"Buy the album when I drop it" Large Professor on "Keep It Rollin'"
Ever since those immortal words spoken by The Large Professor on A Tribe Called Quest's "Keep It Rollin", fans have eagerly await an album from the legendary producer. And they waited and waited, for what seemed like an eternity. But not to get into the history of Large pro, which would consume its own review, lets skip to the present. After seeing his career resurrected over the past couple years, Large Pro has been everywhere, producing some of the biggest Hip Hop hits for Nas, Cormega and Non Phixion to name a few. Now signed to Matador records, Large Professor has finally given the Hip-Hop world what they have waited anxiously for, an album.
With "First Class" Large Professor shows why he is one of the most talented producers in the game, and also why he sticks to producing not rapping. With what one can call as classic as production will get these days, Large Pro puts forth a production masterpiece with "First Class". However, the rest of the album fails to follow in its footsteps, as lyrically and conceptually there's not much to the album. Tracks such as "Brand New Sound", "Large Pro", and "Alive In Stereo" are prime examples of boring and repetitive concepts and stale lyricism. Large Pro has never been one of the best lyricists in the game, and unfortunately that takes away from some of the tracks, as they become somewhat boring after multiple listens.
However, as we all know, nobody buys a Large Pro album for conceptual masterpieces or deep insightful lyricism. It's the production aspect of "First Class" that makes this album a great release. Tracks such as "Bout That Time", "Kool", "Radioactive", "Hip-Hop", and "Blaze Rhymes 2002" are all off the wall produced tracks that personify the Large Pro sound perfectly.
Large Professor showcases a great mix of production throughout the albums entirety as we get those hard-core Hip Hop tracks we all love, "Radioactive", "Blaze Rhymes" and especially "The Man". Which uses the same sample from Nas's mega hit "You're Da Man". However, don't expect the track to give off the same type of feel, as Large Pro flips it and makes the track totally fresh and innovative.
Probably the best aspect of "First Class" is its classic guest appearances. "Stay Chiseled" featuring Nas is another Large Pro/Nas classic track which fits perfectly in both artists finest material. "On" featuring Busta Rhymes is an insane production masterpiece that sounds like " some bare foot jungle shit that was made down in Africa" as Busta so well puts it. With production so infectious, and Busta's raw energy and ultra fast flow, the track could very well be a huge success. Akinyele once again reunites with Large Pro for the cleverly titled "Akinyele". With some grimy on the edge of your seat production, Akinyele rips through the track with pure intensity, even though lyrically he's not saying much. However, the finest collaboration comes from "In The Sun" featuring Q-Tip. The only way to describe this track is classic, as Q-Tip puts forth his best performance since the "Beats, Rhymes and Life" days. Tips stunning, socially uplifting verse is the type of caliber we wish Tip would display more often these days, as Tribe Called Quest fans will drool in awe of the old Tip we once all loved and cherished.
No matter its minimal flaws, "First Class" is the album we all excepted to see from Large Pro. Its great to see him finally get the chance to shine and start to get the credit he deserves on a much larger basis. With set back after set back most would have folded under the pressure. But Large Pro continued to put in work and never gave up hope. "First Class" is a representation of his commitment to not only himself but also the Hip-Hop world. If you want to experience classic production, and true Hip-Hop at its essence, look no further than "First Class". Support a man that has truly paid in dues and laid down classic production for over a decade. Without people like Large Professor, Hip-Hop wouldn't be where it is today. We should embrace figures of this mold, so do your part and support a true Hip-Hop legend.