Large Professor also known as Large Pro and Xtra P (born William Paul Mitchell on , 1972, in the Harlem section of New York, New York. USA), is a New York City-based hip hop record producer and emcee. He is also best known as a founding member of the influential underground hip hop group Main Source, and as a frequent collaborator with Nas. About.com ranked Large Professor #5 on its Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers list.
Early life and career
Mitchell moved in his early childhood to Flushing, Queens, were he was raised. His production career started early in his adolescence. As a young teenager, he would make pause tapes, in which he would pause a beat and blend it in with other sequences. Eventually, he mananged to own a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard that allowed him to make his beats in the comfort of his own home. He became a prot?g? of the late Paul C, a record producer and musician with whom he credits for teaching him virtually everything he knows about record production as well as the associated technology used for making hip-hop music. Paul C was doing production work with Eric B. & Rakim and Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud, and then, at age 17, Large was given the opportunity to program beats for Eric B. & Rakim's album Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em (1990) while still attending high school. While working with them, he discovered Nas, who got a management deal with Serchlite Publishing (headed by MC Serch from former group 3rd Bass) and produced three tracks on Nas's debut album, Illmatic (1994), after he was signed by Columbia/SME Records. His work with Eric B. & Rakim eventually led him to work on Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990), producing (officially credited as a co-producer) the album's lead single and iconic hip-hop classic, ?Streets of New York.?
Career with Main Source
In 1989, he joined the group Main Source, which also included K-Cut and Sir Scratch from Toronto. Main Source recorded one album with Large called Breaking Atoms, which was released in 1991. It included hits such as "Just Hangin' Out", "Looking at the Front Door," and Nas makes his first public appearance on a track called "Live at the Barbeque", along with Akinyele and Joe Fatal. In 1992, its success allowed it to record"Fakin' the Funk", a track on the White Men Can't Jump motion-picture soundtrack. Because of business differences, Large and Main Source quietly parted ways and Large went on to sign with Geffen/MCA Records. During and after his tenure with Main Source, he worked with Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and he produced a number of tracks for Nas, Busta Rhymes, Masta Ace, The X-Ecutioners, Tragedy Khadafi, Big Daddy Kane, Mobb Deep, and others during the 1990s.
In 1996, he released two singles for Geffen/MCA Records, "Ijuswannachill" and "The Mad Scientist", for which videos were produced for both tracks. He was to have his highly anticipated solo album The LP released around the same time, but it was never released because of label politics. Geffen and Large Professor eventually parted ways, and he signed with Matador Records, which generally specialized in marketing and promoting contemporary rock and alternative tracks as well as electronic music. Although his album for Matador, 1st Class did not receive mainstream acceptance, it gained favorable reviews by fans and critics. The album included guest appearances by Nas, Busta Rhymes, and Q-Tip. The album also included the moderate street hit "Radioactive."
Large's publishing company is named Paul Sea Productions as an homage to his late mentor.
For many years, people thought that Large Professor directly taught DJ Premier how to use the Emu SP-1200 sampling drum machine, which Large used to help program many of his beats during the 1990s. However, according to Large Professor, he just showed DJ Premier to enhance what he already had. This is an excerpt from the November/December issue of Scratch Magazine:
Since people see Professor, they say, 'He taught Preemo'. Nah, what happened was that we traded off. Preem showed me an ill beat and at the time I was filtering records like taking the bassline out of a record and filtering. I showed him how to do that on the Akai S-950. Premier doesn't even use the 1200; he's never used the 1200. Just people throughout the years to take shit and run with it. We just traded off. He shown me the "Brethren" (break) beat and I showed him how to muffle out the bassline. That's all it was
Large Professor DJs at clubs, parties, and events worldwide and still engages in music production. He released an instrumental LP in 2006 called Beatz Vol. 1. Its sequel, Beats Vol. 2, was released in 2007.
His latest album, Main Source, was released in 2008 and features production by him and others including Marco Polo and verses from Big Noyd, Styles P, Jeru the Damaja, AZ and Lil Dap.