Ah, “Looking at the Front Door,” “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball.” Remember those jams? Remember Main Source? Remember how cool Large Professor sounded? OK, if you don’t, I don’t know how much value 1st Class will have for you. Because nostalgia largely influences my liking of this disc. I can’t help feeling a certain affinity for this brother and his cadence. He brings back a lot of good, early hip-hop memories (like Brown Sugar sans the corny, terribly obvious plot and the over-long scenes). And, since LP doesn’t play himself as ass as Grand Puba’s ill-fated comeback a couple years ago or sound as exhausted as KRS-One does nowadays, I have to give LP his propers.
However, if it weren’t for this nostalgia, I don’t know how much I’d like this album. There’s nothing new or funky-fresh on 1st Class. Nothing novel, only nostalgic. The Professor still flows well enough; Nas, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes make capable cameos; the beats are good enough. Basically, Large Professor suffers from something everybody cursed with a past suffers from: he’s being judged by that past. Any old Main Source fan knows what the man’s capable of, and he just doesn’t live up to it here. Yes, 1st Class is definitely a good album (I really don’t want folks to think I’m slamming it), but I hoped for better, because I know Large Professor can do better.
Matador Records: http://www.matadorrecords.com/