Thursday, Feb 20 2003 | 12:23

Paul Nathaniel Barman aka MC Paul Barman grew up in the suburban splendor of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Even as a child he dreamed of being an architect of dialect. During a summer camp field trip, Paul purchased the Dead Kennedys’ Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death and De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising. These tapes flipped his five-sided cage upside down. The roof became the floor, and the new roof was open.

Years later, when he heard the combination of Wu-Tang’s intense wordplay and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s exuberant energy, Paul’s sketchbooks began to go from drawings to lyrics.

In 1998, Househusband Records released “Postgraduate Work,” Paul’s self-produced 7″. It included the dusted, yet intelligent, “Enter Pan-Man” about a slimy recent college graduate who gets horn and hoof implants to become a marginal star, eventually retiring to Westchester as a bad dad with arthritis.

“Enter Pan-Man” caught the ears of left-field hip-hop producer Prince Paul, who offered Barman the chance to work with him on a project. The result of their collaboration, It’s Very Stimulating (Wordsound, 2000), introduced Paul to the public sphere as a heavy lyricist, rhyming about school, politics, and comedic sexcapades. The 6-track EP contained gems such as “I make the most anti-choice grannies’ panties moist.” “The Joy of Your World” ends with the protagonist unwrapping a gold coin condom only to find chocolate Chanukah gelt. Until it became too expensive, Paul threw the gold foil mixture of coins and condoms into the audience. Rolling Stone gave it four stars and named it one of their Best Albums of Year. Wordsound allowed him to parody the original album cover for its second pressing (which you can see here).

After Matador released the 12″, “How Hard is That,” produced by PM Dawn, Paul cameoed on Deltron 3030 (75 Ark), Mr. Dead’s Metabolics (Wordsound), Masta Ase’s Disposable Arts (Jcor), and Cubismo Graphico’s remix album (Escalator). Paul has toured with Del the Funkee Homosapien, Blackalicious, and Dalek.

Now, Paullelujah!, his first full-length album, is finally ready. He signed with Coup d’Etat in early 2001, the New York label that is also home to J-Live. He has spent the last year making Paullelujah! in New York and San Francisco. The album unleashes a graduation speech (“Paullelujah”), filthy storytelling (“N.O.W.”, “Cock Mobster”), a field trip to fantasy (“Vulture Shark Sculpture Park”), departures in the form of talking blues and Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz, science rhymes (“Burping and Farting”), and the first recorded palindromic rhyme.

In addition to rhyming, Paul is an accomplished illustrator and puzzle maker, published in the New York Times Book Review, Games Magazine, Spin, While You Were Sleeping, Flyer, Shout NY, and Bowel Movement Quarterly. Paul’s Orko Alphabet is in the Rhode Island School of Design Library’s artists’ books collection. He sat on CMJ’s Panel on Creative Genius and hosted shows on WBRU-Providence and WXDU-Durham.

Visit Paul Barman at www.mcpaulbarman.com

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