Oscar Jackson, Jr. (born October 29, 1967), better known by his stage name Paris, is an American rapper from San Francisco, California, known for his highly charged political and socially conscious lyrics. Influenced by the Black Panthers, he was once a member of the Nation of Islam.
Paris became known in the US in 1990 with his hit single The Devil Made Me Do It and album of the same name, after earning a bachelor's degree in economics from UC Davis. Originally released on Tommy Boy Records, his first single was banned by MTV.
When his second album, Sleeping with the Enemy, was ready for release in 1992, Paris was dropped from now-defunct Tommy Boy Records (since rechristened Tommy Boy Entertainment in 2002) and distributor Warner Bros. Records, owned by Time Warner, when the parent company discovered its incendiary content, which included fantasy revenge killings of then-President Bush and racist police officers. Also problematic was the album's insert, which featured the artist waiting behind a tree, holding a Tec 9, as the president was waving to the crowd. Paris eventually released the LP himself on his newly formed Scarface Records. Also in 1992, Paris contributed to industrial music band Consolidated's 1992 album Play More Music with the track "Guerrillas in the Mist."
Paris signed a major artist and distribution deal with Priority Records for himself and Scarface Records in 1993 and released his third LP, Guerrilla Funk, and several then up-and-coming groups, most notably The Conscious Daughters. Paris and Priority formally severed their business relationship due to creative differences in 1995, and in 1997, Paris signed a one-off deal with now-defunct Whirling Records (distributed by Rykodisc) for the release of his 4th LP, Unleashed, which was released in small numbers with little promotion. The album contained some very explicitly violent and racially charged verses, and while less overtly political as earlier efforts, the lyrics explicitly describe racial violence when confronted with the same. The album was also released in Europe with a different track list, featuring songs from 1994, 1996 and 1998, some of which were more in the style of his earlier releases. Becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the music industry, Paris retired from recording and worked as a stockbroker, cementing his personal wealth allowing him to independently finance the next stage of his musical endeavors.
In 2003, Paris returned with the album, Sonic Jihad. The album continued his tradition of controversial cover art, evoking images of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it depicts a plane flying toward the White House. Its content is equally radical and covers many topics, including the war on terror, the war in Iraq, police brutality, black-on-black violence, conditions in inner-city communities, the Illuminati, and state sponsored terrorism. Other politically minded hip hop artists were featured on the album, including Kam, Dead Prez, and Public Enemy. Sonic Jihad was the catalyst for the creation of Paris' new label and web site, Guerrilla Funk Recordings, a home for projects and material of such notable acts as dead prez and Public Enemy.
Paris' anti-war anthem "What Would You Do?" (from Sonic Jihad) accuses the US government of perpetrating the September 11, 2001, attacks, saying, "Ain't no terror threat, unless approval rating's slumpin'. So I'ma say it for the record we the ones that planned it, ain't no other country took a part or had they hand in it". The song is featured on the Peace Not War, Vol. 2 compilation album as well. Later that same year, Paris also appeared on Anybody Killa's Hatchet Warrior album as well with Monoxide from Twiztid on a track entitled "Ghetto Neighbor."
In 2005, Paris completed a project with Public Enemy, Rebirth of a Nation, the title both a reference to the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation, controversial for its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan and its racist portrayal of African Americans, and PE's 1988 classic It Takes a Nation of Millions.... Although Chuck D was the primary vocal performer, Paris penned and produced the bulk of the album, which also featured N.W.A's MC Ren, Immortal Technique, Kam, dead prez, and The Conscious Daughters.
In 2006, Paris also released Paris presents Hard Truth Soldiers, Vol. 1, the first in a Paris-produced compilation series that touched on subjects ranging from war and police brutality to black-on-black crime and domestic violence. It showcased contributions from Public Enemy, the Coup, dead prez, Paris, T-K.A.S.H., Kam, The Conscious Daughters, Mystic, MC Ren, Sun Rise Above, and the S.T.O.P. Movement (Mobb Deep, Tray Deee, Soopafly, KRS-One, Defari, Daz, J-Ro, RBX, Bad Azz, WC, Dilated Peoples, Mac Minister, The Alchemist, Mack 10, Evidence, Defari, Everlast, and B-Real), among others.
In addition, Paris introduced the world to former Coup-member T-K.A.S.H. later that year, releasing his debut offering, Turf War Syndrome, and handling production duties as well.
In 2007, Paris released the follow-up companion piece to Rebirth of a Nation, the Public Enemy collaboration Remix of a Nation, and began laying the framework for the film division of Guerrilla Funk Recordings.
Paris inked a distribution deal with Fontana/Universal for Guerrilla Funk (with movies through Vivendi) in late 2007, and released his next album, Acid Reflex, featuring Chuck D. and George Clinton, in 2008.
In 2009, Paris released Paris Presents: Hard Truth Soldiers, Vol. 2, the sophomore project from T-K.A.S.H., Brains All Over The Streets, and the latest offering from The Conscious Daughters, The Nutcracker Suite.
Paris not only writes and produces songs, but also publishes information about ways to improve inner-city communities. Numerous articles can be found on various subjects in the Thought Box section of Guerrilla Funk's website.
In 2010, Paris was featured in the musical documentary, Sounds Like a Revolution, and in 2011 was featured on the Insane Clown Posse's Featuring Freshness LP. He performed at that year's Gathering of the Juggalos, and later at the Amsterdam Hiphopfestival in Amsterdam.
Paris' production continues to be in high demand, and lately his original material has been featured in various Hollywood productions, his most recent being End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, and 2014's Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner.
In November 2014, he released a video single, "Night of the Long Knives," which called for an increased unity in the black and brown communities and the adoption of the eye-for-an-eye philosophy toward racist police aggression and brutality in the wake of the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri and other high-profile shooting deaths.
In August 2015, Paris released his second video single, "Buck, Buck, Pass," a commentary on gun violence, its often ignored racial implications and its after effects.
Paris' third single and video, "Hard Truth Soldier (Redux)" was released in November 2015.
Paris became an official contributor to Vice Media in June 2016, beginning his ongoing relationship with that outlet to provide political and entertainment insights on current events from an urban perspective.
On September 5, 2016, Paris performed at Hiero Day in Oakland, CA - hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics' annual block party celebrating Bay Area indie music, food and culture. In October 2016, Guerrilla Funk released videos for "Lethal Warning Shot" and "Power," the 4th and 5th singles from Paris' acclaimed Pistol Politics release.
- 1990: The Devil Made Me Do It
- 1992: Sleeping with the Enemy
- 1994: Guerrilla Funk
- 1998: Unleashed
- 2003: Sonic Jihad
- 2008: Acid Reflex
- 2015: Pistol Politics
- 1990: "Break the Grip of Shame"
- 1990: "The Devil Made Me Do It"
- 1992: "The Days of Old"
- 1992: "Assata's Song"
- 1994: "Guerrilla Funk"
- 1994: "One Time fo' Ya Mind"
- 1994: "Outta My Life"
- 2008: "Don't Stop the Movement"
- 2014: "Night of the Long Knives"
- 2015: "Buck, Buck, Pass"
- 2015: "Hard Truth Soldier (Redux)"
- 2016: "Lethal Warning Shot"
- 2016: "Power"
Singles chart positions
|U.S. R&B||U.S. Rap|
|1990||The Devil Made Me Do It||20||The Devil Made Me Do It|
|1994||Guerrilla Funk||90||23||Guerrilla Funk|