Feeding the Root

Talking with Large Professor, premier hip-hop producer

"I was trapped in a cage and let out by the Main Source," says Nas in his first verse on wax, from 1991's "Live At the BBQ", a Large Professor production. After the release of the classic Main Source LP Breaking Atoms, Large Professor, aka Extra P, gifted MC, DJ, producer and originator, went on to man the boards for a legion of NYC heavyweights including Kool G Rap, Tragedy, and countless others. Known as the 'Mad Scientist,' he has been seen blacking out and cackling as his spirit manifests dope beats. On May 30 he will release the instrumental album, Beatz Volume One, snippets from which can be heard at redlinemusicdistribution.com.

Why did you name your publishing company Paul Sea Productions? It was first in tribute to my mentor Paul C [McKasty] who mentored me in production like sampling and things like that. And it was just to continue on, like when I think of the sea. That's why I made it 's-e-a.' I wanted to make it like there was more, like there's more water to the sea, just more man, just gonna keep it flowing pretty much. And my real name is Paul, my middle name.

Do you expect MCs to use your instrumental record on mix tapes? Yeah, I'm expecting that, if they get wind of it. I think they will. And then also it was just to put something out there for New York hip-hop BEATS. New York is losing its identity. Crunk is down south. They can say, "Yo, that's ours. We invented that." New York is not standing up for what it invented. It's like, yo what's up with that boom-bap, that funky loop with the guitar? Or Harlem or the Bronx, what's up with that? So that's really why I wanted to put it out there. I like that potent dose. I like to give people the most like, "This is crazy!" Sometimes it's too much for the average person. So I just say, "Well, let me fall back on the lyrics this time."

Do you see a trend of hip-hop instrumental albums? It's hot because it just allows you to think on a beat. It serves different purposes 'cause now you can clean up. I call it "Clean-Up Music" because you can do something else and subliminally hear it all throughout. I never did an [instrumental record] so I definitely wanted to give it a try.

That song, "Out All Night" is begging for a story rhyme. It's really slow, it's just got that standing-in-front-of-the-record-store feeling to me. You don't have that anymore. That's a New York thing right there. The dude standing outside of the record store, listening to the one speaker playing the music. A lot of those feelings I just want to secretly put out there. They're not gonna even know like, "Yo, why do I like this so much?" This is coming from the root, the Zulu. I just want to give the land back the vibe of what it was and what it still is.

Do you ever think about how amazing it is that a bunch of 16-year-olds invented all this? Yeah yeah yeah, it's crazy. I feel like God did that. A lot of people aren't fortunate enough to be able to have piano lessons. The turntables came into play and some people excel like, yo I'm gonna flip this and starting getting algorhythms to it. So it's definitely crazy but I smile 'cause that's how God works, everybody could get in on it.

 
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