Tag Archives: Main Source

Large Pro – Main Source (The BeatYoda Remixes) Album Stream – Shy The BeatYoda

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Canadian producer Shy The BeatYoda respectfully reworks a number of cuts from Extra P’s discography, matching the Queens, NY emcee’s unmistakable voice with solid drums and an impressive array of dusty samples.

Breaking Atoms 25 Mix Stream – Hellee Hooper

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Celebrate 25 years since the release of Main Source’s classic golden-era album “Breaking Atoms” and remember peace is still not the word to play!

Queens Represent… – Nas / Large Professor

Footage of Queensbridge icon Nas taking it back to the early-90s with a Main Source classic at this year’s SXSW.

New Joint – Large Professor / G-Wiz

Large Professor ft. G-Wiz – “In The Scrolls” (@PLargePro / 2015)

The legendary producer-on-the-mic drops visuals for his heartfelt Nas tribute taken from the new album “Re:Living”.

New Joint – DuckAlert / Large Professor

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Large Professor – “Hardcore Hip Hop – DuckAlert Remix” (@DuckAlertUK / 2014)

UK beat fanatic DuckAlert gives a track from Extra P’s 2006 album “Main Source” an undeniably dope overhaul.

Old To The New Q&A – Satchel Page (Part Two)

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In this concluding part of my interview with Queens, NY emcee Satchel Page, the rhyming veteran discusses the close relationship between Hip-Hop and the 80s drug game, growing-up with Neek The Exotic and meeting the legendary Large Professor – check Part One here.

How much of an impact did the crack era of the 80s and 90s have on South Jamaica?

“It affected everybody almost every second of every day. That’s the best way I can try to explain how big the drug game was in Queens back then. Everybody knew somebody who was on it, or who was selling it, or you were on it or selling it yourself. It was everywhere. It was also in the music of the time. Actually, the crack era is really what ended the park jam days because now you had these big drug dealers moving around. So whereas before, we were going to the park jams to party, now you had these drug dealers with their turf wars who were meeting at these jams and now the jams started getting shot-up. You couldn’t have a jam back then without it getting shot-up. That’s what really ended the park jam era. It wasn’t the fact that cats stopped doing it or started making records, it was the fact that it just wasn’t safe anymore. The cops would shut them down as soon as anyone did try and throw a park jam because they knew there would be some trouble. The violence was serious and that all came from people making so much money off of the crack era. I saw people that I grew-up with fighting each other and killing each other over money. The crack era pretty much ravaged my part of Queens and you can still see the evidence of that to this day.”

It must have been crazy to see that on a day to day basis?

“It really took us by storm. I mean, the drug game was just so influential back then. At one point, the drug dealers were more influential in the neighbourhoods than the Hip-Hop artists. The Hip-Hop artists wanted to be the drug dealers in some cases…

I remember back in the 80s looking at album covers featuring NY artists like Rakim wearing the Dapper Dan suits etc and thinking that was Hip-Hop fashion – then in subsequent years finding out it was the drug dealers who were dressing like that initially and the rappers were emulating them

“There was definitely a close relationship between the two because the two people making the most money in your neighbourhood were the Hip-Hop artists and the drug dealers. I remember we used to have this big basketball tournament in Queens and Rakim would bring his crew to play the Supreme Team, which was a big time drug organisation that most people have heard of. So they would play this tournament and they would have NBA players on the teams like Mark Jackson, “Pearl” Washington and other big-time players because the drug dealers had enough money to pay them. They would all throw an exhibition game in the summer. LL would always be seen with big drug dealers around that time as well. At that time I think the rappers wanted to be around the drug dealers because of the connection they had to the street. I mean, you would see LL uptown with Alpo. Then you’d see him with Bimmy, who was one of the biggest drug dealers in Queens from Baisley, who was down with the Supreme Team. LL and Bimmy were very close. They actually used to switch-up cars. One day you’d see LL driving Bimmy’s car and then you’d see Bimmy driving LL’s car. They both had the big white 740 BMWs. So the drug dealers and the rappers were really interchangeable back then. I mean, a big drug dealer like Supreme, when he’d have a birthday party, he’d go get all the top talent and have a party right in Baisley Park projects and it would be with LL, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash. It’d be the same kinda line-up you might see at Madison Square Garden and it would be right there in the park (laughs). That’s how it was at the height of the drug era.”

