Large Professor - Big Credentials
Plying his trade as far back as his teenage years, Large Professor has cemented his status as one of the true heavyweights of the hip hop firmament, and with new release Main Source, proves he’s not done yet. He took 3D’s Rezo to school.
It might not be a name as immediately familiar as say Wu Tang Clan or N.E.R.D but Large Professor, aka William Paul Mitchell, is what you’d call a quiet success story. Having produced for Eric B and Rakim while still in high school and having discussed compression and beats with DJ Premier, Large Professor is not what you’d call a lightweight of the hip hop scene.
He has put his name to works by Beastie Boys, ATCQ, Big Daddy Kane and is credited with producing a number of tracks on Nas’ Illmatic – a certified hip hop classic; not to mention his work as part of his Main Source crew. So to prove to the critics he still got it, Main Source (the album) hit on Gold Dust last month.
So, how are things on the Eastern front- “Everything is good man,” he chimes in that typically nonchalant and relaxed New York accent. “You know, just basically still doing my thing. It’s the DJ and the two turntables and the mic and the speakers. That’s what I grew up with and that’s what I do. This is just a natural evolution for me; I remember when I was grounded, music was what kept me going; you can’t go outside so you just keep messing with the music.”
As a 17 year-old, he recalls how determined he was to try and sharpen his skills. “I just wanted to go to the top and once I got the jist and the knack of things, I wanted to take things to the next level. All my idols were around me and I just came through, man, producing my stuff.” And that’s what the mission behind the Main Source posse was – hence the recognition given to it and the bangin’ 2008 album of the same name. “We just wanted to shine because everything in hip hop is different. We’re just trying to keep things real and carry on the original tradition and get busy with some raw rhymes. That was the group I came from and I just wanted to put it out there. I still embrace them and in between those albums, I’ve been living a little life. I ain’t going out and hustling no more. After this project is done, I’ll speed things up and get into different areas but right now man, I’m real happy where I am.”
And the state of the union in hip hop- “Well, I mean it’s still all good. Some people are doing different versions of hip hop as far as pure hip hop goes and there are young dudes coming up that are still carrying the same torch that we carried all those years ago. There’s all this crazy stuff goin’ on too; it’s genres within the genres. When you’re doing things like what we do, you just aim for the stars and give it all you got. So when people give you props it’s like, ‘what can I say; I worked hard all these years and I used to ride the trains with crates and crates of records.’ So to have come this far man, it’s like you know it’s on.”
Likewise, he can look back with the benefit of hindsight and laugh at all the bridges he’s crossed. From the politics of record labels, to the turf wars and the beef, to his portrayal (or lack thereof) by various media institutions – Large Professor has risen and grown. “Man, there is definitely a lot of people in those positions that don’t know what music is supposed to be; they just follow what the trend is. Whatever you do in life, you should be a trendsetter, you should have foresight; you should go to the left and say ‘believe me, ride with me.’ When I was with Geffen I was doing my regular straight up hip hop and there was this jiggy phase going on and everyone was trying to get jiggy so that overshadowed what I did at the time. That’s how it happens. Right now I’m real excited about the new album and I see the future holding a lot more in the way of production. I’ll probably try to broaden my horizons and get into different aspects of entertainment, but one thing I’ve learnt in all these years is that it is quality, not quantity. You got to lay that foundation and then build on it.”
WHO: Large Professor
WHAT: Main Source through Inertia
WHEN: Out now