Large Professor Remixes Masta Ace’s Trip Down Memory Lane (Audio)
Nostalgia and looking back on teenage years is a recurring theme in Hip-Hop, inspiring some of the best work of artists such as Nas and Black Milk and now Masta Ace and Large Professor on this “Extra P Remix” of UK production collective, Son of Sam’s “Come A Long Way.”
Originally released a few months ago as part of the Cinder Hill double album (Tea Sea Records) this remix has Large Pro behind the boards and also picking up the mic for the hook. One of Hip-Hop’s greatest remixers (see: Nas, Common, Gang Starr just for starters) still can re-imagine a song’s potential.
Son of Sam’s Cinder Hill double LP has a packed artist roster. It pairs Sadat X with El Da Sensei, while Detroit is represented on the record by the likes of Guilty Simpson, Quelle Chris, and Denmark Vessey.
On the “Come A Long Way (Extra P Remix)” Masta Ace artfully evokes his youth in “Brownsville, Brook-a-lyn” (as he jauntily raps the borough’s name). He recalls how he “was a young man with the whole world a front of him” and lists off aspects from his childhood, with his natural ease.
Masta Ace is well-respected for his relaxed, conversational story-telling style that never feels forced, or trying too hard for effect. This is on display here, as he refers to elements from his past, which through his skilful evocation shift from specific to universal. As he rhymes: “This is probably a song you can relate to / Life is hard but never let it break you.”
With this in mind, it’s appropriate perhaps that the second part of Masta Ace’s verse is from a woman’s perspective. She also looks back on how the past in a verse that ends with the lines: “Sometimes you really want to shed a tear, but there is nothing you should fear now / ‘Cause you’re beautiful, you made it, you’re here now.”
Large Pro’, meanwhile, expresses gratitude for all that he has, while remembering those who came before “shining bright like the lights on Broadway.” Ultimately this song is not so much about looking back on the past, but feeling at peace and grateful in the present.
Music-wise, Large Professor deepens the sound of the original, enfolding the rhymes with a lush and orchestral backing-track, the horns sounding retro and glamorous, backed up by clipping drums. More Burt Bacharach than hard-hitting East Coast Hip-Hop, which works perfectly with Ace’s rhymes, that look back to the past from the present into the future. This month, Large Pro’ broke down for Ambrosia For Heads what he was calling out when he made Main Source’s “Fakin’ The Funk.”
#BonusBeat: Masta Ace was among the earliest football fans to call for a TV boycott in the wake of Colin Kaepernick not being signed. This recent TBD episode explores why Ace made the call, and the boycott’s success—despite some misreporting in the media: