It’s been a minute since Prof had a new release since signing with Rhymesayers!
It’s weird to say it, but some of the best underground hip hop of the past ten years can be traced to one label: Rhymesayers. Yes, the Minnesota-based label is responsible for giving the world some of the best alternative and forward-thinking underground acts, like MF DOOM, P.O.S., and Atmosphere. Hell, Minnesota itself has been a fantastic producer of great hip hop, with the Doomtree Collective being a constant source of excellent alternative hip hop. Rhymesayers’ latest local signing sees the Uncle Jesse beefin’ rapper Prof ready for the big stage. The question is if the latest MN artist is up to snuff with the quality we’re used to from the label?
The answer: absolutely, but it’s a bit of a departure from the norm. Prof’s label debut features some otherwise unexpected guests, although all three of them work out. Prof’s confident yet restrained flow works really well with Tech N9ne on “Ghost”; Petey Pablo kills it on album stand-out “King”, with a chorus that will kill on the live circuit. Let’s just say I’m not the target audience for Waka Flocka Flame, but his verse on “Apeshit” is impressive and complements the (hopefully) ironic crunk track. If the guest list doesn’t clue you in, Liability is a wonderfully diverse record, showcasing Prof’s impressive range and ability to morph his voice with the chosen beat. “Farout” has a Neptunes-style beat, and Prof’s soulful “crooning” works very well for the hip-shakin’ track.
The album is tied together by the theme of what would lead people down the path of becoming a liability, or someone whose life has led them down a dark path. Many of these songs tell stories of good souls that are a shell of their former self. “Bar Breaker” succinctly distills this into a quip: “I tried being humble; it’s just not working out.” It helps contextualize the more aggressive and out-there lyrical moments. Sure, he’s no KRS-One or Lupe Fiasco, but the theme gives these songs a nice added depth. It ties together songs in a neat way, and Prof’s humorous personality shines through.
Thankfully, the beats and Prof’s melodies are really well executed. “Sex in the 90s” is stupid catchy, and “Permission” is a nice, old-school piano-based track. There are some neat Easter eggs, too. “Church” is quite similar, sonically, to popular Christian hip hop (no, seriously), and some more that I won’t spoil.
Overall, this is an impressive start for Prof, and it cements him as another great Rhymesayer rapper. Sure, the back half isn’t as impressive as the front half of the record, but even at its worst, Liability is still a fun listen. Those looking for a rapper who takes his music seriously but not himself, check out Prof now.