Longevity in the music business is rare, it’s especially rare in the Hip-Hop genre, so it’s great to hear someone from the old-school still sounding fresh and relevant. Whereas certain Rappers from the nineties have sounded stale for the last decade or so, and with certain new Rappers sounding contrived and mediocre, Large Professor proves that being a certain age or from a certain era doesn’t stop creativity and delivery. His latest LP “Re:Living” is a great advertisement for the Rapper-slash-Producer who has been responsible for some of the best Hip-Hop music of all time.
The album begins with the title track and instantly you know this isn’t going to be a wack album. Extra P’s deep voice, his slow but commanding flow just exudes ruggedness, and thankfully this style continues all the way through to the end of the LP. The second song “Dreams Don’t Die” is a mellow track with Pro reminiscing over his upbringing and his introduction to music. The relaxed vibe along with the Notorious Big sampling chorus makes for a great listen, and this blend of the hardcore, the mature, and the smooth continues through to the next song “Opulence” and onward to the very end.
Large Professor who produced a few of Nas’ tracks on “Illmatic” has been creating legendary, street-centric Hip-Hop ever since. And despite the mainstream press not acknowledging his contribution to Hip-Hop music (not to mention his significance in creating Main Source and Nas’ début albums) real Hip-Hop heads know how important he is when it comes to 90’s East Coast Rap. To remind everyone, Re:Living features a track about this period in Hip-Hop history called “In The Scrolls”, and in it P even respectfully acknowledges his peers including Nas and Akinyele. And whilst on the topic of “Illmatic” it’s great to hear that classic “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” sound on a few of the songs on this album.
The next track is “Own World” and it features a beautiful chorus set against a G-Funk-esque whine in the background. This song would make for a great summer anthem if DJ’s got their thumb out and played it. Then there’s “Sophia Yo” which in my opinion is one of the stand-out tracks on the LP. This rugged and slow tempo song sports a mixture of heavy East Coast beats, a super-catchy, left-right-speaker-switching chorus, and even a Wild West vibe. Put this song on, turn the volume up to the max and soak up the atmosphere.
The only criticism I have of Re:Living is the strange cover photo of Large Professor looking miserable with his arms folded, dressed in a trapper hat like a bored Lumberjack. Who knows what they were thinking when they were designing the cover artwork, but aside from that, the album is almost perfect. There’s two instrumental tracks (“Earn” and “NDN”) but that’s to be expected from a Producer, and it has to be said these songs don’t break up the flow of the album in any way. There’s great content in terms of lyrics, in terms of beats, and even in terms of Music Industry politics; listen to the song titled “Industry Remix 2” featuring fellow Hip-Hop heavyweights Inspectah Deck, Cormega, and Lord Jamar, for a perspective of the music biz.
All-in-all Re:Living is an album heaving with block-thumping beats and raw rhymes, and although this album would easily have fitted into the mid-nineties, it’s equally at home in the present day where most people have grown tired of radio-friendly Hip-Pop and have began gravitating toward a throwback aesthetic. For fans of Large Professor, for fans of real Hip-Hop, for fans of the Golden Era this is an essential album; go get it.