How open were the dealers back then in terms of trying to hide what they were doing out in the street?

“Man, it was wide open. That’s what’s so astonishing when you look at how New York is now compared to back then. I mean, New York is like a police state now. But in the 80s, it was an open market. I mean, you’d see the lines running two or three blocks long early in the morning with people looking to buy their drugs. These guys would be out there selling their drugs right out in the open and the police weren’t around or anything. People were just making so much money. I remember, a friend of mine drove up to me in a Mercedes Benz around the mid-80s when the crack era was really just starting and he would have been about fourteen-years-old. It was crazy! But at that point, crack was really just taking hold of the poor neighbourhoods and I think the police and the politicians were thinking it was a problem that was contained, so they weren’t really paying that much attention to it. I don’t think they knew it was as big as it was or how much of a problem it was becoming. I don’t think they realised how much money was being generated and by the time they did realise there were millionaires on nearly every block.  It was kinda like Miami in the late-70s and early-80s during the cocaine era. It’s a time that could never be replicated. I mean, you’d see guys that you grew-up with and went to school with who started selling crack and within two weeks they were driving around in hundred thousand dollar cars. It was that easy. I remember my little stint selling it, I could go out and in one day I could come back at fourteen-years-old and have easily made fifteen hundred dollars as just a low, low, low level dealer. I mean, you could just walk out your front door and sell right off your stoop and make that kind of money. You didn’t even have to travel. It was just so easy.”

At what point did that change?

“In Southside, the point that changed everything was when they killed that cop Edward Byrne in 1988. When that hit the news, they locked down the whole neighbourhood. The neighbourhood was never the same after that. It became a police state. Within a couple of years the drug game had really slowed down and people couldn’t just stand out on the corner anymore selling drugs. But when they killed that cop, it became apparent to the police that these guys weren’t just nickel-and-dime punks selling a small amount of drugs, they were on par with the Mafia as far as the money they were making and the violence that was going on.”

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So getting back to the music, how did you meet Neek The Exotic?

“Man, I can remember Neek for as long as I can remember myself. His cousin was actually my next door neighbour and Neek would always come to his cousin’s house from Flushing every weekend. So me and Neek would always hangout and we hit it off from day one. So me and Neek go back to when we were like three-years-0ld playing together. So when he came out on Main Source’s “Fakin’ The Funk” it was big for me because that was my man right there. As soon as he came out he came looking for me and we linked back up.”

So you’d fallen out of touch prior to him coming out with Main Source?

“Yeah. Like I said, he was from Flushing and he was out there doing his thing. At that time a lot of dudes were in Hip-Hop halfway and in the streets halfway and Neek was no exception. I dabbled in the streets a little, but that was never really me. I pretty much just stayed with the Hip-Hop thing. So I wasn’t rockin’ with Neek like that because he was in the street, but we were always brothers. So when he came out with Large Pro he was actually looking for me. But like I said, this was before you had cellphones and everything. You just had someone’s house number and if you couldn’t catch them on that then you weren’t getting in touch with them (laughs). So he was trying to get in touch with me just to let me know that he was moving with the music thing. Then he saw my brother, told him he’d been trying to reach me, he gave my brother his new number and we linked back up.”

Earlier you mentioned Run was trying to get you a deal in the late-80s – so inbetween that and you getting back together with Neek were you regularly pushing demos to labels?

“Yeah, definitely. I think if you were an emcee in New York at that time then everybody was in ‘Please listen to my demo’ mode. Every weekend, I’d be going out up to Manhattan, dropping demo tapes off at all the labels, getting called back, getting bullshi**ed, almost getting deals but nothing coming off. I did that whole gamut. I remember Def Jam were very interested at one point. When things didn’t work out with Profile, Run had taken my music up to Def Jam. We were close to getting a deal with this guy up there. But right at the moment we were about to get a deal, he fell out of favour with Russell Simmons and got caught stealing money from the label. So he got fired (laughs). I remember reading about the guy getting caught in Russell Simmons’ autobiography.”

