Large Professor

Nas wasn’t the only Queens veteran to release an album that re-captured the roots of New York hip-hop this past summer. Large Professor (who also appears on the aforementioned Nas LP) dropped his first solo record since 2008 with Professor @ Large, which is packed with neck-snapping production and Large Pro’s booming vocals. As expected, Extra P handles almost all of the production duties (the lone exception being the album’s title track, which is laced by Canadian beatsmith Marco Polo) including a few very dope instrumental tracks. Large Pro’s beats are vintage New York boom bap, and while it isn’t necessarily innovative, there still can never be a shortage of classic, New York hip hop.

Extra P is also very impressive on the mic on his first solo disc since Main Source. On the album opener, “Key to the City” he spits a rapid flow akin to Rakim’s “(Juice) Know the Ledge.” On “Straight from the Golden” P trades braggadocio with Busta Rhymes dropping flows, each more intricate than the previous. Large Pro brings along an impressive cast of features that all bring their A-games to each track they are featured on. The album’s grand finale, “M.A.R.S.” features Cormega, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano and Saigon trading bars, while Pro just sticks to laying one of his best beats on the album. Mega and Tragedy Khadafi stop by to bring some additional energy to the high-powered, “Focused Up.”

Extra P doesn’t re-invent the wheel on Professor @ Large. In fact, he essentially does the same thing he’s done for the past 20 years; he sticks with the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” method. And it has worked well for him. His beats don’t need to reinvent the wheel to still make your head bounce, and lyrically he’s as consistent as he’s ever been. Professor @ Large isn’t necessarily going to convert legions of new fans, but it will satisfy any fan of the Queens borough mainstay.

- Zach Gase