Rapping Bout’ The Re-Creation of a Renaissance Man
HOUSTON – Houston Rapper Paul Wall has taken on a new focus from just spittin’ and pressing the latest rap beats to playing a new song in the keys of Life – Being a Dad.
He said that his role as a father has changed his focus on what really is important in life.
“Being a Dad made me realize things and push the reset button on my life,” he said. “I have spent time rethinking my life and seek to be the best father and role model I know how to be.”
Before as a young and upcoming artist, he experienced great successes and thought he could measure happiness through the music, the money and material things that came his way.
From the age of 15 to 35, it marked a journey that has remade him new. He has become the re-creation of a renaissance man.
The Man, Music & Success
According to his Billboard.com biography written by Andy Kellman, Rovi , the MC and DJ Paul Wall (born Paul Slayton) grew up as a hardcore disciple of fellow Houstonian DJ Screw and became so familiar with the pioneering DJ’s woozy, slowed-down style of remixing that he had to adjust to hearing hip-hop at any other tempo.
Prior to making a nationwide breakout in 2005 with a guest spot on Mike Jones’ “Still Tippin'” and his Swishahouse/Atlantic Records debut, The Peoples Champ, Wall was involved with promotional street teams, DJ’ed parties, put together underground mixtapes, and was half of the Color Changin’ Click with Chamillionaire.
He recorded 2002’s Get Ya Mind Correct with his partner, and then followed that with 2004’s solo Chick Magnet.
Controversy Sells, another disc billed to Wall and Chamillionaire, hit the streets in early 2005, just months before Wall kicked off support for the chart-topping Peoples Champ LP with “Sittin’ Sideways.”
Two years later, Get Money, Stay True was introduced by the single “Break Em’ Off” with Lil’ Keke.
Changing labels with the rest of the Swishahouse family, his first album for Asylum, Fast Life, followed in 2009.
A year later, The Heart of a Champion arrived with blink-182 drummer Travis Barker handling production on half the tracks.
In early 2012 he dropped the mixtape No Sleep Til Houston, which was picked up for an official release by the Fontana label late that same year. Affiliated throughout the years with Paid in Full and Swishahouse, Wall has also held down a lucrative business as a maker of diamond-laced grillz. His clientele includes Lil Jon and T.I.
His 2014 LP The Po-Up Poet was a collaboration with producer June “The Jenius” James, while 2015 saw the release of Slab God, an album that featured Snoop Dogg, Devin the Dude, and Curren$y as guests.
A year later, Wall returned with his ninth LP, The Houston Oiler, which included appearances from fellow H-Town icons like Z-Ro, Chamillionaire, and Slim Thug.
The Turning Point
In his youth, Walls genre of Rap focused on the money and material and party lifestyles of the rich and famous – only to discover that all of it is fleeting and does not offer lasting personal and financial gratification.
He also said much of his early music represented somewhat of an escape from the pains of growing up being mistreated and abused.
According to Wall, many walk around with the demons and ghosts of their past for years and that they can haunt you on a regular basis.
Some of the physical, mental and verbal abuses remains as fresh as though they happened yesterday.
It is those demons that help shape and develop young adult ideas about love and relationships and can distort the natural and civil way to define and have a healthy relationship.
He said as he has aged and become a family man, it has changed and made him more of a role model and example to his child and other youth and with that said, more responsible about his words and how he uses them and expresses himself as an artist.
“Its a do-over where we are putting our best feet forward,” he said. “Young in the game, I traveled in a single lane, spoke and played childish, but now as an adult, I have grown up and am not following foolish trends. I am traveling my own route now.”
He also said the age of macho-ism and the threat of violence has made the world too dangerous for kids to even walk to the streets in some neighborhoods.
He added that violence, murder and the role guns play in society playing too large a role in shaping the way youth are thinking and living.
“The macho mentality is dangerous,” he said. “We must change the way we handle conflicts between one another and change our thinking.”
Maturation Leads To Change
Part of that maturation process also meant a change in the focus of his music.
His new genre focuses on a new way to express oneself as a more creative rap artist in the 21st Century.
The new music has a new emphasis and direction being a four-fold focus on responsible music that is positive, motivational, inspirational and life conversational.
“We want to send better messages about women…,” he said. “We want to reset the meter with music and messages that are more positive and teach a better way to look at life, the woman and family life.”
All the music success in the world is no substitute for family life with his wife Crystal, a daughter and son.
“It not about flossing gold, jewelry and driving nice cars and living the fast life anymore,” he said. “The goal is to build a lasting legacy that focuses on respect and building better families and quality of life in communities.”
Walls awareness as the father of a daughter and son has him seeking to protect them while being an example to both, other kids and working in the community in numerous volunteer projects to encourage other families and help make all communities safer for families and children.
Conclusion of the Whole Matter
“We must be concerned about the world we are leaving to our children,” he said. “We live in a show me world and social media demands we present ourselves a certain way. We must teach our children that life is not about money, the material things or outdoing and out competing the next guy by showing off what you have. Its about being responsible with what you have and helping the family and the neighborhood be best it can be.”
By: Darwin Campbell