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

Main Source f/ Nas, Joe Fatal, and Akinyele “Live at the Barbeque” (1991)

Album: Breaking Atoms

Label: Wild Pitch/EMI

Producer: Main Source

Large Professor: “I always had that drum loop, the ‘Nautilus’ drum loop. [People sampled that record a lot], but to be right there with it, and just get the drums out of it without all of the bells and all of that—at that time, it was amazing. Like, ‘Oh shit, you got just the drums out of ‘Nautilus’?’ It was tough.

 

I wrote my verse right there. Fatal had a combination of dudes collaborating with him on his verse. Ak was always ready. And Nas, he always has books and books of rhymes. So he took this piece of this rhyme, and that piece of that rhyme, and put it all together.

 

“We had recorded all of the album. The album was done. And we had this last song to do. It was the last session. This was it. We had tried to hook it up other times. Nas said a rhyme on it when we were at another studio, but it just never really came together. There was another studio that we were working at, and it was like we were trying to get a little extra in at the end of a session, and I threw it up, like, ‘Yo Nas, see if you got anything for this.’ So he put something down, and I’m sure it was tough, but the whole idea of it just didn’t come together.

“But this session, I threw the bassline in the beat, and we were all there. Times before, it was like, we were just practicing when I would throw that beat up, because it was just the drums. This time, it was like, ‘This gotta count.’

“I wrote my verse right there. Fatal had a combination of dudes collaborating with him on his verse. Ak was always ready. And Nas, he always has books and books of rhymes. So he took this piece of this rhyme, and that piece of that rhyme, and put it all together.

“We used to wild in the studio. G. Rap kind of started that with us. In the studio in general, dudes used to be on some real wild shit, getting their puff on and drink on, partying, the damn speakers blaring loud. That’s where that chorus came from. [Laughs.]

“It was crazy with ‘Barbeque’ because that was the last song, and so it was like a month or two later, the album was out. There was no in-between time. It wasn’t like I had time to go around the way and play it for people. It was like, ‘We got it in the can, it’s good.’ As soon as we finished that, we were mastering, and then it was like, it went straight to the radio. We were like, ‘Yo, this is it!’

“For all of us in general when the album came out, it was [crazy]. And Nas was like a huge highlight on that joint. And then he started getting his shine on, with Bobbito and [Stretch Armstrong], going up there and gettin’ busy.

“[I originally] met Nas through Joe Fatal, and he had a friend named Melquan that he was getting up with. Nas wanted to record a demo for himself. His mother was funding him to go record a demo. And at that time, my name was kind of ringing bells, like, ‘Yo, there’s this dude out in Flushing that’s making these crazy beats.’ Fatal was putting that out there. So I had to show and prove.

“One day, Melquan [and Fatal set it up], and I was coming out of high school, coming down the steps. And [them and Nas] came by in the cab, like, ‘Yo, we’re gonna make that happen.’ So we jetted back to the crib, I got my machine, and jetted all the way out to some studio—Sty In The Sky Studios in Coney Island, Brooklyn. I made the beat right there, and we recorded the demo. I forgot the name of it, but it was dope though. [We had other demos from that time too that were ill, like] ‘Top Choice of the Female Persuasion,’ and ‘550 Fahrenheit.’ [But they] never came out.”

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