The new guns of Hip Hop may believe that producing a solo mixtape will immediately lead to instant success. Maybe so – but believe it or not, there was a time when a rapper had to earn their stripes by battling on the underground circuit – just like Professor Green.
Creating a buzz thanks to his humorous and character-stripping assassinations on the mic, Pro’s success elevated him into the category of the ‘next big thing’ but a near fatal incident put any domination plans on hold for a year. Losing none of his wit and wordplay the Professor finally drops his anticipated album which hopes to make up for lost time.
Kicking off with a funky opener in “Kids That Love To Dance” [featuring soulful UK rising talent Emeli Sande], Pro Green still displays a precision in his quick lyrical outputs, even briefly mentioning the horrendous attack he encountered; “I’m back in effect/ Got shanked in my neck now I’m back from the dead”.
Alive Till I’m Dead is an expected dose of Hip Hop meets Pop, as the lead singles “Need You Tonight” and the Lily Allen featured “Just Be Good To Green” demonstrate. But look past the two chart successes and material seems to have a hint of dark humour.
Alive… is composed of the musings of a rapper with money to burn and females to “attend to” – depicted in great detail with a wry smile in each word uttered. Of all the tracks, “On My God” – featuring 2010’s new producer/songwriter sensation Labrinth – captures the sex, drugs and rock n roll/Rap and Pop lifestyle Green is emancipated with.
It’s not all self-reflective material as “Jungle” encapsulates the cold cement surroundings of inner city London and brings family matters to the forefront on the closing “Goodnight”. Although it would seem that Alive … goes from the upbeat to the depressive, there are still enough pop treats to guarantee more chart success; a collaboration with former labelmate Example on “Monster” goes by the tried-and-tested formula of electro pop and “Falling Down” provides another hit for widespread appeal.
With the charts currently accepting Hip Hop (so long as it’s altered for the mainstream), Alive ‘Till I’m Dead is a well crafted album, which fully embraces the Hip-Pop genre rather than sheepishly attempting it. Green’s twisted humour adds an edge to the made-for-daytime-playlist productions, which should make it somewhat appealing to both his new and old fanbase.
Most times ashamedly poppy, nevertheless, the dark comedy and eclectic offerings of Alive ‘Till I’m Dead make for a satisfying alternate to achieving mainstream recognition.
Alive ‘Till I’m Dead is out now on Virgin Records.