Large Professor

Eric B & Rakim. Biz Markie's 'All Samples Cleared'. Pete Rock & CL Smooth's 'Mecca and the Soul Brother'. Nas's 'Illmatic' and 'Stillmatic'. Diamond D's 'Stunts, Blunts & Hip-hop'. Kool G Rap. Big Daddy Kane. A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders. Rob Swift. The Beastie Boys. Roxanne Shante. Gang Starr. Main Source.

Sound familiar? Then you know Large Professor. Go ahead, check the credits. We'll wait.

Since high school student William Paul Mitchell broke in with Main Source as MC and producer, Extra P's been in demand. Think Lil' Bow Wow or Chi Ali was a prodigy? Hell, the Prof taught the real Prodigy -- the one out of Mobb Deep -- his way around a studio. And that was after he taught DJ Premier how to use his SP1200. A grateful Primo reciprocated, introducing LP to his record collection and brought Main Source to the attention of Wild Pitch.

Not impressed yet? Try this: at seventeen, going to school by day, LP spent his nights programming beats for Eric B & Rakim's Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em. That led to a call to work on Kool G. Rap's Wanted Dead or Alive. And by that time his rep was already growing amongst those in the know: 15-year old Nasir Jones -- uh, NAS -- had already enrolled with the Professor.

If Extra P was as business-minded as some, he'd have an empire. But for him, the art's always come first; LP's dedicated to his vision of the pure hip-hop sound, and neither bad industry deals nor changing styles have affected his mission. Don't feel bad for LP, though, and don't write him off as old school: he's classic.

LP's sound is as timeless as hip-hop gets. A beat scientist of first order, no one gets more out a drum machine, and he serves up his beats garnished with just enough melody to keep things moving. P's a chef: his creations breathe. They get your head noddin' and let the MC do the rest.

Twelve years since Main Source's Breaking Atoms, he returns with '1st Class', and it's vintage Large Professor: 16 tracks of first-class beats that any other MC would kill for, featuring old friends Nas, Q-Tip, Akinyele and Busta Rhymes.

He's a gracious host: Large Producer's greatest gift has always been fitting the track around the featured MC. If you can't distinguish yourself over an LP track, you don't deserve to be in the game. That's not a problem for '1st Class''s visiting faculty.

Wrapped around a relaxed beat and a choral melody on "In the Sun", Tip hasn't sounded this comfortable since The Low End Theory. Nas returns to his Queensbridge roots on "Stay Chisel", but he's not the same old Nasty Nas ' this is the grown-up version; he and LP sit on the stoop, trading verses and telling stories. Akinyele joins in, but it's fitting that he gets his own beat -- he's leaning out the window, screaming, yelling and telling it his way. And Busta Rhymes takes his turn in "On", with a beat that's as frenetic as the dreadlocked MC.

One thing's for sure: you're not going to find another hip-hop album like it this year. And that's not just because Ja Rule's not on it, neither.


¯ First single (Main Source's "Think" b/w "Atom") spun by Marley Marl & Pete Rock on 98.7 KISS FM.
¯ Taught DJ Premier his way around an SP1200, passing on what LP had learned from Pete Rock. Primo introduced LP to vintage vinyl, and hooked Main Source up with Wild Pitch.
¯ At 17, programmed the beats for Eric B & Rakim's Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em -- high school by day, beats by night
¯ Still in HS in Queens, got the call to work on Kool G Rap's Wanted Dead or Alive
¯ Got Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), Busta Rhymes -- among others -- more started in producing
¯ Produced tracks for Akinyele, Slick Rick, Mobb Deep, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, Beastie Boys
¯ Produced tracks for other noted producers: Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Eric B & Rakim.
¯ Recorded two albums of old school beat science for Geffen in the mid-90s, only two singles released ("Mad Scientist" and "Ijuswannachill").

Current Extracurricular Activities:

¯ Produced six tracks for the upcoming Nas album 'God's Son' (Christmas)
¯ Produced one track for the upcoming Busta Rhymes album (November)
¯ Featured vocalist on upcoming Beatnuts album (October)
¯ Featured vocalist and producer for the new Cormega album (out now)
¯ Producer of the upcoming Akinyele album (2003)
¯ Produced "XL" track on the current X-ecutioners album
¯ Produced the upcoming Royal Flush album (2003)
¯ Produced five tracks and featured vocalist on the upcoming Neek The Exotic album
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