Record Label: Fat Beats Records
There’s a lot to be learned from Large Professor – how to produce, how to rhyme, how to cultivate new talent, how to stay creative and consistent for decades. The passing years only increase his legendary status – as a major collaborator with Main Source, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, etc. – while re-confirming his originality with each new project. So what’s on the syllabus for the Professor’s latest class? In his own words: “taking it back to the B-boy uprock style.”
His latest masterwork Professor @ Large drops June 26 on Fat Beats Records. Large’s impeccable craftsmanship shines on each of the 15 songs, many of them at upbeat park jam tempos. Whether he’s spitting hard with MOP’s Lil Fame, dropping an ill instrumental, or casting his wizened gaze out of the kaleidoscopic cover art, Large Pro is always smooth, on point and uniquely himself.
In addition to Lil Fame, the album features a connoisseur’s selection of fine MCs: Busta Rhymes reminiscing in double-time on “Straight from the Golden”; Cormega and Tragedy Khaddafi bringing the streets on “Focused Up”; Mic Geronimo and Grand Daddy IU keeping cool on “Mack Don Illz”; and Cormega, Saigon, Roc Marciano and Action Bronson comprising the stunning “M.A.R.S” – easily the best posse cut of 2012. In a classy move, Large Pro gives Marco Polo the album’s only production guest spot on the title track.
Fat Beats Records is proud to present Baker’s Dozen, an exclusive vinyl series that shines a light on the best minds of instrumental hiphop, ambient, and electronic music. Each installment gives one artist carte blanche to capture their signature sound. Every volume’s 500-unit, strictly limited vinyl pressing features one artist and twelve tracks, but only 250 units will contain the thirteenth track -- the eponymous “baker’s dozen bonus” -- on a flexi disc. The LPs also come equipped with a 5x7” postcard insert that features a photo of the artist’s workspace along with the equipment used in their music-making process. Visually cohesive and packaged with the utmost attention to detail, Baker’s Dozen is a series that speaks up for artists whose craft renders voices superfluous, whose instrumentals alone suffice to make a statement. Volume One highlights Los Angeles born / Sacramento based beat maker Dibiase, whose style is best described in his own words: “It’s crazy to think that my equipment collection and beat making process started back in high school with just an 8 second Gemini sampler and a Sony Walkman. It was a super basic set up. Back then I used whatever I could get my hands on. Finding different samples, looping them up, running the layers back through the Walkman. Adding more layers and repeating that process until I had a beat. It worked. My process is a lot different now but in some ways it’s the same. I still do a lot of layering. I use a combination of hardware and software. Sometimes I start with a sample. Sometime I start with drums. It depends on my mood and the genre. Sometime I use a kit. Other times I will sample and layer drums, run them through another piece of equipment like the SP-12 or 404 to dirty them up, then dump them back into Ableton. I really don’t have a set way of doing things musically. I like to experiment with different technics and styles. I like my music to have a certain sound. Most of the time I let the process happen naturally.”
Tronic is the third Solo album by Detroit MC/Producer Black Milk, originally released in 2008. Considered by many to be the LP that elevated Black to a new level after previously releasing solo efforts Popular Demand and Sound of The City. After being out of print for over six years, the deluxe silver edition reissue of Tronic is pressed on double silver vinyl, with a bonus 7” featuring five unreleased beats.
As one of the most-celebrated auteurs of his generation of hip hop artists, Black Milk has conditioned fans and critics to always expect the unexpected each time he releases new music. Few producers have earned the notoriety and respect he has as a musician, and when that is coupled with commanding talent as an emcee, it’s no surprise that his solo releases are met with exalted anticipation. The new full-length album “No Poison No Paradise” continues Black Milk’s trend of releasing material that maintains his signature sound while pushing it into new territory. Musically, each of Black Milk’s releases have kept one foot dipped in classical boom-bap and the other stomping with a fierce originality and willingness to expand his listeners’ sonic palate. “No Poison No Paradise” leaves behind the density and heavily- layered sounds of his 2010 release “Album of the Year” in favor of a more stripped-down approach. Some tracks showcase the raw sample-driven styles that helped make him one of Detroit’s hottest young talents nearly a decade ago. Others flex some of the sophistication and musicality that have helped to make his live show among the most-acclaimed in hip hop. Whichever direction he decides to take it, all of the trademark characteristics of Black’s music are fully apparent throughout the album: hard drums, melodic synths, and nimble flows. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of “No Poison No Paradise” is the evolution of Black Milk’s lyrical style. While he’s never been shy to get personal on the mic, Black introduces a refined ability as a storyteller on the new release, mostly told through the dreams of a character named Sonny. The album’s songs are steeped in autobiographical themes and construct rich visceral imagery of everything from the experience of growing up in a rough working-class neighborhood of Detroit to the struggles of maintaining one’s inspiration and success as an artist. Even with his lyrical progression, Black’s rap styles are unquestionably sharper and more varied than ever. “No Poison No Paradise” is another accomplished full-length solo release for Black Milk, and a return to form for one of hip hop’s most versatile talents. The album features guest appearances by Grammy-Award winners Black Thought (The Roots), Robert Glasper, and Dwele, as well as long-time collaborators Will Sessions, Mel, and Ab.