Do you remember any of the tracks you had on those demo tapes?

“I remember I had this track called “No Baby!” which went ‘No baby! Get your hands off my brand new Mercedes’ (laughs) That was one of the joints that Run liked and took us up to Def Jam with. He thought that was going to be a hit record. We had another track called “Crack The Whip”. I mean, we had a lot of records. I did so many songs back then. It was funny because even though I had a rep from the park jams in the early-80s, I used to make all these songs but didn’t really know how many people already knew about me until I’d meet people. Like when Neek first introduced me to Large Professor, they had “Fakin’ The Funk” out, Large had the album with Main Source out and he was already a big name. So Neek introduced us and the first thing Large said to me was, ‘Yo, it’s an honour to meet you, man. I remember Neek always used to bring your tapes out to Flushing and we all thought this cat G.L.T. was ill.’ That really blew my mind! I mean, this was Large Professor saying that to me and I had no idea that he knew about me. But back then when we were doing the tapes, you’d know someone from the tapes before you ever got the chance to see them in a lot of cases. Like I said, Queens was very segregated back then and we were so young so you really only knew people based on how far you could walk (laughs).”

Speaking of being young, did you have anything in your wardrobe back then from the Shirt Kings store in Jamaica’s Colosseum Mall?

“Man, you wasn’t from Southside if you didn’t have something from Shirt Kings (laughs). You had to have a shirt from Shirt Kings and some gold-teeth from Eddie’s Gold Caps downstairs in the Colosseum (laughs). I had G.L.T. on the front of my shirt with a character with his arms crossed in a b-boy stance. That was Hip-Hop! It was religion to us back then and here we are today and we still can’t get it out of our systems. We lived and breathed Hip-Hop. That’s what we did. Every second of our lives was Hip-Hop. We did it for the love.”

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So when you reconnected with Neek in the early-90s and were introduced to Large Pro was there any intention of you working together on something?

“Yeah, definitely. Once me and Neek hooked-up again we started doing music and it was on. I started rolling with them and was going to shows. That was actually the first time that I’d thought to myself, ‘This is it!’ I mean, I was rolling with a crew who were already out so I really felt something was going to come out of it. But what happened was, my man Neek, like I said he was kinda living two lifestyles and that other lifestyle caught up with him and he had to go away for a little bit in the midst of all that. Now, Neek was my man and Large was my brother through Neek. So when Neek went away, like I said, it wasn’t that easy to  get in touch with people back then, so I kinda lost track of Large Pro at the time.”

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Were you around Large Professor when he was working with Nas on “Illmatic”?

“I remember the day Nas got his deal. We came from a show that Neek and Large had actually done with Run-DMC. We pulled up and Nas and MC Serch were in the park across from Large’s crib drinking Moet. We were like, ‘What happened?’ and then Large was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, Nas just got his deal.’ I was like, ‘Oh s**t!’ I mean, back then Nas to me was just this little young cat who could rhyme. He wasn’t Nasty Nas the legend yet. He was just a little young kid from Queensbridge who could rhyme. So yeah, I remember seeing Nas and MC Serch drinking their champagne right across from Large Professor’s complex. I remember seeing Q-Tip up at a couple of Large Professor’s studio sessions and Busta Rhymes would be up there as well. Rolling with Large was crazy back then because I was meeting all these artists who were big at the time. Even now when I go to Large Professor’s house and see that “Illmatic” plaque on the wall, I’m still like ‘Wow!'”

What about Akinyele?

“I didn’t know Akinyele until he came out with the music. When he came out with his music I remembered Neek and them saying his name. But personally, I never met Akinyele.”

You stepped away from the music game in the mid-90s – what led you to make that decision?

“Yeah, that was definitely around that time. Hip-Hop became more and more about who you knew. Plus, around the age I was then, you start changing, you have to start supporting yourself. So my mindset was aimed more towards establishing myself outside of music. I got a job, started working and started a family. I really stopped doing the music thing all together from, I’d say, 1996 to 2006. I started up some businesses and got myself on solid ground financially. I mean, I was still paying attention because I had people who were still in the music business. I was still listening to the music, I just wasn’t making music myself. I mean, I would still get on the mic every now and then, but I wasn’t seriously pursuing a record deal or trying to get in the business. It was more a hobby for me at that point. But seeing cats I grew-up with become stars was great to me.”

