“What made you pick that song in particular, especially for our first album?” Prince Paul asked.
“Just as a single it was a song that we heard and we felt, and it felt good, and it felt happy,” Posdnuos said, remembering how “Peg” just clicked for him when he first heard it as an 8-year-old in the Bronx. “But it was also very rhythmic, like the bass driving. It felt like an R&B record, to be quite honest. You could easily connect to it.”
“Did it feel dated or anything at the time?” Prince Paul asked in a follow-up question.
“Not at all,” Posdnuos said. “It felt like a classic joint; it’s timeless. I look at that song as a timeless record to now be applied to what we were doing. I didn’t look at it as an older record to now breathe some life into it.”
“33 ⅓” is the latest music-focused production from Spotify, joining the likes of ““Black Girl Songbook” and “No Skips with Jinx and Shea” and fitting snugly into Spotify’s larger podcast ambitions. Other episodes in the 12-episode season feature an eclectic mix of albums and guests including Janet Jackson’s “Velvet Rope” and the singer-songwriter Victoria Monét, David Bowie’s “Low” and the rapper Danny Brown, and Metallica’s “Metallica” (best known as the Black Album) and the Hole drummer Patty Schemel.
Deciding which albums to feature — there are more than 150 books in the Bloomsbury series — was not “super calculated,” said Yasi Salek, the show’s producer. Instead, the focus is on “what would be really fun to bring to life.” Choosing the guests, however, involved a more thoughtful process. Salek said she looked for guests who knew the artist, were involved in the making of the project or have talked about the album’s influence on them. In the “Velvet Rope” episode, Monét tells Prince Paul how Jackson was a role model for her. “I needed to see that as a young girl just to be able to look at her and see myself,” she said.
In keeping with his uncalculated approach to his career, Prince Paul is hands off when it comes to the decision-making process, saying he’s open to whatever is sent his way. Which helps explain the riotous, and expletive-filled, exploration of Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion” I & II with Sebastian Bach of Skid Row and Riki Rachtman, co-owner of the Hollywood nightclub The Cathouse (a magnet for heavy metal bands till its closing in 1993). It’s a record that doesn’t quite fall in Prince Paul’s wheelhouse — he opens the episode by letting the audience know that his “knowledge of metal and rock are limited” — but the choice underscores his willingness to be a student.