Review Summary: The best 90's east coast rap album no one talks about.
Who doesn't like Rakim, really?
Main Source is:
Sir Scratch- turntables
Large Professor- Vocals
The only correlation that sentence has with this album is that Large Professor, a member of this group, has produced for Eric B. & Rakim. Main Source was an underground hip hop group that was extremely influential. Not only featuring the first appearance of Large Professor, who would later come to be one of the greatest beat makers in all of hip-hop (see: Nas, Diamond D, Eric B. & Rakim), it also features the first appearance of Nas, in the track "Live at the Barbeque." Nas would latter sample this track in the intro track of Illmatic, "Genesis." The album has been out of print since 1997, only recently being reinstated in print in April of 2008. While only reaching #40 in the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums in 1991, they did score a #1 hit with "Lookin' at the Front Door." The one reason that this album seems to be forgotten to bigger groups such as Nas or A Tribe Called Quest is because the label who released it, Wild Pitch label, went out of business in 1997.
The biggest influence that came from this album though is the beats of Large Professor. The beats are extremely ahead of their time, with a heavy use of sampling, would influence much of the 90s hip-hop beats. The album itself is very rich, and all of the beats are either very jazzy or soul-like in nature. The beats are layered extremely well, giving a rich, fun and vibrant feel to the album. The bass and drum combo are never overbearing or heavy, rather creating a sonic line for you to groove (or bob your head to, whatever the hell you do) along to. There is a very little use of horns and guitar throughout the album, but the sparse use of them only adds to the beats and their value. The use of two DJs scratching along adds another layer to the already many layers thrown out by the beats.
The main focal point of the group is Large Professor as well. He is a very competent rapper, posing a great control and also sporting a very nice flow. His voice only complements the beats and vice versa. There are many notable guest appearances that appear on this album. "Live at the Barbeque" features Fatal Joe, and the first appearances of two then-young rappers, Nas and Akinyele. With the lyrics themselves, it may seem the Large Professor is a little full of himself. I mean with lyrics such as: "Your brain is simple and reveal while mine is sealed / Coming up with the archeological finds / Funk drums allow me to spark you with rhymes / The mic's my instrument, my skills are infinite / Catch a hint from it / Because it's the Large Professor" you just may think the man is too full of himself, but in a way, it works. His rhymes are of top notch throughout, probably some of the best on the track "Just A Friendly Game of Baseball." The track itself is a lyrical metaphor from a game of baseball to cops shooting up gangs on the streets.
I guess when they shoot up a crew, it's a grand slam
And when it's one, it's a home run
But I'ma be ready with a wild pitch
My finger got a bad twitch, plus I'm on the switch -
-- side, and step up to the batter's box
Fuck red and white, I got on Black Sox
But let him shoot a person from the White Sox
What's the call? Foul ball!
While this albums biggest influence is in the extremely legendary beats, the lyrics and actual rapping themselves are not left behind or shunned. Everything on this album clicks in every way possible. It's a shame though that it got left under the dust so much, for it was released on a not-so-financially sound label, but maybe, just maybe, with the re-release, more people will pick it up and realize how big of an effect this album has had on the hip-hop scene. I see this as an album that even people who aren't fans of hip-hop could get into, the jazzy, soul-like beats can get just about any person's head bobbing/toe's tapping. A truly revolutionary album for hip-hop.