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Innovative Life

Arabian Prince

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Album Review

An overdue overview that is era-specific instead of career-spanning, Innovative Life compiles several Arabian Prince productions originally released in the 12" format on Rapsur, Street Kut, and Techno Kut, along with the fruit of a dalliance with the early N.W.A. As detailed in the phenomenal liner notes, this disc sheds a spotlight not just on Arabian Prince but the West Coast, which tends to get a very short shrift throughout coverage of electro and pre-gangsta-era hip-hop. Not all of the content here is gold — "Strange Life," the first single, is a limp curiosity, recorded with musicians who knew much more about Poco than P-Funk — but plenty of it rates with any of Arabian's Kraftwerk/Bambaataa-spawned brethren on the East Coast, not to mention his fellow L.A. scene running mate, Egyptian Lover. All the ingredients of classic electro are present — the bounding machine beats, synthesizers set to either "paranoid" or "assault," cyborg vocals, wordplay that switches from the sci-fi-obsessed to the playfully (rather than crudely) lecherous. (The timeline here cuts off just before Arabian cut "It's Time to Bone.") The most noteworthy missing track would be J.J. Fad's "Supersonic," easily the most well-known Arabian production, but anyone around at the time of its release can likely replay it in his or her head from start to finish.

Biography

Born: 17 June 1965 in Compton, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Though he's known mostly (if at all) for his early membership in N.W.A., the Arabian Prince had been a producer and DJ since the early '80s, which undoubtedly helped him sustain his career after leaving N.W.A.. He began in the music business while still in middle school, recording mixtapes during after hours at KACE radio (where his father worked) and DJing school dances as well as the occasional club date. Arabian Prince began recording his own tracks during 1982-1983, and co-produced Bobby Jimmy...
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Innovative Life, Arabian Prince
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