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In recent years you’ve dropped a handful of projects including 2010’s “Young Patriarch” album with Ayatollah – what drew you back to making music?

“Well, with the technology that had come around like YouTube and MySpace, I realised it was easy to let people hear your music. When I started back, that was really my only goal, just for people to hear my music. I just wanted to leave some sort of mark on the game because I’d put so much into it over the years.”

So what’s the concept behind your new album “Fine Wine”?

“Basically, my whole style is like fine wine and as it ages it just gets better as time goes on. So that’s why I decided to give the album that title. My style has been aged since 1971 which was the year I was born (laughs).”

Putting you on the spot here, if you had to name three tracks that you think best represent Hip-Hop from Queens, what would they be?

“Man, that’s a good one. I would definitely say something from the Lost  Boyz, “Jeeps, Lex Coups,  Bimaz & Benz”. I would say “Represent” from Nas and then I’ve gotta say Run DMC, “Sucker MCs”. That’s three different styles right there and there’s always been a lot of different flavours in Queens.”

KRS definitely got it wrong then when he said ‘Queens keeps on fakin’ it…’ on the “The Bridge Is Over”?

“Yeah, he definitely got it wrong with that (laughs). But it was all in the game. He could say something like that and still get love for it because it was just so damn witty. Man, I used to be out there yelling “Queens keeps on fakin’ it…” in the clubs when “The Bridge Is Over” would come on (laughs). There’s no denying magic.”

Ryan Proctor

“Fine Wine” is available now on iTunes.

Follow Satchel Page on Twitter – @Satchel Page

2012 footage of Large Professor, Neek The Exotic and Satchel Page performing in NYC.

Old To The New Q&A – Mikey D (Part Three)

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In this third and final part of my interview with New York microphone veteran Mikey D, the Queens resident recalls replacing Large Professor in Main Source back in the 90s and also talks about his two forthcoming projects scheduled for release in 2013 – make sure you check Part One and Part Two before reading further.

When you joined Main Source in the 90s was that a tough decision to make knowing you were filling the shoes of Large Professor or was it a case of you using that as an opportunity to get back in the game?

“Yeah, it was a matter of me just wanting to get back into the music and them being the stepping stone for that return. I didn’t know what had happened with the group as far as why Large Professor broke out. At that point I still didn’t know him like that. I thought Large Pro was nice but I didn’t know him and still didn’t recognise him from when he used to be in our studio sessions with everyone else at 1212. At that time, I didn’t know he produced, I didn’t know his history with Paul C., I didn’t know the reasons he left Main Source, I didn’t know none of that when I got together with Sir Scratch and K-Cut. I met them through Jeff Redd who told me to go to this particular address and spit a rhyme for these guys who were looking for a rapper. I remember going to the address and I had crazy toothache on that day (laughs). I spit a rhyme for them and they were saying they wanted to sign me and also wanted me to go to Canada with them to do this, that and the other. So they had me all the way down in Canada and we started working. But I didn’t like Sir Scratch for some reason. I thought he was too much of a momma’s boy and he didn’t want me to go out and explore Canada. He just wanted me to stay in the crib writing rhymes and I didn’t like that. You really can’t pressure me to write rhymes because you can’t rush perfection (laughs). So that was pi**ing me off and I really couldn’t get my vibe right to be able to write. But we did a whole album, presented it to Wild Pitch and they didn’t like it because it wasn’t really me.”

So was it just your contribution to the album Wild Pitch didn’t like or was it the production as well?

“It was a combination of both. I mean, listening to that album was like trying on a shoe that’s too small for you. It just didn’t fit. They’d had me like a hostage out there in Canada trying to write rhymes and the album just didn’t fit together. So then the label told us to come back to New York and record there and that’s when all the old feelings started coming back to me. I’m back in New York, I’m home, I’m feeling right, I can tell my peoples to come up to the studio, I’ve got my vibe back and that’s when I started writing songs that were big and bangin’ them out the same day. Wild Pitch liked that album we did but they just didn’t push it enough. They put us with damn MC Serch as our road manager who was also supposed to be the Vice-President of the label and was also Nas’s manager at the same time. We got all the way to California and the guy’s taking care of Nas’s business on our time. So it was just another disaster. You know God always has plans for you so maybe back then I just wasn’t ready because there was always something going wrong for me (laughs).”

