Paris – The Devil Made Me Do It

paris-the-devil-made-me-do-it-back-n-the-day-buffetParis released his debut album “The Devil Made Me Do It” on October 9, 1990.  The album was produced by Paris and D.R. and was released on Tommy Boy Records.

When Paris first released “Break the Grip of Shame“, I was moved by his voice and the dark guitar riff and bass groove in the song!  It was gritty and serious!  The man was the Black Panther of Hip Hop and coming from the bay area, it was a perfect fit! His pro-Black lyrics made the casual Hip Hop fan listen and stop dancing.  Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions made a significant impact on Paris’s life just by listening to the lyrics of this song.

With a raised fist I resist
I don’t burn, so don’t you dare riff
Or step to me, I’m strong and black and proud
And for the (bullshit) I ain’t down
Life in the city’s already rough enough
Without some young sucka runnin up
You don’t know me, so don’t step
I roll to the right and then bust your lip
Paris is my name, I don’t sleep
I drop science, and keep the peace
Here to bust this for better justice
Another dope Scarface release
This is a serious style for the gifted
Pro-black radical rap’s uplifting
Still growing, the power’s so strong
You can’t stop it, now

When the title track was released, I was ready for the album.  Paris is a mix of Public Enemy and N.W.A, since he speaks as a member of the Five Percent Nation and yet turns around and says he’ll beat the shit out of you!  Listening to “The Devil Made Me Do It“, I quickly realized that he was speaking about the “white man” and the atrocities applied towards black people.  It was so controversial that MTV refused to play the video.  I was able to first see it on Pump It Up, and I rewound that VHS tape over and over again.  It’s when we get to the end of the song with the “Planet of the Apes” sample that it gets creepy!

P-Dog with a gift from heaven
Tempo 116.7
Keeps you locked in time with the program
When I get wild I pile on dope jams
Then spit on your flag and government
Cause help the black was a concept never meant
Nigga please, foodstamps and free cheese
Can’t be the cure for a sick disease
Just the way the devil had planned it
Rape then pillage everyone on the planet
Then give ’em fake gods at odds with Allah
Love thy enemy and all that hoopla
Hear close to the words I wrote
Crack, cocaine are genocide on black folk
Who in their right mind ever could’ve missed this?
Damn right when you think seditious
And I move swiftly, you can’t get with me
The triple six moved quick but missed me
When I came off involved in conscience
So don’t ask why next time I start this

I remember being 19 and getting my hand on this classic album.  By this time, cd’s were the new technology, and this was one of the first cd’s I ever purchased.  I popped it in the boombox and “Scarface Groove” comes on!  The sinister baseline get’s me ever single time!

On “Panther Power“, Paris get’s on his Black Panther soap box podium and spits some of the dopest afro-centric bars you have ever heard!   It doesn’t matter what color you are, this song will make you put a fist in the air!

Now hear the growl, I’m proud to be black
Built to step up and not to step back
Too full grown to allow a gay move
Step to the dog and I show and prove
Ten point program jams that flow and
Pigs end belly up, stopped in motion
Who’s more brutal than a panther unleashed?
Paris, made to keep the peace
Some duck style when I come inside
Bougies’ll pray I get played and fried
But I’m too smart to start with the cold feet
No-Doz shows, the P don’t sleep
Comin to the place all in your cave when
Panther Power protects the citizen
Come on, step for the movement
DJ Mad, hit ’em with that Panther Power

One of my favorite tracks on this album is the minute and 7 second long “Warning” where he describes a teenager getting beat up by a couple of cops.  Paris don’t play so you know that ish got “equalized”.

Yo, a sissy cop in the hood
Shakin a brother down, thinkin he ain’t no good
“What’s your name, what you standin here for?
Thought I told ya not to come around no more”
Man I wasn’t doin’ nothin’, why ya fuckin wit me?
Shut up punk don’t question authority!
Up against the wall, hands in the air
Just wants the punk to fear
Right about then mo’ suckas came around
Put the young brother into the ground
Hollerin talkin that ignorant bullshit
Grabbin his arm, tryin to break his wrist
A god damn shame and he’s only thirteen
Five to one is a pussy’s dream
But yo man I ain’t goin out like that
Young G to the house and get the gat
Then BOOM BOOM BOOM now shit is equalized
Will when you suckas realize?
Black people simply ain’t havin that
We just hit back

When Yusef Hawkins got murdered in New York, the Hip Hop nation would rally around the incident and speak about on racial discrimination.  Paris did the same on the track “The Hate That Hate Made“.

June 6th in the time of six o’clock
Hot summer night in the city of hard knocks
Two black brothers took a walk in the Southside
Could’ve been any brother lookin for a dope ride
Seein a white girl wasn’t in the plan
But the plan had plans of it’s own for a brother man
A bad case of the right place at the right time
Makes you just ask why?
I guess you suppose you know what a nigga do
To a female that was meant for you
Jealous cause your girlfriend screwin a black man
So you bust caps on an innocent bystand
But I guess we all look the same
A God damn shame you don’t know my name
Musta just been two blacks so the payback
Fit the ID for someone like me
But you see I don’t think like you do
I come much sicker with the retribut’
Rollin twenty-five deep, troop down in a parking lot
Ready movin steady when I bust your spot, huh
You dumb motherfuckers just don’t know me
You don’t control me, so leave me lonely
Step and be prone to a cap to the dome
I don’t quit (gunshot) I’ll start tearin up shit
This is a Scarface set and no snakes allowed
Keep the pace ready set brothers rollin out
Packin a Mac-10, strapped and capped in
Now who’s to blame, for the hate that hate made?

He also goes after wack mc’s on “Wretched” where he flows over a beat reminiscent of a Brand Nubian track.  The track starts off oddly enough with a sample of the “Star Spangled Banner” and a Lyn Collins drum track.

In the mood of the move I’m showin
See the way the cliches have been torn
Cold spittin facts to the miracle earth born
So what’s your next move, black?
Go to school or maybe join a frat
Still you seem lost, the mind is brainwashed
It can’t be good cause your mind’s the cost
So flip on your Young MC
Or Jazzy Jeff or whatever the case be
Mindless music for the masses makes ya
Think less of the one that hates ya
Then trained to respect the game
And you turn your back on a black with the same claim
Oh blessed but you guess they mean less
Because another brother can’t afford to dress
The way you do but who said you’re all that?
Made a little money now your skin ain’t black?
C’mon I don’t think your shit don’t stink
You can’t run from the one whose primal instinct
Is to fought the words I taught ya
Thought you moved quick but I just caught ya
Now you try to say that you don’t remember me
I’m P-Dog from the B.P. posse
Or a mob, that’s known as Scarface
Pro-black, and some think pro-hate
But in fact it’s a call for unity
Heed the plea of weak we’re soon to be

The album as a collection is one of the greatest afro-centric albums in Hip Hop history. The album is politically and racially charged and will have you thinking more than dancing. In fact, I don’t think you can dance to anything off this album.  The beats and bass lines all sound dark and sinister, and the extended remixes for the title track and “Break The Grip” are what makes this album stand out and cop it!  Listening to this album and seeing what’s going on in the world right now, makes me like this album even more.  We salute you Paris, on this anniversary of your debut album!  PEACE!

-Al E.

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