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Baker's Dozen

Champion Versions: Steve Mason's Favourite Albums
Joe Clay , March 2nd, 2016 11:04

With his new solo album, Meet The Humans, just released, the prolific musician and former Beta Band man gives Joe Clay a tour of his record collection, meandering through electro, hip-hop, punk and more


Paris – Sleeping With The Enemy
Fucking hell, what an album. After we came out of the arse end of the rave scene in about '92, everybody got into what we called hardcore hip-hop. No one was into house music any more. The content of Sleeping With The Enemy is at least Dead Kennedys level of intelligence. If not more. It's so insightful, so clever. Can you imagine releasing a record like this now? I'm a man that told 40,000 Americans to shoot their own president – in Texas. We got banned from a lot of things and it caused us lots of problems. But you wouldn't say that now or you'd be kicked out of the country, if you were lucky. If you were unlucky they'd put a bullet in your head! Paris seemed much more hardcore than Public Enemy. Even in retrospect, I think this is the album that Chuck D always wanted to make, but I don't think he's as smart as Paris. He's not as insightful – and I'm only judging this by this album and some of the Public Enemy albums. But Paris joined all the dots. He seemed to really know his civil rights history. The enemy was not necessarily white people en masse, it was the power structure that existed – or does exist. It's a really exciting, brave record. He's still making records now.

I've always wanted to meet him. I saw him on a hip-hop radio show that was broadcast live on YouTube. I didn't really feel like they were asking Paris the right questions. He's super fucking smart and this radio DJ personality guy obviously knew his hip-hop but he didn't necessarily know his politics. A friend of mine, who used to tour manage the Beta Band and all the Def Jam artists, he worked with Paris and he told me that he gave up music for a while and went off and studied the stock exchange. He earned a shit load of money and then went back to where he lived and pumped all the money into the community, to education services for kids and stuff like this. I find things like that so impressive. I know loads of people who are into hip-hop, and one in ten of them has heard of Paris. Especially in America. He was bigger here.