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That must have been an extremely frustrating time for you considering the album was so close to being released with the single and video to “What You Need” out, full page ads in The Source etc…

“That was basically it. I wound up leaving Main Source for the same reasons Large Professor did. There were publishing issues, they wanted to tap in on my writers royalties when they didn’t write anything. The group’s manager was K-Cut and Sir Scratch’s mother and she was crooked. Me and K-Cut got along but then I couldn’t really trust him because that’s his brother and mother who were involved as well and family always comes first if you’re loyal. I couldn’t trust any of them so I just had to leave.”

Which was a real shame because “F**k What You Think” was a quality album that would have sat nicely alongside many of the other great albums that dropped in 1994…

“Exactly. They just didn’t push it right. There was just too much going on between Main Source and the label. After Large Professor left I don’t think Stu Fine and the staff at Wild Pitch really liked dealing with Main Source and their management. I walked into the situation blind and walked into a bad position at the wrong time. That’s basically what it was. And see, their mother Ms. McKenzie, I believe her intentions were to get that album recorded, have Wild Pitch pay for the studio time, and then once the album was completed to shop it to another label. I honestly believe that’s what happened, but all of that backfired in her face. But I really didn’t do my research first before getting involved in that situation and I should have known something was wrong when they asked me to make a diss record about Large Professor and I wouldn’t do it. That man did nothing to me, so why would I disrespect him?”

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There was a story about a final meeting at the label involving yourself, Ms. McKenzie and a knife…

“Yeah, yeah (laughs). We were at a press conference with all the different magazines like The Source, Right On!, Word Up!, all sat at one table. Ms. McKenzie came in wielding a knife talking about ‘Where’s Stu Fine?!’ So all of that’s going down and then steam starts coming out of my ears and I’m like, ‘Yeah we should get Serch!’ Serch locked himself in the office and I had my two boys with me called the Twin Towers, two three-hundred pound young boys, and they’re trying to get into his office with Serch out on the window ledge. I don’t think we would have hurt Serch, but I’d always had a problem with him since day one and I didn’t really trust him. When I first got with Main Source and went up to the label by myself for a meeting, Serch gave me a lawyer’s card and said, ‘This is the same lawyer that I gave Large Professor. If you tell anybody I gave you this I’m gonna say you’re lying and remember Mike, I know people.’ I didn’t like the threat. It rubbed me the wrong way. The only time I’d met this gentleman before was back at the New Music Seminar in 1988 because he was one of the first people I battled there. But you’re sitting in an office throwing street threats at me? I didn’t like that. Evidently he didn’t know my background (laughs). So when that whole situation at the press conference happened all of that came back to me, the trip to California, everything.”

Have you spoken to Serch since then?

“I spoke to him maybe about two years after that but he still looked a little nervous. That was the last time I spoke to him.”

So after the Main Source situation you stepped away from the industry again…

“Yeah, I chilled out for a minute but I didn’t stop writing or none of that. But I was spending time raising my daughter. I did some features here and there but I really just wanted to let my name die down a little bit and then time myself and get it right. I worked a regular job at the airport for almost eleven years and at times it was frustrating when sometimes people would recognise me. But as time went on and I got out of that space I was in it became like a whole new start for me. I stopped drinking and really got my focus back. Lyrically, I think I’m more dangerous now than I was before. So now when I come out, these young artists just look at me as another artist. They don’t look at me as being an old-school artist because when I spit I don’t sound like that. But the whole time I’ve always stayed in my own lane and nobody will ever push me out of that lane. That’s the whole reason I’m still relevant today because I still do me and haven’t let anything change my lane.”

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So bringing things up-to-date explain how the forthcoming Elements Of Hip-Hop project with DJ Mercury came about?

