The science of psych

Royal Family

Learning from your cool dad.

Saturday night I saw a hip hop show at Knitting Factory in Tribeca. The headliner was a Boston MC named Edan, but I was no less excited to see one of my favorite producers, Prince Paul, open for him. And PP did something new. For the first time, he performed with his 17-year-old son, Paul Fresh aka DJ P. Together they call themselves Negroes on Ice. Note the appropriate "Jesus was black" and "ICE COLD" tees.

Now, Prince Paul's been on the block for a hot minute (going back to Stetsasonic and De La Soul in the 1980's), and I imagine growing up with your dad being such a legend would earn a kid some props at school. DJ P also has his own skills as a DJ, and he's good looking to boot, so I'm sure he's got a healthy alpha male ego. But still, being 17 and performing with your dad on stage? That's enough to give a kid a breakdown. Not to mention that fact that Paul the Elder kept reaching over and tweaking Junior's sliders and knobs. I kept watching, waiting to see just a flash of an annoyed "Gah! Dad, get your hands off my consoles! I can do it myself!" look on his face. But not a one. He just kept bopping his head, switching up tracks, smiling at the audience. That is one cool cat.

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It's beautiful to see a parent pass his passion down to his offspring, and for them to meld their engagement so smoothly, but what blew me away was seeing a relationship where a teenager can take lessons from his dad in front of an audience. I could never have done that with my dad. I mean, we both love vinyl, but seriously, have you ever tried mixing Digital Underground with Roy Orbison?

Matthew Hutson is a science journalist in New York City.


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