Since I first saw Minneapolis rapper Prof in the basement of Nutty’s North half a decade ago I knew he had an indescribable connection with Sioux Falls. The audience loved him, the staff loved him, and I – even in my pre-hip hop craze days – loved him.
Now, every time Prof is back in Sioux Falls, it feels like a hometown hero is returning.
In the past several years, Prof’s career has blown up to more than that 30-person show in a basement bar. He’s become a King in the Minneapolis music scene, selling out First Avenue multiple times. He’s released huge albums like King Gampo, gained attention on national publications like XXL, and been published on numerous “Artists To Watch” lists. He’s even caught the eye of Rhymesayers Entertainment – home of hip-hop duo Atmosphere – which has helped launch his career even further.
And yet he’s still the same shithead that will pour a beer on the biggest fan in the front row just because he can.
Recently Prof has spent a lot of time touring with Atmopshere and playing shows in and around Minneapolis. But in the past few weeks he has gotten back to his old shenanigans as he embarked on a run of headlining shows. And he’s just as excited about it as his fans.
“It’s been so long since I’ve headlined a tour, sometimes I forget how crazy they are,” he says. “The past tours with Atmosphere have been huge and high energy but it’s nothing like crazy Prof shows.”
That’s not to say that he hasn’t had a great time with Atmosphere. Even in Sioux Falls their show packed The District with hip hop fans thirsty for a great show and left them fully satisfied. But on headlining shows, you get to see much more of Prof’s personality.
“When you’re opening, your job is to just appease as many people as you can,” he says. “It’s like in Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity – you’re trying to play the card that the other person will like. You have to be something the crowd will like. With Prof shows, I’m playing longer and more songs and I’m playing whatever I want.”
If you’ve never been at a Prof show, ‘whatever I want’ LITERALLY means whatever he wants. I once went to a Fargo show where he took a pack of sunflower seeds, poured a ton in his mouth, and then spit them all at the crowd. And people didn’t leave – in fact they loved it. At a recent Minneapolis show, he blew up an inflatable water raft and crowdsurfed in it. Needless to say, I don’t think there are many people who go to a Prof show and leave without a really good story.
Prof is hands down at his best when he is performing live. With so many artists out there and on tour causing an oversaturation of live shows – yes, even in Sioux Falls – it’s definitely a unique thing to have artists who are continually intriguing you. Each one of Prof’s albums is different and better than the last, and so are his live shows.
Some of his shows – and the after parties – have gotten so crazy it’s affected him physically. In 2013 – in fact specifically at a show in Sioux Falls – he seriously injured his back, causing him to have to cancel shows, undergo surgery, and do many hours of rehab. It’s taken a lot of work, but Prof is confident that he’s not only back on track, but better than ever.
“I’m fucking amazing,” he says. “After my last back surgery I had to do rehab and it’s the only thing that has made my back feel better. If I don’t work out every three days or so I feel terrible. I’ve been working out a lot and I feel better and stronger than ever.”
There’s a stride of confidence in Prof’s voice as I interview him, and it wasn’t the shots he took just before picking up my phone call. Prof has always been confident – often to the point of being cocky, even if it’s rightfully so. But hearing him discuss his recent endeavors and journey to get back on track was inspiring. There’s so much will power in Prof’s voice that I am more convinced than ever that he will not stop until he has done everything he wants to do.
And next up on the To Do list? A new album, of course! Prof works on new music daily and his next project – hopefully out this summer – will be one of the most diverse works yet.
“I really try to take advantage of the ability to do all types of shit,” he says. “I’ve got TI-type shit and Van Morrison-type shit. I try to do things no other rapper has done before. I try to touch on a little bit of everything.”
There’s no doubt that the next album will be next level. Prof is only getting started when it comes to his career, and hearing his confidence and positivity only reassures that.
There’s no telling what this crazy star will do and I can’t wait to find out. As he puts it – “This is going to be the biggest year of my life.”
If you’re on the edge about seeing Prof live tomorrow night at Icon Lounge, stop it right now. The show WILL sell out and it WILL be the best show you see this Spring. Get your ticket today and I’ll see you at the show!
PROF featuring St. Paul Slim with special guests Dino Basic x Philly Fate with DJ 8E Proof.
Icon Lounge at 9 pm – 18+ show. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show.
Buy tickets at http://store.collectiveeffortsunion.com/ or at Ernie November and Last Stop CD Shops.