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What Had Happened Was

Author: Stony Island Audio, Starburns Ind.

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Open Mike Eagle Sits down with the legendary creators in hip-hop to discuss their life, impact, and legacy over the course of a season. Season one covers DJ Prince Paul (De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School). Season two covers El-P (Company Flow, Run the Jewels) Brought to you by Stony Island Audio.

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18 Episodes



Prince Paul opens up about his time with RZA and the Gravediggaz. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Prince Paul tells the story of producing De La Soul's first album. Along the way we hear how the group was formed, the creative direction behind the album, and how they fit into the burgeoning hip-hop community around them. From the invention of the 'skit' to the first major sampling lawsuit, it's the story of an album that changed the business of rap music forever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
A Prince Among Thieves

A Prince Among Thieves


In 1999 in the height of rap’s jiggy era Prince Paul made one of the most imaginative projects in music history. A Prince Among Thieves is a fully formed musical novel born from Paul’s creative vision and fueled by pain in his personal life. In this episode he walks us through the struggles of producing the album, the triumphs of completing it and how close he came to actually developing it into a full-length movie. Its the story of a naive and talented rapper named Tariq (played by Breezely Brewin) and it unfolds through rap songs featuring legends like Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul and many more  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Chris Rock and the Grammys

Chris Rock and the Grammys


As Chris Rock was skyrocketing to fame as a stand-up comic he worked with Prince Paul to release three comedy albums that were so innovative and impactful that each one of them won a Grammy award. Here Prince Paul tells the story of thinking he was being pranked when Chris reached out to him and walks us through the development of each of the albums, including the hit single ‘No Sex in the Champagne Room’.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In this loosies episode Prince Paul tells the story of working with these three legendary hip-hop acts and gives us a look inside each of their creative processes. Along the way we discuss 3rd Bass’s beef with MC Hammer, a potential full length collab with DOOM and the story of what the beats from Paul Barman’s ‘It’s Very Stimulating’ were originally intended for. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
De La Soul is Dead

De La Soul is Dead


In 1991 after the smash success of their debut album 3ft High and Rising, De La Soul and Prince Paul become household names and with that comes strangers harassing them with unwanted demo tapes, weird encounters at Burger King, and rumors being spread about the group. All of these problems are front and center on their second album, the brilliant De La Soul is Dead.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Paul began his journey in rap in 1977 as a DJ right when hip-hop was starting in New York. Shortly after that it turns into a career when he meets the rappers that would become the legendary group Stetsasonic. In this episode he tells the story of going from ‘sucker duck’ kid DJ to touring the world with Stetsasonic and the lessons that led him to strike out on his own with De La Soul. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Handsome Boy Modeling School

Handsome Boy Modeling School


In 1998 Prince Paul linked up with Dan The Automator (Dr. Octagon, Detlron 3030) and formed Handsome Boy Modeling School based on an episode of Chris Eliot’s 90s sitcom ‘Get A Life’. They made two albums featuring everyone from DJ Shadow to Father Guido Sarducci. Paul walks us through these collaborations including amazing stories about linking up with Pharell Williams to record him in a very unlikely location and why El-P was confused by the final version of the song he recorded on. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2003 after the mishandling of ‘A Prince Among Thieves’, Paul found himself in a dark space and made an album reflective of his negative feelings about the music industry. Devoid of his signature skits and melodic samples, Politics of the Business is Prince Paul at his most cynical. He tells the story of putting the album together, its critical/fan reception and how he feels about it now. (album features Dave Chappelle, Ice-T, Chuck D, Jean Grae, MF DOOM and more) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The music video for 1990’s ‘Buddy’ by De La Soul introduced the world to the Native Tongues collective. The crew consisted of Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, Queen Latifah, Monie Love and more. This collective was groundbreaking in that it made space for a freer and more individualistic image of rap stars at a critical time in rap history. It would go on to influence the rise of Common, Kanye West, J. Cole and more. Hear the story of the collective’s rise and slow dissolution from one of its key early members Prince Paul. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Buhloone Mindstate

Buhloone Mindstate


In 1993 De La Soul released Buhloone Mindstate which was their final album produced by Prince Paul. Filled with raw expression and lush jazz arrangements played live by James Brown's original backing band, the album sounds like none before or after it. The careers of Paul and De La Soul both took sharp turns after as they parted ways and attempted to carve out their own identities.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What Didnt Happen

What Didnt Happen


On the season finale of What Had Happened Was we talk with Prince Paul about what didnt happen in his long and storied career. From near miss collaborations with legendary artists to TV projects that ended before ever launching, these are the stories of what almost happened plus a look into the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
to kick off this season Open Mike Eagle and El-P dig into El's early life leading up to his first recordings and the forming of the seminal underground rap group Company Flow. Along the way we hear the story of his first encounter with the music business and how that informed the ’independent as f*ck’ aesthetic of his early releases. We then explore the record label bidding war that lands the group at legendary underground label Rawkus Records. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
on this episode El-P breaks down Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus LP. He discusses the origins of his unique approach to production and the changes between the EP version and the final commercial release, the alchemy of The Fire in Which You Burn, and the disagreements that eventually led to the dissolution of the group Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
in this episode El-P walks us through the launch of the legendary record label Def Jux. in the initial days of the label Company Flow disbands as El assembles the roster from standout artists in the underground rap scene like Mr. Lif, RJD2 and Aesop Rock. One of the first major releases is Cannibal Ox's classic debut The Cold Vein. El walks us through meeting the duo, putting the album together and unleashing it on the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Fantastic Damage

Fantastic Damage


in 2002 El-P released his solo debut LP Fantastic Damage to critical acclaim and unbridled fervor from underground rap fans that had been following El from Company Flow to the creation of Def Jux. In this episode El tells the stories behind celebrated songs like Stepfather Factory, Deep Space 9mm and Squeegee Man Shooting and he sets the record straight on the album's connection to the events of September 11th, 2001. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Def Jux Legacy

Def Jux Legacy


having covered El's production masterpiece in Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein and his breakthrough solo LP Fantastic Damage, we profile the artists and albums that are the tentpoles of El-P's artist-owned record label Def Jux. He tells the story of meeting and working with underground legends like Mr. Lif, Aesop Rock, RJD2 and more and explores the void left by the passing of friend and brilliant artist Camu Tao. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In 2007 El-P released his second solo album I'll Sleep When You're Dead. In this episode El tells the story of creating this project which he calls his favorite of his solo works. He details his excitement at collaborating with Trent Reznor and explains the stories behind tracks like Habeas Corpses, The Overly Dramatic Truth and Tasmanian Pain Coaster Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (3)


This is an amazing beginning of the second season. Thank you so much.

Mar 31st
Reply (1)

Chad the do gooder

cheers Mike! grinding out more quality content. Paul is a great partner. solid shows over here!

Sep 17th
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