Alive Till I’m Dead
Maybe rhyming’s not really your thing, but you watched Eight Mile to see Eminem in his wife-beater, so you now know what battle rap is. Maybe you remember 2009’s surprise hip-hop take on INXS’s ‘I Need You Tonight’, which reached number three in the UK charts. In which case, Professor Green’s recent sky-high blow-up out of seemingly nowhere (in fact, Clapton in London) might be less of a surprise.
The 26-year-old homeboy (né Stephen Paul Manderson) has emerged from the underground – where he was signed to Mike Skinner’s (now defunct) label The Beats and, shockingly, was stabbed in the neck last year in London – to play recent tour support to Lily Allen, who also guests on his new single, ‘Just Be Good to Green’.
To claim the Prof is going places fast is like saying the McLaren F1 has some zip in it. Green’s debut LP shows him to be not only an accomplished lyricist, but also someone whose musical horizons stretch far wider than the scene that spawned him. Eminem, Jay-Z and The Streets have his respek, as do his grime and dubstep peers, but he also appreciates Euro-pop, alt.rock, electro, blues and reggae. And he’s not afraid to show it.
In fact, this record’s main fault is that it can seem gimmicky and the singles smack of compliance when set against the staccato, Eminem-like ‘Falling Down’. Still, patchiness in a debut is no crime and if you’re after
a less depressing Kano or more ‘real’ Plan B, you could do a lot worse than Green.