Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo “Streets Of New York” (1990)

Album: Wanted: Dead or Alive

Label: Cold Chillin’/WarnerBrothers

Producer: Large Professor

Large Professor: “My dude [Joe] Fatal was the one who brought me around Eric B., G Rap, and everybody. He didn’t have to sell me, because the proof was in the beats. As soon as they were like, ‘Aiight, this is your man? Let’s see what you got,’ I just took flight. It wasn’t like we were bluffing or bullshitting. All Fatal did was say, ‘Yo, this is my dude, he’s nice with the beats.’ And we took it from there.

 

G. Rap is dope, because he would come to the studio with ideas already in mind. He’d come in with the rhymes written already. So we would formulate the beat right there.

 

“Fatal is just a cool dude. Everybody’s cool with Fatal. Through all five boroughs, everyone knows him. He first brought Tragedy to my house, when Trag first had got out of his first little dilemma, and from there it just started ringing off. I gave Trag beats, Marley [Marl] got in the picture, Eric B., G Rap, [and eventually Nas].

“I think what I first let G Rap hear were the Trag songs that I did. And then also Main Source, because that stuff was playing on the radio. Pete Rock and Marley were burning that. It was a culmination of all of that, like, ‘Yo, he’s official. He’s already on the radio.’ And Fatal was making sure everyone knew.

“The first song I had on the radio was 'Think.' I was right there at WBLS, and Pete Rock played it [on his show with Marley Marl]. We had pressed up our own records. Our manager, the two DJ’s mother, she had them pressed up. And Fatal was like, ‘Yo man, we can get in the doors. I’m cool with Marley and Pete. Let’s go up there.’ So I brought the record, and Pete just threw the needle on the record to see where it started, and just let it go. He didn’t even really listen to it [before he played it].

“I didn’t know Pete at that time, but one thing Fatal told me was, like, ‘Yo, bring some records with you. I know they like to sample, so just in case, you can trade some records or something like that.’ So I brought a case of records with me. And once Pete saw that, he was like, ‘Word? You like records too?’ And we just clicked like that. From there, it was on.

“G. Rap is dope, because he would come to the studio with ideas already in mind. He’d come in with the rhymes written already. So we would formulate the beat right there. I would start putting drums in, and he would be like, ‘Yo, I got this rhyme that would go good to that.’ ‘Streets of New York’ was one of those songs.

“The thing that was dope about that was Anton, the engineer, started really getting involved with it, and was like, ‘Yo, I can play this to it.’ And he started playing the piano. That’s Anton playing [the riff on the record]. We were in there goin’ off, all mixin’ it up. That song is like a masterpiece, because everyone was in on that, [kind of like a live jam].

“That was one of the strongest songs, the one that everyone was feeling. G Rap is the master of [painting a picture with his lyrics].”

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