“Well, I met DJ Mercury a couple of weeks before my birthday last year. I’d heard of Mercury through Professor X and I knew he had a radio show but I’d never met him. Johnny Quest still lives down the block in Laurelton and he was selling records, so Mercury came to the block. I said I was having a birthday party about a month later and he said he’d do the party for me. So he brought his equipment out, did the party, I had Ralph McDaniels there from Video Music Box, Tito from the Fearless Four was there, Large Professor showed up, and Mercury was nice on those turntables. I really liked the way he carried himself. I called him afterwards to thank him for doing the party, went to sleep that night, and for some reason I woke up the next day and this Elements Of Hip-Hop thing came to mind and I thought it would be a great name for a group. Now, there are various elements of Hip-Hop, but me and Mercury represent two of them, the emcee and the deejay. Mercury rocks as a deejay the same way I rock as an emcee, none of this digital stuff, just bringing it back to the essence. So I really felt we should do something together. Now, the project is mature Hip-Hop and I feel there’s a market for that right now. The young cats that are out will be able to appreciate what I’m coming with and their parents will be able to appreciate it even more. I’m not killing nobody on this project, I’m not driving three cars at the same time, I’m not doing none of that (laughs). I’m just trying to take it back and show people what Hip-Hop meant to us. I have Grand Daddy I.U. on the project and also my younger brother MC Lotto who was on the “Set It Off” track on the Main Source album. So, the project that’s coming out in a few weeks is called “Calm Before The Storm” and then in the summertime I have another album coming called “Day Of Destruction”. Everybody knows my name is Mikey Destruction and that album is going to be so crazy and I’m just decapitating all emcees on there. I’m bringing back the young Mikey D on that album who used to go around picking and choosing battles (laughs).”

So “Calm Before The Storm” is about you bridging the gap between the different generations of Hip-Hop and “Day Of Destruction” is more about you going back to your original blueprint as an emcee?

“Absolutely. Legalize from Russia is doing the production on “Day Of Destruction” except for one song that I left open for my boy Large Professor. But aside from that, the whole album is produced by Legalize. I’m also looking to do something with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap on “Day Of Destruction” as well so lookout for that one.”

Are you also still planning to officially release your documentary “The Making Of A Legend”?

“We’re adding some new footage to what we already have and then once it’s done it’ll be out. Aside from everyone who’s in the current footage like Daddy-O and LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane is in it, Melle Mel is gonna be in it and also some new-school artists who’re relevant to what’s going on in Hip-Hop today. It’s going to be very interesting.”

So it definitely sounds like you’re planning to have a busy 2013?

“Definitely. My mission right now is to save Hip-Hop”.

Ryan Proctor

The Elements Of Hip-Hop album “Calm Before The Storm” will be released on April 2nd.

Making Of A Legend Documentary – Mikey D

Interesting 2009 documentary covering the career of infamous Queens, NY emcee Mikey D (aka Mikey Destruction), touching on his early friendship with LL Cool J, the legendary 1988 New Music Seminar battle with Melle Mel and his time as a member of Main Source in the mid-90s – lookout for new material from Mikey D coming soon.

New Joint – Large Professor

Large Professor – “Barber Shop Chop” (Fat Beats / 2012)

Extra P drops some visuals to accompany this instrumental head-nodder from his album “Professor @ Large”.

WBAU-FM 1989 Radio Promo – Mikey D / J.V.C Force / T-Money

90.3 WBAU-FM 1989 Radio Promo – Mikey D (LA Posse / Main Source), J.V.C. Force & T-Money (Original Concept)

Ox The Architect has dug deep in his tape collection to uncover this 1989 promo from Wildman Steve’s radio show broadcast from Long Island’s Adelphi University.

Funk Mode – Large Professor

Footage of Extra P performing Main Source’s 1992 classic “Fakin’ The Funk” at Mass Appeal’s recent CMJ Takeover event in NYC.

Live Review – Large Professor / Cormega

Venue: Jazz Cafe, London  Date: 26 September 2012

Few individuals embody the essence of Hip-Hop like Flushing, Queens legend Large Professor. From his early beginnings as a student of the late, great studio wiz Paul C., to Main Source’s 1991 classic “Breaking Atoms” and his production / remix work for the likes of Nas, Common and Gang Starr, on to his own solo material, Extra P has always remained loyal to the true-school blueprint that influenced the music and culture he grew-up on in 80s / 90s NYC.

