Large Professor is, quite simply, one of the most important hip-hop producers to ever touch the SP-1200. Mentored by the late, great “golden era” studio wizard Paul C, already having worked with Rakim and Kool G Rap while still a teenager, this master craftsman’s most beloved music all but defines New York’s classic purist aesthetic. His signature sound would evolve two-fold through the ’90s. On the one hand, Extra P was amongst the first rap maestros (along with brethren in beats, Pete Rock) to harness the frantic collage style associated with the Bomb Squad and Prince Paul in a more soulfully straightforward context – creating the intricately arranged ghetto symphonies of Main Source’s superb 1991 debut, Breaking Atoms. On the other, P’s ability to manipulate a single workhorse sample – as exemplified by Nas’ “Halftime” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Keep It Rollin’,” and acclaimed remixes for Gang Starr, Slick Rick, Common, and others – exhibited his genius for simplicity. The aughts would see more notable additions to his production discography (Nas’ “You’re Da Man”; Roc Marciano’s UN’s “What They Want”). But what may be most impressive about Large Pro after all these years is his dedication to his trade. As is evidenced by the following varied list of his favorite sample flips, LP is never too professorial to himself study the art of making tracks.
CLICK THE THUMBNAILS UP ABOVE TO PEEP LARGE PROFESSOR’S 10 FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS.
10. Shawty Lo - "They Know (Dey Know)" (D4L, 2008)
PRODUCER: Balis Beats
SAMPLE SOURCE: Mandrill – “Children Of the Sun” (Polydor, 1972)
Large Professor: [I was] watching videos one day and this song came on, and for South music I felt it was iller than the rest. A few months later while checking a Mandrill LP I stumbled onto the song “Children Of The Sun,” and there it was, the music for Lo’s song. For the South, I thought that was ill.
9. Diamond D ft. Big C & AK2000 - "If I Were Ya Woman" (mixtape track, 2003)
PRODUCER: Diamond D
SAMPLE SOURCE: Gladys Knight & the Pips – “If I Were Your Woman” (Soul, 1970)
Large Professor: This song is off a crazy slept-on mixtape [Grown Man Talk] that Diamond threw out there in 2003. He super-flipped the famous Gladys Knight & the Pips “If I Were Your Woman” – chopping all the vocals out like only a few know how to do. When I heard this, I felt like Diamond stepped his game up 100%.
8. Das Efx - "Jussumen (Pete Rock Remix)" (East-West, 1992)
PRODUCER: Pete Rock
SAMPLE SOURCE: Cal Tjader – “A Message To Michael” (Skye, 1968)
Large Professor: I got put onto the Cal Tjader Tjader-Ade [early '70s "Best Of"] album by [producer] Rashad Smith, and quickly started craftin’ joints off that album (e.g. the Slick Rick “It’s A Boy” Remix). Me and Pete [Rock] would trade record discoveries often, and Tjader-Ade was amongst them. I don’t remember exactly when I heard the Das EFX remix, but when I did I automatically knew what he sampled. I listened to the remix over and over and went back to the original record. First off, the part he got the bass-line from is off on the album. I won’t go all into the schematics of the joint, but if you can decipher any of what that man did then you’ll have a new-found respect for record sample chopping and Pete Rock.
7. Nas "It Ain't Hard To Tell (Remix)" (Columbia, 1994)
PRODUCER: Large Professor
SAMPLE SOURCES: Biz Markie – “Nobody Beats the Biz” (Cold Chillin’, 1987), Blue Jays – “What Do You Want From Me Woman?” (Map City, 1972)
Large Professor: It was Nas, myself and my man Drew (Dr. Butcher) chillin’ in the lab, and I was going through records. I stopped listening for samples and just started cuttin’ up rap records. So we’re there chillin’ and I’m like, “Yo! You hear that? You ain’t hear that?” They were like, “What? What?” So I spun it back and just started catching, “‘nized as the King of Disco-in’.” We all just started laughing, and Nas was like, “Yeah we gotta use that.” [Columbia/Sony Records' A&R] Faith Newman called for a remix of “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” and I was undecided on what to flip. The first night I hooked up a Catalyst joint that didn’t work. The next day I got a call from Sony like, “Yo, we need it tomorrow!” That same morning I got a box of records that I didn’t even know was sent to me from [record] dealer, Bob Gibson. Once I heard that Blue Jays joint I immediately went to the lab, hooked that up, and threw that Biz Markie “Nobody Beats The Biz” “Nas is the King of Discoin” audio illusion in there.
