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Small Professor proves with Guilty: 'We have a pretty swell chemistry' Philly producer Small Professor caught our attention with his 2012 compilation 'Gigantic vol. 1'. Besides Wreckin Crew homeys Zilla Rocca, Curly Castro, and Has-Lo, the album featured Detroit lyricist Guilty -'I sit on the end at the movies and let my feet stick out'- Simpson. Now, the Professor and Guilty team up for the 10-track record 'Highway Robbery', about a career criminal, featuring some of Professor's dirrtiest productions.

The record is about 'a post-apocalyptic Detroit'. You're from Philly. Do you feel like you could evoke the perfect setting for a Detroit story?

The record's setting is a post-apocalyptic Detroit. But the album is more about what Guilty's unnamed character is going through in his profession, as a career criminal. Providing the soundscape for that story is something that was easy for me to do, because I'm such a big fan of Guilty's music. And also because I am able to make music that he sounds good on. We seem to have a pretty swell chemistry as a duo.

The music is raw and rugged....

For the production on this album, I was focused on two things: 1. Providing Guilty with joints that accentuated his strengths as a rapper. 2. Showing my range and versatility as a producer.

Never considered using more of a Motown sound for this album?

The Motown sound is something that I also like trying my hand at. But it's not what I envisioned for this particular piece of work as a whole.

The concept of the album reminds people of NWA' s 100 Miles And Runnin, me, I think of a Kool G Rap & DJ Polo record. Did you have that era in mind while making the record?

I will always make references to 90's hip-hop in my music. It's the first kind of rap I listened to: the beats were a huge component in my hip-hop production education. However, I'm also influenced by rap music of the current era. So elements of that make their way into my production style as well. They are also present on 'Highway Robbery'.

The art work, designed by Andres Guzman, is dope. Coalmine Records had you involved in the surrounding aspects of the album, or did you only focus on the music?

Working with Coalmine Records' CEO Matt Diamond has always been a pleasure, because he understands his role in the music making-process. There are labels that try to dictate what kind of music you should make. But Matt knows what he's good at, and that is the business side of things. The two sides always intersect at some points, but for the most part, I was allowed full creative freedom and license to put the album together

More and more artists are working with just one producer for their album. Why do you think it's important for an artist to have 'one sound' on his album?

Having one producer for an entire project makes it easier to have a cohesive sound, but it's not a guarantee. That being said, I think it's more likely that an album will be enjoyed if it doesn't sound like 100 different sounds on the same record.

Things are moving fast for you. You started to get some shine last year when 'Gigantic, Vol 1' came out. One year later, you release an album with one of the most fav-ed MC's of independent hip-hop, you had a feature in The Source...

I'm simply enjoying the increased exposure and appreciate the props I've been getting for my art and hard work.

Has the workload become more intense?

The workload is always intense for me. I have a good or bad habit of working on a million things at once. It's better when I have deadlines, like I had for 'Highway Robbery'. But all in all, it's perfectly fine. I think staying busy with anything you want to become better at, is the best way to achieve that goal.

You were able to work with AG, DJ Revolution, Statik Selektah a.o. for this project. Did you work with them in person or was it all by sending files through the net?

I was not able to work with any of the guests, or Guilty, in person. By now, I'm very used to work solely with a capellas and .wav files when it comes to collaborations. But I have to admit that it can be different, and sometimes better, to work on music in person.

Seeming that you spend most of your days as a producer in a home studio. Do you get to travel much?

(chuckles) I guess by the amount of music I release, the perception would be that I do music for a living, but I'm not there yet. On my way, though. I do not get to travel very much, but I would like to change that one day!

What's next for Small Pro?

I always have a ton of projects coming. Some are albums with a single rapper and I will always have more instrumental albums on the way. But I don't even know what's coming next myself. I change my mind constantly and always think of new projects to start, often to the detriment of the albums that are 98% done. But what can I say? My best advice is to stay tuned, as I have been prone to drop unexpectedly like bird droppings.

 

POSTED 09|30|2013
conducted by cpf

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