Nas & Large Professor Slider

Issue 18, “Nas & Extra P!”

Nas & Large Professor Cover story Mass Appeal Issue 18

In honor of Nas’ 40th birthday, we thought it only made since to revisit his cover story from Issue 18. Enjoy!

For the first time, Nas and Large Professor sit down to discuss their similarities and, more importantly, their differences—and how what once drove them apart has now brought them back together.

Friends. How many of us have them? Real friends. Not the origami-type that fold under pressure. I’m talking about the kind that’ll stand by you no matter what happens. Whether you’re on top or on the bottom, gassed or humble, riding or dying. Nas—rap’s most profound yet conflicted voice—has a real friend in rappin’ producer Large Professor. Large has watched Nas bloom right under his wing—from teenaged apprentice to MTV superstar. Though the friends took opposite roads in the late ‘90s—Nas desperately reaching for mass appeal while LP shunned even his underground audience—Large maintains that he’s quietly stood behind God’s son the whole while. And vice versa.

Once upon a time in Queens (so you know its gonna be a good story), 17-year-old William Paul Mitchell—the live guy with glasses known as Large Professor or Extra P—was met on the steps of John Bowne High School by 16-year-old wanna-be rapper, Nasir “Nasty Nas” Jones. That night the adolescent rap legends traveled by cab to a small recording studio deep in Flatbush, Brooklyn named Sty In The Sky and Nas put his hoarse voice unto a two-inch reel for the first time. “Lyrically III,” the demo they tracked that night, may never have made it out of the vault, but Nas’s revolutionary mixture of Rakim’s depth, Kool G Rap’s knowledge of street lore and Ice Cube’s shocking lyricism was enough to convince Large that he was looking at the future of rap.

Nas Mass Appeal Issue 18 Cover Story

Less than a year after their introduction, Nas, a lyrical (black) panther by any measure, was let out of the cage by Large Professor and his then-new group Main Source via their debut long player Breaking Atoms. The album’s rugged, bare-bones posse cut “Live At The Barbeque” would eventually lead the kid from Queensbridge housing projects down the road to the riches. Over an unrelenting drum loop, Nas, the self-styled “rebel to America” caused a hysteria, spitting the most auspicious debut in Hip-Hop history.

Though busy extricating himself from Main Source (sometimes, business gets personal) Large Pro, in ’93, oversaw Nas’s meticulous debut, Illmatic [Columbia, ‘94]. But rather than produce the entire album himself (customary at the time), LP instead introduced Nas to the other best producers in the rap game: DJ Premier and Pete Rock to name a few. The result? Nas made nine of the best songs ever and almost every rapper-driven album released in Illmatic’s wake has tried to emulate its multifarious formula of A-list producers.

But the fast friends came to a fork in the road in ’95. Under self-applied pressure to compete commercially, Nas abandoned Illmatic’s winning recipe in search of pop hits and thug love. The results? He shot to the top of the charts, earning platinum plaques with three Large Professor-less albums, each worse than the last. Hardcore fans questioned if the street’s disciple was fakin’ the funk and speculate why he’d treat his mentor like a burnt piece of bacon. Meanwhile, Geffen, in 1996, aborted Large Professor’s three-year delinquent solo album, The LP, due to its dated sound. Disgusted with the industry, Large pulled a Darkman and inexplicably disappeared into the ‘hood.

A decade after meeting on those steps in Flushing, the two reunited for Stillmatic [Columbia, ‘01], Nas’ much needed return to his roots, and again they made history. Having reconciled their own personal and professional issues—and their issues with each other—the two brothers are back on the same page and ready to rock. Large Professor has finally released the follow-up to Breaking Atoms, 1st Class [Matador], to critical acclaim. And Nas made a compelling argument that he never fell off with The Lost Tapes [Columbia], a collection of tracks that escaped his mediocre late ‘90s offerings. Ironically, the two are camped out in the internationally recognized home of pop, Orlando, Florida, putting the finishing touches on Nas’s sixth and possibly most focused offering, God’s Son [Columbia].

Despite their frantic recording schedule, Large Professor stepped away from his SP1200 and Nas put down his one mic, taking a moment to address their long-lasting friendship and the state of Hip-Hop union, because the love they have for one another and the love they have for rap are one in the same. One love, dummy!

Next Page –>

Pages: 1 2 3

Related Articles

Print
Print

Nas Is Like: We All Shine

Print
Print

Real Artists Do Real Things

Ad

Latest News

will wagner, deep cover, vintage, wwe Hey, You're Cool

Hey, You’re Cool! Will Wagner of Deep Cover

Look back at the Attitude Era through vintage WWE/WWF clothing
dj khaled drops "it's secured" video featuring travis scott and nas Music Video

DJ Khaled Drops “It’s Secured” Video Featuring Nas and Travis Scott

The ‘Grateful’ anthem comes to life
U.S. Parks Police News

Cops in D.C. Handcuff Teens for Selling Bottled Water Because…?

Police: “Safety” Us: GTFOH
21 years ago, jay-z dropped his debut album, reasonable doubt Music

JAY-Z’s ‘Reasonable Doubt’ Is Now Old Enough to Order Moët

Back when he first had a hyphen, and an umlaut
denzel curry drops surprise '13' ep Music

Stream Denzel Curry’s Surprise ‘13’ EP Here

The punk-rap aficionado rages on into the summer
jay-z-michael-jackson Features

The Five Elements of Michael Jackson

Quiet as it's kept, The King of Pop was a quintessential hip hop superstar
meek mill drops "yba" video featuring the-dream Music Video

Meek Mill Chronicles His Troubled Youth in “YBA” Video

His new album, ‘Wins and Losses,’ is on the way
jay-z-jonathan-mannion Features

The Version Of Jay Z’s “Feelin It” That You’ve (Probably) Never Heard

Camp Lo's Geechi Suede recounts the making of a classic
lamar odom's lawyer writes espn a letter after stephen a. smith's "crack" comments Sports

Lamar Odom’s Lawyer Pens Letter to ESPN Over Stephen A. Smith’s “Crack” Comments

Stephen A. clowned Odom’s addiction on ESPN this week in a clip that’s now viral
Meek Mill's crew apparently attacks Safaree in Los Angeles. News

Safaree Gets Jumped, Calls Meek Mill “Biggest Pussy On This Planet”

Meek remains unfazed
Music

With ‘Project E.T.,’ DJ Esco and Future Gave Listeners “Too Much Sauce”

"Yeah, all of my diamonds they shine, Haters like knock that off"
Metro Boomin drops a new song with Drake and Offset Music

Metro Boomin Drops Surprise Drake, Offset Collab, “No Complaints”—Is Album Next?

The Atlanta producer's got everybody lookin'
Zola News

Viral Dancing Gorilla Sad Reminder Of What Harambe Could Have Been

Impressive moves but... damn
tupac filmmakers sued by former vibe writer Film

‘All Eyez On Me’ Filmmakers Sued for Using Fictional Characters in Tupac Biopic

Former ‘VIBE’ writer claims the movie steals his intellectual property
Call of Duty 4 Screencap Remastered Tech/Games

‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered’ Standalone Release Coming Soon

COD fans who skipped the $80 'Infinite Warfare' bundle are psyched
memesmahnegguh, coco mango cherry Hey, You're Cool

Hey, You’re Cool! @memesMahNegguh

Adult Swim, holler at your boy!