Large Professor

1st Class

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He was programming beats and producing records for hip-hop legends while still a teenager, but Large Professor waited nearly a decade to put out his own album. If 1st Class isn't as exciting as any of his outside productions (which are simply begging for a greatest-shots collection), it's because LP tries to handle nearly everything himself. The album's five tracks in before we finally hear a guest, and it's a long wait -- Large Professor doesn't have much to say on a track like "Brand New Sound" (with his beats or his rhymes), and he repeats the title enough to make it sound more like desperation than defiance. A three-track spate of features finds him trading some tough rhymes with Nas, Akinyele, and Q-Tip, though here Q-Tip is basically reduced to freestyling over the choruses. Large Professor gets back to boasting with "Born to Ball," but he doesn't prove up to the task. Either more space for guests, or a little more time in the studio would've resulted in a better effort than this half-baked record.

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