Although Large Pro might not have worked with as many known household names as some of his production peers such as DJ Premier and Q-Tip, his legacy, catalogue and reputation remain unrivalled in Hip-Hop circles, resulting in the “live guy with glasses” being cherished as something of a hero amongst rap purists.

So it was no surprise then that the announcement of Large Professor’s first London show in roughly a decade sent a wave of excitement amongst UK Hip-Hop junkies within travelling distance of the capital city.

Queensbridge’s very own Cormega opened the show with DJ Skizz manning the turntables, entertaining both the rowdy front row and remainder of the crowd with a selection of hood favourites from cult albums such as “The Realness” and “The True Meaning”. Draped in a white lounge suit topped off with a tilted baseball cap, Mega Montana stalked the stage with purpose, barely able to contain his glee as loyal fans rapped decade-old tracks word-for-word whilst reaching out for a handshake or to wave record covers in the air hoping for a signature from their QB champion. Eager to keep his supporters happy, Nas’s former rival threw the set list aside, telling Skizz to skip past certain tracks in order to keep the momentum going. A tactic which led to a somewhat disjointed performance, but one that ultimately kept those dedicated Mega die-hards pushed tightly against the stage happy enough.

Large Pro made his way down the Jazz Cafe stairs immediately after Cormega’s final track to the sound of loud cheers and applause, appearing a little overwhelmed as he settled into his place in the spotlight, announcing “We’re here!” before launching straight into the timeless Main Source classic “Peace Is Not The Word To Play” which was followed by the brilliant “Snake Eyes”.

Barely pausing between tracks, Extra P literally powered his way through a non-stop selection of quality bangers from the past, present and everywhere inbetween. The rolling drums of the Marco Polo-produced “The Radar” boomed from the speakers to an enthusiastic crowd response, whilst further Main Source sureshots such as “Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball” and “Just Hangin’ Out” took those in attendance further down memory lane, with Large Pro’s voice sounding as clear and commanding today as it did on those original tracks some twenty years ago.

Taking a moment to thank everyone for their support (which the Professor stated helped to “keep (him) alive”), the king from Queens continued on his musical mission, dropping the smooth Nas-assisted “Stay Chisel” (asking the crowd “You know whose voice that is, right?” as Mr. Jones could be heard reciting the hook), along with the crisp “Radioactive” from 2002’s “1st Class” album and the sublime 90s classic “I JusWannaChill”.

Of course no Large Professor performance would be fully complete without a few signature tracks and the multi-talented producer-on-the-mic didn’t disappoint, leading the crowd in a call-and-response session over the pounding bass of “Fakin’ The Funk”, reliving past relationship dramas with “Looking At The Front Door” and spitting his rapid-fire rhymes from the classic posse cut “Live At The Barbeque” with the hunger and determination of an upcoming artist rather than the been-there-done-that approach of a proven veteran.

Reuniting with Cormega for “Focused Up” from his recent “Professor @ Large” album (strangely there was no performance of the popular “Key To The City”), Extra P then exited the stage, leaving his NY ally to sign an endless stream of autographs as he headed for the dressing-room.

A brilliant display of pure, uncut beats and rhymes, Large Pro’s London performance could only have further cemented his well-deserved reputation as a genuine Hip-Hop icon amongst those who were there. Salute!

Ryan Proctor

Footage of Large Professor at the Jazz Cafe filmed by Shortee Blitz.

New Joint – Large Professor

Large Professor – “Key To The City” (Fat Beats / 2012)

New visuals from Extra P’s album “Professor @ Large” which dropped this week.

Roc On – DJ Rob Swift / Large Professor

Footage of Large Professor performing with Rob Swift at the recent release party for the Grandmaster Roc Raida tribute project “Roc For Raida”.

New Joint – Soulbrotha / Large Professor / Nutso

Soulbrotha ft. Large Professor & Nutso – “Beats By The Pound” (Vinylism / 2011)

German producers 12 Finger Dan and B-Base team-up with two of Queens, NY’s finest for this track from their EP “The Connexion” released earlier this year.

