For Prince Paul, 'A Prince Among Thieves' prevails as a timeless work somewhere between warm homage and sweet revenge. Reeling from the sharp decline from critical darling to aging outcast, Paul’s return-to-form reconfirms his ingenuity via a sprawling and masterful exercise: an album that flows like a film, chiseled in the blueprint of a hood classic starring Breezly Brewin and Big Sha. It’s rap storytelling that’s endearingly cliché and excessively skilled, striking the rare parodical balance that lets the darkness do its work without clouding the fun of its source material. Structure aside, the rapping is often phenomenal; each contributing member leans into the intricacies of their characters, and Prince Paul’s post-boom-bap eccentricities.