P.M. Dawn's debut record -- The duo talks about their successful album ''Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross''

When Attrell and Jarrett Cordes — Prince Be and DJ Minutemix of P.M. Dawn — finished high school in Jersey City, they knew they wanted to be in the music business. ”We’d always played around with it,” says DJ Minutemix, 20 (below left), ”and we wanted to do something we’d enjoy for the rest of our lives.” His brother Prince Be, 21, adds, ”Our mother was, like, ‘What is this rap music? Go to school, be a doctor.’ But now she loves it.”

Given the duo’s success, that’s no surprise. P.M. Dawn’s first album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, blends rap, house, and R&B infused with trippy spirituality and offbeat samples such as Spandau Ballet’s ”True.” It has already yielded one top 10 single — ”Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” — and seems destined to go gold.

The oldest of seven boys, the brothers always hung out together at home, spinning records and watching TV. Their stepfather played congas in Kool and the Gang’s earliest incarnation (their father died when DJ Minutemix was 2 months old), their mother sang in church, and their uncle, a garbage collector, brought them piles of 45s from his rounds. As a result, P.M. Dawn (meaning from the darkest hour comes the light) are unfazed by those who disdain their genre-bending. ”We just go into the studio with a bunch of records we really love,” explains the team’s lyricist and front man, Prince Be (socalled because he just is). ”Music is music, and that’s what we do.”