1st Class (Matador Records)
By: Anthony Davis
Large Professor has produced stuff for Tribe, Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, the Beastie Boys, Gang Starr, Biz Markie, Nas, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G. Rap -- to name a few. Suffice it to say, his resume is one of the best in the business. On his debut solo album he tries his hand at MCing (and keeps his experienced hand on the mixer). If you like thick multi-layered production with a lot of fancy gimmicks, this album is not for you. This is pure boom-bap - a style that Large Professor helped create. The beats on this album are simple, and the flows are smooth. For a boom-bap fan like myself, this is exactly what's missing in most of today's hip hop. The production, if simple, is great. Unfortunately, Large Professor's MCing skills aren't quite on par with his production skills, but they are still good, if sometimes a tad monotone. Smartly, he enlists several of his old cohorts as guest MCs, and fits the beats perfectly around them. Particularly good is Q-Tip's appearance on "In the Sun." Busta's rhyming on "On" is equally inspired. If you like simple, effective beats and smooth rhymes, then go get this album. Fast. Boom-bap.
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