yours  is Michel Gondry. You are also working on another project with him. Can you tell me a bit about it and how it is to work with him?

MC Paul Barman: We are [the band] BEER. He plays drums and keys. I do song concepts and vocals. He demands I sing. We are now bringing our sons into the project.

Amoeblog: On "Go Sane" you talk about news being entertainment. Where do you see this agMC Paul Barmane of cable news and the 24 hour non-stop "news" cycle with little real news been parted going?

MC Paul Barman: Yes, especially as pertains to bad news. Rubberneckers slow everyone down. The conceit that we believe what we want to believe will be ever stronger.

Amoeblog: What specifically led you to address the issue of circumcision on your album?

MC Paul Barman: I have heard identical arguments from both gutter punks and high society. That's when you know people are brainwashed.

Can you explain your "outsular" style in relation to "insular?"

MC Paul Barman
: A Time magazine piece on (2002 album) Paullelujah said I liked talking about myself. I said, That's ridiculous. Then I looked over my tracklist and realized they were right. I vowed to gather information and ideas from outside myself and still be expressive. I rimeslated The End of Oil by Paul MC Paul BarmanRoberts. I researched cell radiation and depleted uranium for "Radiation" on the mixtape. "Sampling Law" and "Power" from the LP both use this style. When I applied the technique to Biography, I got a stronger reaction than Science. So far Rza, Weird Al and Joe Strummer.

Can you explain your morse code style executed on the new album?

MC Paul Barman:
This will be the substance of Youtube Pellet #2! I call it Morse Cadence, appearing in SCIENCE produced by Memory Man. The short syllables are dots and the long syllables are dashes. Thereby I am able to say two things at once.
Amoeblog: What is planned for you over the coming months and the year of 2010?

MC Paul Barman: Expanding the BIO RIMES. Finishing BEER. Videos. Music theory. Picture books. And

"AIDS" from Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud

Look for Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud at Amoeba and online at destinations including and (for limited vinyl) at

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