Professor Green

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Professor Green, London based rap artist who has grown massively over the past six years from underground rap battles to commercial stardom. Working alongside other true music legends such as The Street’s Mike Skinner and legendary Lily Allen, Green has gone from strength to strength; achieving great awards such as the NME, MTV and MOBO awards over the past few years. Not bad for an artist who never dreamed a successful music career would spiral out of London. BBM’s Frankie Salt has a chat with the Professor about his rise to stardom, dancing in the rain and coming through the tough times and into the light.

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Good afternoon Stephen, how are you doing today?
Yeah I’m good Frankie Thank you, how’s you?

Yeah, good, how did you enjoy Future Music Festival at the weekend?
Future was wicked; I did Brisbane on Saturday and Perth on Sunday, which was amazing. Brisbane rained but it was still cool. Yesterday was incredible.

Yeah I was at the festival on Saturday and I was absolutely caked in mud. It did piss it down all afternoon didn’t it but it was a great festival.
You know what, that’s how it’s supposed to be. When I played at Glastonbury the first year it was scorching, freakishly hot, but the next year the vibe was so much better as it rained, as it should. It was like ‘we can’t get any muddier’ so fuck it now. People just seem to give in and go for it.

Ha-ha yeah that’s how my lot were. I was trying so hard to stay clean at the beginning but then after a while I just thought i’ve come this far: fuck it.
Yeah I love that that’s when everyone gets together and says ‘Lets fuckin’ have it’.

You’ve been around since 2004. I remember seeing you support The Streets in 2006, at the Liverpool Academy for my 18th. Your music seemed so different back then, do you agree that your style and genre changed dramatically?
Bloody hell that was such a long time ago. Yeah, I think I’ve matured and progressed. You become a lot more comfortable being yourself in front of people and in those six years i’ve definitely grown into the man I am.

Well you obviously enjoy what you do and that comes across so much on stage. (wicked) You’ve produced two albums, was the pressure on for the second ‘cause the first did so well?
For me, there wasn’t any more pressure. It was a different kind of pressure. The first one you’re worried that people will accept you commercially. The second comes round and you’re aware that people will judge you more. You’ve already been welcomed so its like ‘come on show us what you’re really made of’. I went into the second with a very clear direction. I was really happy with the second album.

Did you enjoy making the second more than the first?
I was in a different space. I wasn’t as happy making the second personally. But I was happier making the music. However, I wasn’t in the greatest of space. But I’ve come out of all that now. Maybe that was necessary for the creative process. I’m really enjoying it. With what I do, it can come and go so fast, it can disappear before you know it. And I never would want that to happen.

Did you ever think you would be so successful commercially? How did the career take off?
I never even thought it would be possible. It was a hobby. Being signed by Mike I could see it was so possible. But Mike made garage music. I didn’t know it could be so successful from the rap scene side of things. There’s always hope but never expectation.

What was the first point that you could see how your success would grow?
You never can. I haven’t made enough money to ever retire. And there’s no guarantee to be continually successful; I have to always work towards that and that’s the right way to be I think. People come and go but I want to stay consistent.

You’ve worked with some amazing artists such as Lily Allen and Mike Skinner, keeping the Brits alive, which is what I love, who was a real laugh to collaborate with?
Personally, the experiences with Lily all over the world. She doesn’t mince her words, you always know where you’re at with her and that’s the common ground for us. I have made a real friend out of her and the same with Mike Skinner.

Britain seems to be pursuing some amazing music right now, is there someone who influences you at the moment?
No never really. I’m not one to idolize people. Biggie is my favourite rapper and Nirvana my favourite band. That will never change. Alex turner also is great. But when I make my own music I only listen to the instrumentals, which I’m working on.

You’ve been herald as the UK’s Eminem, would you agree?
No not at all. that’s just lazy journalism. Yeah i’ve got humour in my music. As does Biggie. If I were black they wouldn’t say it. I know they mean it as a compliment. But draw a conclusion. Not a comparison. Let me be me.

Yeah completely, you want to be your own.
Yeah there are so many differences it’s just weird that people focus on the similarities. On the flipside in life, people need to do that. Focus on the fact that people are similar irrespective of class, colour of your skin. Just cos I have a high-pitched voice and i’m white, I get the Eminem comparison. Could be worse though, I guess a few years back I could have been compared to Vanilla Ice; now that would be terrible. Yeah and it makes life hard you know, he’s one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Yeah Eminem is so talented. So, how do you go about producing a track? Do you put pen to paper?
I don’t see the point of putting pen to paper. I just record whatever ideas I’ve got as a performance, into my phone etc. It’s all off the top of my head. It’s so natural and you can always tell who has the same style. I don’t have to go through the process of learning it then.

So what do you want to achieve in 2012? What are you looking forward to the most?
No idea. Plenty of hopes, no expectations. I always stand by that. I’ve got a massive summer coming up. All the festivals and Ibiza to look forward to. I can’t wait for Ibiza, my favourite place in the whole wide world with gigs such as Ibiza rocks. Even when I took my friends away on holiday there, it was a week of good food and spending days in the pool; you don’t need to be pilling off your nut to appreciate the vibe of Ibiza.

Yeah I can’t wait to hit the white isle either; well I’ll catch you back in the UK. Thanks mate.
Thanks for taking the time darlin’.

By Frankie Salt

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