Large Professor Discusses The Productions He Made For Eric B. & Rakim (Video)
Main Source’s 1991 debut album Breaking Atoms made several key developments for Rap music. The album that introduced Nas and Akinyele also ushered in Large Professor as one of Hip-Hop’s greatest multi-threats. The Queens, New Yorker rapped, he produced, and later on, he showed the masses that he could cut it up behind the turntables too.
However, ahead of that Wild Pitch Records release, Extra P (as he would be later known) had put in work. He had learned to sample, sequence, and program from producer/engineer/DJ Paul C. (aka Paul McKasty) who was killed in his Queens, New York studio in 1989. It was Large Pro that stepped in to take the unfinished beats and produce them for Eric B. & Rakim’s Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em album. Then, the Professor kept class in session as he went to work on Kool G Rap & DJ Polo’s Wanted: Dead Or Alive album that same 1990. The credits to those albums tell one story, but Large Professor’s legacy and those around the album-making reveal another.
Speaking with 24HH for a rare on-camera appearance, Large Professor remembers Paul C. and his impact. “Paul C. was my mentor, a producer who got cut short in his career, early, [in] 1989. He was killed. The influence of Paul C. on the game is incredible because of all the intricate ways that he would program and engineer. [He was an] extremely dope engineer, and DJ also, and a beat-maker; Paul C., to this day…you gotta be of the type that know, but I can still hear his influence on the game with certain [techniques and styles of programming]. I hear things that he brought to the game.” Large Pro’ named his production company “Paul Sea” in honor of his mentor. He also says that Ultramagnetic MC’s member Ced-Gee, who produced for Nas, Boogie Down Productions, and Tim Dog was a fellow student of Paul’s. “Even in today’s programming, 2017, you can hear where the minimalism is back now. They’re not dressing up the beats with all [the craziness].”
Paul worked with Ultramagnetic, Stezo, and Queen Latifah, among many others. At the time of his death, he was in the pre-production stages of Eric B. & Rakim’s third album, Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em. When he was murdered, a teenage Large Professor stepped in with one of Rap’s biggest acts.
“Paul C. was the person who originally was working with Eric B. & Rakim. Once he got murdered, I was the only person who knew, kinda, how Paul did it. ‘Cause he showed me. He showed me, ‘Yo, this is how you do the metronome,’ or ‘This is how I do the metronome. If it suits you, then you can do it also.’ That was how it all started. He got cut down, and I met Rakim. My man Joe Fatal, he brought me to Rakim’s house.” Fatal, who rhymed on “Live At The Barbeque,” sung L.P.’s praises. As a result, he was invited to the sessions. “I came to the studio. I was put to the test: ‘Yo, hook somethin’ up now.’ I hooked somethin’ up, and [we] just kept it movin’.” Large Pro recounts skipping school his senior year to buy records for sampling. In the evening, he recorded with the MCA Records stars. He admits being in awe to get the opportunity, and notes that Rakim was highly musically intuitive.
Notably, Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em did not credit Large Professor. Perhaps that explains his answer when asked what he learned from working with the Rap giants at that time. “What I gained from workin’ with Eric B. & Rakim was just, you gotta be sharp with your business. You gotta make sure you got your business right. Make sure you look out for the people who’s comin’ up, up under you. Make sure you’re lookin’ out for them. The young kids that’s comin’ up, you gotta make sure you’re lookin’ out for them, that you’re not trying to take advantage of them or anything like that. That’s what I learned.”
Interestingly, Eric B. & Rakim as well as Kool G Rap were early Nas mentors. However, Large Professor would be the one to help Nas secure his Columbia/Sony deal, and produce the bulk of Illmatic.
Large Professor would be given “Production Coordination” honors on 1992’s Don’t Sweat The Technique. He last released Re: Living in 2015 on Fat Beats Records.
#BonusBeat: 1989’s “Actual” by Main Source:
This is produced by Large Professor and engineered by Paul C.