Cook It Up! – Nas / Joe Fatal / Akinyele / Large Professor

Footage of Nas performing the 1991 Main Source classic “Live At The BBQ” as part of his  Rock The Bells 2011 set with the track’s complete emcee line-up – props to Tee Max for putting me up on this.

New Joint – Neek The Exotic / Large Professor

Neek The Exotic & Large Professor – “Guess Who” (Fat Beats Records / 2011)

If you were a fan of the game “Guess Who?” as a young’un then you’ll definitely enjoy this new video from the Queens, NY duo’s recent album “Still On The Hustle”.

Bonus Footage: Neek, Extra P and Satchel Page performing in New Jersey at the recent Rock Steady anniversary event.

Rhyme Mania – Large Professor / Neek The Exotic

Footage of Extra P and Neek The Exotic performing in Brooklyn earlier this month at the Lyricist Lounge event.

Build Ya Skillz – Large Professor

Dope OutDaBoxTV interview with the legendary Extra P speaking on a variety of subjects with input from Lord Finesse, Neek The Exotic etc.

Part One

Part Two

Album Review – Neek The Exotic & Large Professor

Neek The Exotic & Large Professor

“Still On The Hustle”

(Fat Beats)

In much the same way that both Nas and Akinyele were thrust into the Hip-Hop spotlight when they appeared on Main Source’s classic 1991 posse cut “Live At The Barbeque”, fellow Queens, NY emcee Neek The Exotic’s cameo on the trio’s monumental 1992 anthem “Fakin’ The Funk” had the rap world expecting to hear a lot more from the cocky young artist.

Unfortunately, an untimely prison bid would prevent Neek from capitalising off his high-profile introduction, with the childhood friend of Large Professor spending the mid-90s behind bars. Upon his release, Neek collaborated with Extra P on a handful of single releases at the end of the decade, before his underpromoted full-length effort “Exotic’s Raw” dropped early in the new millennium.

Now, nearly two decades after his official debut on wax, Neek finally gets to deliver the project he’s probably always wanted to release in the form of “Still On The Hustle”, eleven brand new tracks produced mainly by Large Pro with some assistance from D.I.T.C.’s Lord Finesse, Canadian boom-bap expert Marco Polo and Atoms Family / Vast Aire collaborator Carnage.  

Given the ever-expanding sub-genre of so-called “grown-man rap”, “Still On The Hustle” sits nicely alongside recent albums from other NYC vets such as Raekwon, Roc Marciano and Sean Price, as Neek revels in his old-school status whilst spitting rhymes heavily influenced by the Rotten Apple of his youth over traditional East Coast flavoured production.

The opening title track finds Neek reminiscing on his wildchild teenage years when he had “big chains like Run and ’em” over a subtle but hardcore Extra P beat, whilst the self-explanatory “New York” features more Queens-related memories delivered with typically brash five borough attitude and accompanied by Carnage’s swirling strings.

“Street Rebel” boasts darker production from Large Pro as Neek proclaims himself to be a “Rakim fanatic” and Brooklyn’s Joell Ortiz stops by the studio to deliver a fiery verse that sounds like it was crafted for a late-night block corner cipher underneath a broken streetlight.

“Stack That Cake” slows the album’s momentum at the halfway point due to middle-of-the-road Carnage production that lacks the urgency or thump of other tracks, but Marco Polo steers the project back in the right direction with the heavy, chopped drums of “Hip-Hop”, the first of two bangers contributed by the Toronto beat-digger.

The closing “Toast Tonite” is arguably the album’s best cut, with Neek, Large Pro and Satchel Page trading good-time rhymes over a soulful backdrop laced with a nimble piano sample and the falsetto hook of vocalist Fortune.

“Still On The Hustle” is an album with no frills and no surprises, a fact which may both repel and attract listeners in equal amounts. Put simply, this is straight-forward rhymes over straight-forward beats. Neek doesn’t get into deep concepts, complex wordplay or social commentary, but he does rhyme with the passion and commitment of an emcee who came up during rap’s golden-age when you had to earn your spot on the mic.   

Completely removed from any of today’s popular music trends, “Still On The Hustle” won’t be receiving any MTV love or commercial radio attention anytime soon, but it will definitely make your head nod.

Ryan Proctor