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Large Professor is, quite simply, one of the most important hip-hop producers to ever touch the SP-1200. Mentored by the late, great “golden era” studio wizard Paul C, already having worked with Rakim and Kool G Rap while still a teenager, this master craftsman’s most beloved music all but defines New York’s classic purist aesthetic. His signature sound would evolve two-fold through the ’90s. On the one hand, Extra P was amongst the first rap maestros (along with brethren in beats, Pete Rock) to harness the frantic collage style associated with the Bomb Squad and Prince Paul in a more soulfully straightforward context – creating the intricately arranged ghetto symphonies of Main Source’s superb 1991 debut, Breaking Atoms. On the other, P’s ability to manipulate a single workhorse sample – as exemplified by Nas’ “Halftime” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Keep It Rollin’,” and acclaimed remixes for Gang Starr, Slick Rick, Common, and others – exhibited his genius for simplicity. The aughts would see more notable additions to his production discography (Nas’ “You’re Da Man”; Roc Marciano’s UN’s “What They Want”). But what may be most impressive about Large Pro after all these years is his dedication to his trade. As is evidenced by the following varied list of his favorite sample flips, LP is never too professorial to himself study the art of making tracks.

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