Large Professor Speaks On The Targets Of “Fakin’ The Funk” & Why He Attacked The Wack
It goes without saying that 1992 was a turning point year for Hip-Hop. The hardcore and underground Rap scenes from the East, West, Midwest, and South each boasted a myriad of artists with memorable singles and albums to define their respective region’s sound. Simultaneously, this period was when Pop music embraced acts like Vanilla Ice, M.C. Hammer, Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and Wreckx-N-Effect had hovered atop the Billboard charts.
Despite the onslaught of Pop-oriented Rap tunes, several new acts were getting record deals using Gangsta Rap and underground styles. Main Source was one of the leading purist Hip-Hop groups, following 1991’s Breaking Atoms, and a critical 4.5 mic rating from The Source. Between LPs, Large Professor, Sir Scratch, and K-Cut created single “Fakin The Funk,” featuring Neek The Exotic to call their competition’s bluff.
The song sampled a harmonized vocal from The Main Ingredient’s 1971 cut “Magic Shoes,” and was a vehicle for basketball comedy film White Men Can’t Jump starring Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez. It elevated Main Source as they ironically called out other groups who vied for the same goals of pop culture stardom and street credibility.
Large Professor recently explained to Ambrosia For Heads the impetus behind the song while attending A3C Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. “Before there was an entertainment industry, we had a code on the streets about Hip-Hop. You know what I’m saying? There were certain things that you didn’t compromise as far as the culture was concerned. And then at the time, there were a lot of dudes compromising the culture and doing things. But you know, as I know now, the world is big, and not everyone is not from New York City where you know everything started. So, I know better now, but at that time, it was just to reinforce the structure of what Hip-Hop culture is supposed to be, and that’s not selling out and keeping the culture raw.”
But several of the song’s lyrics had largely been misconstrued by fans as a subliminal diss directed towards Compton, California’s booming Gangsta Rap movement. For decades, a longstanding theory swirled that Main Source had indirectly sent vitriol to DJ Quik and 2nd II None after the Hub City rappers had refused to freestyle for Yo! MTV Raps when requested to do so by its host Fab 5 Freddy. Plus, after the late Bronx rapper Tim Dog had thrown several shots on his 1991 songs “Step To Me” and “F*ck Compton,” many believed Main Source may have been following suit in a war of words against SoCal hardcore acts with Extra P’s second verse:
Large Professor debunked this theory that his lyrics were aimed at DJ Quik, 2nd II None, or anyone else, specifically, and asserted that they were a “blanket statement” for all Rap artists to come correct with their stage show and not meant to debase the culture. He also admitted that he was in a New York state of mind when he crafted the song and has matured from his geocentric ways of thought.
“Oh no, nah, nah, not at all, not at all! Yo, it was crazy because at the time a lot of people had their suspicions on who they thought we were talking about, and it was just a blanket statement, basically,” said Extra P, who was fast at work with Nas, Kool G Rap, and Akinyele during this period. “It was more just to get people not to, but just to bring out awareness, like, ‘Yo, don’t be out there fakin’ the funk, man.’ Real brothers is out there. We hanging out but when we touch the stage, we light it up, so don’t be out there fakin’ the funk.’ It was an appointed task for us, so that’s what we came up with for it. They were like, ‘We want a song for the White Men Can’t Jump [film], and we came with ‘Fakin’ The Funk,'” he says, perhaps relating the song to some of the film’s cultural commentary. “It was just God doing what God do, you know? We answered the call. That was the agenda for that thing, word up.”
Following his departure from Main Source in 1993, Large Professor has gone on to become one of the most influential producers in Hip-Hop history. He continues to work with Neek (they partnered to release 2011’s Still On The Hustle), while Extra P’s most recent project is 2015’s Re: Living on Fat Beats Records.
Recently, Main Source’s original lineup reunited in honor of Breaking Atoms‘ 25th anniversary. They also performed at A3C. Earlier this year, he recalled attempting to produce a Bobby Brown and Kool G Rap collaborative album, that would never be completed.