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MC Paul Barman

It's almost an understatement to say that New Jersey-native MC Paul Barman defies hip-hop convention. Rail thin and lily white with a mop of curly hair hanging off his head, Barman plays the geek image to the hilt. His off-kilter verses and exuberant, loquacious delivery almost seem like a put-on, but the Brown graduate has a disarming charm and comes with serious credentials. Soon after he released his debut EP in 1998, Barman attracted critical attention from heavyweights like the New York Times and Rolling Stone and found the opportunity to work with a number of respected artists, including Prince Paul, Masta Ace, and the Automator. Following the release of his debut album, 2002's Paullelujah!, he seemed to disappear from the limelight, but he made guest appearances on albums by artists such as Open Mike Eagle and Kool Keith, and sporadically released mixtapes and full-lengths, including 2009's Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud and 2018's Echo Chamber. Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1974, Barman was heavily influenced by '80s and '90s hip-hop artists such as De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan, MC Lyte, and the Jungle Brothers. His self-released 1998 EP, Postgraduate Work, caught the attention of the legendary Prince Paul, who produced Barman's first widely distributed EP. It's Very Stimulating was released in early 2000 by prestigious underground label Wordsound. Barman's unconventional rapping was bolstered by his aptitude for storytelling and the release's hilarious, self-deprecating anecdotes. An additional single, How Hard Is That?, was issued by Matador that year, and Barman made a memorable appearance on Deltron 3030, as well as on albums by Mr. Dead and Masta Ace. In 2002, Barman released his first full-length, Paullelujah!, on Coup d'Etat. Following the album's release, Barman took some time off from the recording studio, but he taught a hip-hop class to high school students, in addition to getting married and starting a family. He issued the mixtape Full Buck Moon Kaboom in 2008, and teamed back up with producers Prince Paul, ?uestlove, MF Doom and Memory Man to release Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud in 2009. During the 2010s, he appeared on multiple albums by Open Mike Eagle as well as L'Orange and Kool Keith's Time? Astonishing! Following a 2017 mixtape, Blue Moon Kaboom, Barman's third full-length, Echo Chamber, was released by Mello Music Group.
© Martin Woodside & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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