6. AZ - "Your World Don't Stop" (white label, 1995)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Lou Donaldson – “You’re Welcome Stop On By” (Blue Note, 1974)
Large Professor: When I first heard this song the loop alone caught me. I liked how the horn ended the phrase. This joint just sounded slick. Then when I heard the original, Lou Donaldson’s “You’re Welcome Stop On By,” and heard that they were actually saying, “You’re Welcome Stop,” I had to give Buckwild his props. This is one of the best examples of hearing [something] other than what is [said] on a record.
5. Ultramagnetic MC's - "Give The Drummer Some" (Next Plateau, 1988)
PRODUCER: Paul C
SAMPLE SOURCE: James Brown – “There Was a Time” (King, 1968)
Large Professor: This song is early sample innovation. Paul C was an extreme sound scientist, and this may be the most prime example of his futuristic approach. To take the James Brown “There Was a Time” off the Gettin’ Down To It album and pan (use only the left or right side of a stereo record) to get only the drums, was unheard of at that time. He not only heard that, but also heard the horn and guitar from the same record to create a real ill b-boy joint. It’s funny, we were chilling one day and he laughs and plays me a Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud remix he did for “Gets No Deeper.” I noticed the joint had a real ill bass-line, and Paul’s like, “Yeah I got that from the other side of the James Brown joint I used for ‘Give The Drummer Some.’” Ridiculous.
4. MC Shan "The Bridge" (Bridge, 1986)
PRODUCER: Marley Marl
SAMPLE SOURCE: Magic Disco Machine – “Scratchin’” (Motown, 1975)
Large Professor: Although brief, that spun backwards horn hit off Magic Disco Machine “Scratchin’” will always symbolize real hip-hop. There’s nothing soft about that sound and it gets you amped to break, write graffiti, rhyme and DJ. I don’t know the story behind MC Shan and Marley Marl deciding to take that sound, spin it back, and loop it in the SP. But it worked (especially with them gritty “Impeach the President” drums).
3. Group Home "Supa Star" (Payday, 1995)
PRODUCER: DJ Premier
SAMPLE SOURCE: Cameo – “Hanging Downtown” (Atlanta Artists, 1984)
Large Professor: This is when Premier really started to take flight. This song musically translates decades of ghetto life. Those chops from Cameo “Hanging Downtown” sound like a hot summer night standing under a streetlight to me. When you hear how wobbly the original is, and [then] hear how Premier placed those sounds to the beat, that’s drum machine magic.
2. Mobb Deep "Shook Ones Pt. 2" (Loud, 1995)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Herbie Hancock – “Jessica” (Warner Bros., 1969)
Large Professor: Having had the Herbie Hancock Fat Albert Rotunda [album] for so long, when the sample for “Shook Ones” finally did surface, I just had to laugh. Havoc finagled a trivial sound and turned it into some hoodness. This is an excellent case of man makes the machine. At that time producers were moving away from blatant samples and doing more manipulating with the sounds, and how Havoc flipped “Jessica” remains at the forefront.
1. Jay Electronica ft. Tone - "Renaissance Man" (web track, 2007)
PRODUCER: J Dilla
SAMPLE SOURCE: Marvin Gaye – “God Is Love” (Tamla, 1971)
Large Professor: Honestly, I cry when I listen to how J Dilla flipped Marvin Gaye’s “God Is Love.” For one, I still don’t know which version he used. [laughs] And secondly, a huge part of sampling is “hearing” and “knowing” what to sample. And that man heard and knew what that was. AND on top of that he shifted the timing to make the phrase right and exact, creating one of the most spiritually uplifting tracks ever.