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So.. Hows Your Girl?

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Album Review

The concept behind Handsome Boy Modeling School — if you separate it from its origins in a Chris Elliott sitcom — can be taken as a subtle parody of hip-hop's player affectations: two geeky producers masquerading as jet-set male models. Given that framework, and the fact that those two producers are eccentric geniuses Prince Paul and Dan the Automator, you might expect So...How's Your Girl? to be a goof from top to bottom. And that isn't the case. The album ends up as more of a showcase for their eclecticism, tailoring productions to their collaborators and creating a colorful universe where classicist rap, turntablism, trip-hop, and electronica all get along comfortably. Parts of the album are surprisingly atmospheric, and rely more on the texture of the sound than the star power of the guest — which makes sense for a producer's album. The finished product does lack some of the sheer craziness one might have anticipated, but the meatiness of the best music also keeps the Elliott-centered comedic interludes from turning the project into a mere novelty. The DJ cuts — the duo's own "Rock n' Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This)" and the DJ Shadow/DJ Quest team-up "Holy Calamity (Bear Witness II)" — are some of the most exciting tracks on the album, and of the rappers, Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Brand Nubian's Grand Puba and Sadat X turn in the most memorable performances. The electronic collaborations range the farthest afield, and provide some of the most intriguing highlights — especially the bluesy trip-hop of "The Truth," featuring Moloko crooner Roisin Murphy. Meanwhile, Alec Empire and El-P — each arguably the most abrasive experimentalist in his field — live up to their billing on the massively distorted "Megaton B-Boy 2000." It's true that a few of the quirkier experiments never quite get off the ground, but by and large, So...How's Your Girl? is packed with imaginative, intriguing music.

Customer Reviews

Real hip hop, not no phoney franchise!

Mmm, great artists collaborate to bring you a classic!!! Super tight beats from Automater and Prince Paul! Del, Grand Puba, Miho Hattori, Roisin, DJ Shadow, Alec Empire... There's something for everyone . Favourite tracks: Magnetizing, The Projects, Waterworld, and The Truth!! Cop this and support real hip hop!!!

White people

Their other album "White People" is just as good. Prince Pauly and Automater bring a real sense of what hip hop means. Not the pop stuff you hear on the radio today. Give 'em a try you won't regret it. "Magnetizing" would be a good start or try "If it wasn't for you" on "White people". On the real though, just take it in and breathe.

One of the Most Important Concept Albums in Hip-Hop History

Although the album was released 15 years ago, it remains as fresh and relevant now as it did then.

From the incredible MPC production work to the breadth of guest artists appearing on various tracks, "HBMS" represents unique musical styling, writing, composition, creative sampling, and honesty in a period of hip-hop dominated by shiny suits and monotonous hooks.

Without Prince Paul and Dan the Automator, hip-hop concept albums from modern artists such as Action Bronson and Harry Fraud, Prodigy (Mobb Deep) and The Alchemist, and Kendrick Lamar wouldn't exist. "HBMS" opened up the realm for experimentation in hip-hop; talent took precedence over commercial viability, which was missing in 1999.

Like most concept projects, the album is meant to be listened to from start to finish. Spend the money and purchase the album in whole as it was intended. You'll laugh at the voice-over bits and nod your head at the bangers. The album is the perfect gem for any music collection.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Handsome Boy Modeling School was a teaming of quirky super-producers Prince Paul (best-known for his work with De la Soul and Stetsasonic) and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura (fresh off his underground success with Kool Keith's Dr. Octagon album). Taking their name from an episode of the cult Chris Elliott sitcom Get a Life (which was sampled several times on their album), Paul and Dan adopted the über-stylish alter egos of Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Merriweather, respectively. Their debut album,...
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So.. Hows Your Girl?, Handsome Boy Modeling School
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