Jump to content

Large Professor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Large Professor
Large Professor performing in 2016
Large Professor performing in 2016
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Paul Mitchell
Also known as
  • Large Pro
  • Extra P.
Born (1972-03-21) March 21, 1972 (age 52)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
OriginQueens, New York City, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • record producer
  • DJ
Years active1989–present
Member of

William Paul Mitchell (born March 21, 1972),[1] better known by the stage name of Large Professor (also Extra P. and Large Pro), is an American rapper and music producer. Based in New York City, he is known as a founding member of the underground hip hop group Main Source and as a mentor and frequent collaborator of Nas.[2] About.com ranked Large Professor at No. 13 on its Top 25 Hip-Hop Producers list.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

William Paul Mitchell was born in Harlem, New York City, and raised in Flushing, Queens, New York City, where he attended IS 237 and John Bowne High School.[4][5]


Large Professor started making his earliest beats with two turntables, a Casio SK-1 sampler, and pause-tape cassettes before his mentor Paul C taught him how to use an E-mu SP-1200.[6] During his pause tape phase he noted that some of his techniques were different than those of other producers. "I was trying to catch it from a different part of the record. I would catch it from the hi-hat when dudes were just catching it from the one kick. I would catch it from the third hi-hat and be flipping it."[7]

In 1989, he joined the group Main Source, which also included Toronto natives K-Cut and Sir Scratch. In 1990 Large produced three tracks for Eric B. & Rakim's Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em, including "In the Ghetto".[6] To make "In the Ghetto", he sampled directly off of a cassette tape of sample ideas Paul C had made for Rakim.[6]

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 featured Nas' first public appearance on a track called "Live at the Barbeque", along with Akinyele and Joe Fatal.[4] Large Professor now considers "Looking at the Front Door" one of the most emotional records of his career, later saying "That's a deep record. At that time in life, I was eighteen years old. It was a kid with a pure heart, just writing, and putting his soul out there for the world."[5]

In 1992, their success allowed them 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 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, A Tribe Called Quest, and others during the 1990s.[8] During this time he handled a significant amount of production on several projects for other artists. In 1993 he produced Akinyele's entire Vagina Diner album, which experienced some modest commercial success at the time of its release.[9] Though the album did well at first, The Source later wrote an article criticizing the song "I Luh Huh", in which Akinyele considers pushing his pregnant girlfriend down the stairs as a form of abortion.[10] The ensuing backlash for the controversial lyrics hurt the album's performance.[11] Akinyele wrote a response in the next issue defending the song and pointing out that the violent ideas in the songs are just thoughts, and he ends the song by saying "Just cause I talk this shit don't get me wrong, Yo, I still luh hur."[10]

Large Professor also produced "Keep It Rollin'" on A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders not long after he left Main Source. This was a major moment in his career that helped him reach a new level of credibility and exposure as a solo artist.[12]

In 1994, Large Professor produced three of the ten songs on Nas's Illmatic ("Halftime", "One Time 4 Your Mind", and "It Ain't Hard to Tell"), the most of any producer involved with the album. According to an interview with Busta Rhymes, the "Halftime" beat was originally intended for him.[13] Though he liked the beat, he didn't end up using it and later regretted it after hearing "Halftime".[13] While describing the making of the song in an interview Large Pro said, "I mean, we just wanted to put something gritty out there to the world, and those drums—that's what it was at that time. It was that gritty, muffled out, because the Hip Hop that we grew up with… We grew up with park jam tapes and things like the fidelity of these tapes."[14] He was so instrumental in the making of Illmatic that Nas wanted to give him an executive producer credit, but he refused.[14]

In 1996, Large Professor completed his debut solo album The LP for Geffen Records. It was promoted by the singles "The Mad Scientist" and "I Juswannachill". After several delays, the album was shelved[15] and later released as a bootleg version in 2002. An official release of the album finally came out in 2009, thirteen years after its original intended release date.[15]

In 2001, Large Pro produced "You're da Man" and "Rewind" for Nas's Stillmatic album. He first played Nas the beat for "You're da Man" while Nas was working on Nastradamus a few years prior.[16] Nas chose the beat but decided to save it for a later project.[16] Large Professor also used the same vocal sample from the chorus on the song "The Man" for his 1st Class album.

On December 22, 2002, at a concert in Toronto, the original members of Main Source performed together for the first time in nearly 10 years.[17]


Large Professor in 2007


with Main Source
Solo albums
Collaboration albums
Instrumental albums
  • 2006: Beatz Volume 1
  • 2007: Beatz Volume 2
  • 2022: Beatz Volume 3

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Large Professor Rate Your Music. Accessed on May 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Large Professor". Matador Records. Archived from the original on July 23, 2013.
  3. ^ Henry Adaso; Ivan Rott; Renato P.; Bhaskar S.; Henry A. "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers". About.com.
  4. ^ a b Large Professor Biography at Allmusic.com
  5. ^ a b "Breaking Atoms: The Legendary Album That Invented The Sound Of "Classic" New York Hip-Hop". VinylMePlease.com. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1) Eric B. & Rakim "In The Ghetto" (1990)". Complex.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Kayser, Brian (2017). Words 2. seven3zero publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-5452-1951-5.
  8. ^ "Large Professor – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. ^ "Dining out". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. September 4, 1993.
  10. ^ a b Mofokeng, Thabiso (March 30, 2009). "Dear Ak, Editorial in The Source + Answer letter (1993–94)". Press Rewind If I Haven't... Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  11. ^ "Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1) Akinyele "The Bomb" (1993)". Complex.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1) A Tribe Called Quest f/ Large Professor "Keep It Rollin'" (1993)". Complex.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Powers, Ann; Carr, Daphne (November 9, 2010). Best Music Writing 2010. Da Capo Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-306-81925-4. large professor.
  14. ^ a b Grant, Andre. "Large Professor Confirms Refusing 'Illmatic' Executive Producer Credit". HipHopDX.com. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Bogazianos, Dimitri A. (December 1, 2011). 5 Grams: Crack Cocaine, Rap Music, and the War on Drugs. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-2306-7.
  16. ^ a b "Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2) Nas "You're Da Man" (2001)". Complex.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  17. ^ "Rap's Main Source". NOW. December 19, 2002. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  18. ^ Frydenlund, Zach (September 14, 2014). "Premiere: Listen to Large Professor's "In the Scrolls" f/ G Wiz". Complex.com. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  19. ^ "New Music: Cormega 'Industry'". Vibe.com. May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014.

External links[edit]