Friday, November 14, 2008

The Rap World

I saw Large Professor at S.O.B.'s one time, I think it was around 2001 or so – one of the stranger, better hip-hop shows I've ever seen. He headlined, following a couple other people, most notably Mad Skillz. At the time, the Extra P, as Large Professor is also known, was in the middle of what seemed like a crisis of direction, having been one of the greatest architects of the greatest era of hip-hop, but failing to transform that success into a banner career as a solo artist (even after, or maybe in part because of, a massive advance from Geffen). When it was his turn to take the stage, he was a little awkward – it was like he had crawled up there after a couple years making beats in his basement, and didn't quite know what to do.

What made the show great was that he didn't really care. He was alone – no DJ, no hype men – and to do his songs, he'd walk back and pull up a new beat or put an instrumental on the turntable, and then go back to the front of the stage and bust his rhyme. When the song was over, he'd walk back and switch the record, sometimes pausing between songs to play a couple bars of a new beat he was working on, or some old records he had just found. He'd say things like 'Yo, check out this loop I just found…prob'ly flip that some time. Check this out....'

It was weird but it was one of the more intimate shows I've been to, and as a hip-hop nerd, totally gratifying. I ran into Premier at the bar and I remember thinking it was cool to see these two genius producers in the same room – that they probably had a common understanding of the trials and tribulations of hip-hop that few other people could understand.

I bring this all up because Large Professor is in Seattle tonight, playing a show at Nectar. (Or is it Nektar. I hope it's just Nectar.) I don't think I'm gonna go – one show a week is enough for me, I have other plans, and honestly I'm pretty sure my current mood will also require sustained activity at one of the city's finer dive bars. But if you ever do get a chance to see him, I recommend it – whatever happens, you can be sure that he will stay real.

A couple semi-obscure Large Pro gems for good measure:

Large Professor & OC freestyle from Stretch & Bobbito's show, 11/93
Large Professor & Pete Rock
The Rap World mp3
Organized Konfusion
Stress (Large Professor Remix) mp3
Gang Starr
Gotta Get Over (Large Professor Remix Instrumental) mp3

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