Paris birth name is Oscar Jackson Jr., and he was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, on October 29, 1967. In 1990 he graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Economics. While in college he worked at a campus radio station, but was kicked off the air because he cursed out - on air - a caller who issued a racial epithet.
During his time at UC he became influenced by the Black Panther Party and joined the Nation of Islam, but got tired of being preached to and he started seeking knowledge and understanding on his own.
Still in college he founded his own label, Scarface Records, and recorded a single, "Scarface Groove" (1988), which landed him a deal with the now defunct, Tommy Boy Records.
"Break The Grip Of Shame" was his first single for Tommy Boy in 1989. On the cover of the single, a white cop is grabbing a young black male in a choke hold. Paris debut album, The Devil Made Me Do It, was released in 1990 and catapulted him into the scene with the hit single "The Devil Made Me Do It" (whose video was banned by MTV), and attracted both attention and praise with the single "The Hate That Hate Made".
It set the tone for the rest of his career, politically and socially conscious Hip Hop in the same spirit of Public Enemy and KRS-One. The album sold about 250,000 copies and is one of the classics from the political era in Hip Hop.
The controversial Sleepin With The Enemy, Paris second album, got him dropped from Tommy Boy. The content was to hot for Time Warner (the parent company of Tommy Boy Records) in the wake of Ice-T and Bodycount's "Cop Killer". It contained such songs as "Bush Killa" (which basically called for the shooting of then-President George Bush) and "Coffee, Donuts & Death" (a revenge fantasy killing of two racists police officers). Paris didn't give up under pressure, instead he released the album himself on Scarface Records after distribution agreements with Polygram and Def American fell through for similar resons.The forced move to go independent was a blessing though, allowing him to reap nearly half of the retail price of each album as profit. The album sold nearly 400,000 copies and helped land him a major artist deal for himself and a deal for his label, with Priority Records in 1993. The same year The Conscious Daughters', Paris produced debut album, Ear To The Street and single "Something To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)", was released.
Paris third album, Guerrilla Funk (1994), showed his ability to change style. Still political, but this time backed up with G-Funk. This album didn't stir up any controversy in the way of Sleeping With The Enemy. The album sold around 200,000 copies. In 1995 Paris and Priority Records ended their business relationship, officially, due to creative diffrences.
After Guerrilla Funk, Paris took some time off to put his Economics degree to work, with real estate. Taking over fixer-uppers and the selling or renting them out.
With the three albums and the singles from them, Paris had sold about a million records, when he in 1998 released his fourth album, Unleashed, on the now defunct Whirling Records (distributed by Rykodisc), to which he singed a one-off deal with in 1997. Many fans thought Paris was sending mixed messages with songs like "Record Label Murder" (in which Paris suggest that artists should get even with record companies that try to jack them, physically), but was in fact dealing heavily with critisism of the direction Hip Hop was headed. The production, though, is up to date with the trends and he was joined by Spice 1 on "Mob On" and "Heat". The album was released in limited numbers and didn't receive much notice and had low sales numbers due to lack of focus and funding.
In the meantime between Unleashed and his latest projects, Paris once again put that Economics degree to use. Involved with investment banking, successfully, provided him with the ability to do what he really love doing, music. He continued recording on the side.
In 2003, Paris launched a new label and website, Guerrilla Funk Recordings and www.guerrillafunk.com, to counter the corporate censorship plaguing the entertainment industry. 2003 was also the year Paris returned with a new album, Sonic Jihad. It received positive reviews and has sold well, despite of it's controversial cover (a commersial airplane headed for the White House). The album covers a wide spectrum of topics, such as Bush related issues, the manufactured fear and "War on Terror", fighting the pro-war propaganda, police brutality and the state Hip Hop is in.
In 2004 Paris released The Devil Made Me Remix, a collection of remixes, tracks appearing as b-sides on singles and previously unreleased material.
Public Enemy's new album Rebirth Of A Nation was released on March 7, 2006. Produced by Paris, featuring MC Ren, Sister Souljah, Dead Prez, Kam, The Conscious Daughters and Immortal Technique. Check out the TV-commercial here.
Updates coming soon...