As a producer, Large Pro has easily carved himself a place in the hip-hop pantheon. But time moves on. If it had been released in, say, 1994, "Main Source" would probably be a classic, banking heavily on simple, effective one-bar loops and a fondness for back-in-the-day battle rhymes. In 2008, it sounds a little dated.
After releasing the classic "Breaking Atoms" as part of Main Source, Large Professor, aka Large Pro, went on to record banging tracks for a who’s-who of Queens MCs (Nas, Mobb Deep, Tragedy Khadafi, Q-Tip) as well as Busta Rhymes, Pete Rock and more.
So it’s great to see him back behind the boards for an album whose title – and sound, in large part – pays homage to his old group.
It’s both a strength and a weakness. If it had been released in, say, 1994, "Main Source" would probably be a classic, banking heavily on simple, effective one-bar loops and a fondness for back-in-the-day battle rhymes.
The buzzing synth lines on “Rockin’ Hip Hop” are a refreshing shot of old-school minimalism, and a three-song suite (“RuDopeDapnNoyd, Pts. 1-3”), works three separate piano melodies as guest MCs Jeru the Damaja, Lil’ Dap and Big Noyd drop one hot verse each. A few tracks even up the tempo several beats per minute past the average rapper’s comfort level.
So while Large Pro is definitely capable of crafting nice beats and holding things down lyrically, "Main Source" still feels like it’s arriving about a decade too late.
"Main Source" will be released Sept. 30. Preview tracks at Amazon.com.