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Handsome Boy Modelling School - So... How's Your Girl? A typically bonkers name for the typically bonkers Prince Paul, one-time member of the seminal Stetsasonic and collaborator with De La Soul and the Beasties. So... How's Your Girl sees him team up with fellow hip-hop auteur The Automator for a mix of old-school partyness and new-school experimentalism. For old school, read guest raps by the likes of Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and De La Soul's Trugoy, while '90s hepsters will prefer tracks by Alex Empire, DJ Shadow and for the soul smoothie Sunshine, Money Mark. According to the last track, "Handsome Boy Modelling School is the best $60 you ever spent." The price is wrong but the sentiment is on the money. Verdict: Old-Style throwdown with twist of the new 8/10 IJC
Comprised of Dan the Automator (aka Dr Octagon) and Prince Paul, you already know its going to be a good 'un. And it lives up to all expectations, superceding by far. This album contains some pretty raw beats, an some smooth lyrical prose, combining head bouncin' hip hop beats with some pretty mellow tracks. With artists such as Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Mike D, Sean Lennon, Dave of De La Soul, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, Roisin of Moloko and the almighty DJ Shadow, there is a diverse and brilliant diamond in the rough of todays hip hop. From the big-ass tunes 'Rock 'n' Roll' and 'Holy Calamity', to 'The Truth' ft Roisin, which is so reminiscent of Portishead, or perhaps an old jazz tune. There are also amusing interludes, with captions from the Handsome Boy Modelling School's students themselves, and various witty advertisings for example the dubious Father Guido Sarducci - 'handsome boy modelling school is the best $60 I everpent' 'Prince Paul and Automator made me the model I am today' 'If it wasnt for them, i would still have $60' This isnt just an album for the hardcore hip hoppers - anyone will enjoy it. Ok, your granny may have difficulties keeping up with some of the beats, but there are even a few samples she may enjoy on there. Seriously though, it was the first real hip hop album I everbought, and remains one of my favourites. It introduced me to other artists as well and broadened my musical tastes. You wont regret buying this album, and you wont 'lose' it after a few tired weeks. Its good - honestly! I would reccommend it to anyone.
The debut album 'So .... How's your girl?' by two artists, brought about a collaboration between Prince Paul and Dan Nakamura, often described as the most innovative hip-hop producers. You will not be able to listen to this without getting the songs in your head for a long time. I'm not a particular hip-hop fan, but I love this album. I came to it having heard the sublime track featuring Roisin from Moloko, 'The Truth'. This still remains one of the best songs I have heard all year, with a vaguely melancholy but dramatic piano drenched melody, and Roisins amazing voice. This album uses the theme of the modelling school throughout, with two main tracks dedicated to it, 'Look At This Face' and 'Modelling sucks'. Both sample kitsch voices of young men from TV that can only come from 50s American sitcoms. It reminds me a lot of 'Loaded' by Primal Scream, in that respect, but the combination of Beethoven and a thumping beat in the background is very different, amusing and interesting. I think the reason I love this album so much is that it reaches so many different levels. You don't have to be "in the hood", so to speak, to know what its all about. It features many, probably famous (I am somewhat naive in this field), artists, particularly (whom I have heard of, thanks!) DJ Shadow. It is imaginative and experimental, but also very creative. The artists create excellent music, and at the same time never take themselves too seriously. There are different 'characters' within the album, for instance, the Father, who features in the background of some songs, but arises at the end to exclaim things like 'Thanks to Handsome Boy Modelling School I am the best runway model in the whole of the Balkans' and 'If it wasn't for Handsome Boy Modelling school I would still have $60' and 'Go to Handsome Boy Modelling school -you won't be sorry for long', in
a rather dubious accent. Handsome Boy Modelling School was the best £13.99 I ever spent. If it wasn't for Handsome Boy Modelling school I would still have £13.99. Go and buy it, it's a must for any appreciator of music.
The Handsome Boy Modeling School are represented by Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Merryweather, two hip-hop heavyweights you might know better as Prince Paul ("3 Feet High & Rising") and Dan the Automator (Dr Octogan). For this album, they've drawn together a diverse and impressive range of collaborators, including Sean Lennon, Money Mark, Mike D, Grand Puba, Sadat X and DJ Shadow. If, like me, you pick up on this release for the DJ Shadow connection, there really is much more to enjoy on the album than his contribution of cut-up raucousness, 'Holy Calamity'. Much of the album is far straighter hip-hop than you would find on "Endtroducing..." 'Megaton B-Boy 2000' roughs you up mighty noisily, and 'Rock 'n' Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This)', erm, rocks. Obviously. But the School are happy to try new styles - 'Metaphysical' and 'Sunshine' are two laid-back concoctions which drift past with the ease of happy sleepwalkers. Elsewhere the jazz-piano slink of 'The Truth', featuring a smoky Roisin of Moloko, treads a similar path to Portishead's "Dummy", and it's deserving of the comparison. But there are many smart contributions, all drawn together into a well-tailored whole. Try it on, see how it suits.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro Feat Father Gudio Sarducci
2 If It Wasnt For You Feat De La Soul And Starchild Excalibur
3 Are You Down With It Feat Mike Patton
4 The Worlds Gone Mad Feat De The Funky Homosapien, Barrington Levy And Alex Kapranos
5 Dating Game Feat Tim Meadows, Hines Buchanan Adn Introducing Neelam
6 Breakdown Feat Jack Johnson
7 Its Like That + Skit Feat Casual
8 Ive Been Thinking Feat Cat Power
9 Rock And Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) Part 2 + Skit Feat Lord Finesse, Mike Shonoda, Chester Bennington, Rahzel, Qbert, Grand Wizard Theo
10 The Hours Feat El P & Cage
11 Class System Feat Pharrell Williams & Julee Cruise
12 First .....And Then Feat Dres
13 A Day In The Life + Skit Feat Rza, Cedric Bixler, Omar Rodriguez, & Ag
14 Greatest Mistake Feat John Oates & Jamie Cullem
15 Dating Game Part 2 Feat Tim Meadows, Hines Buchanan & Neelam