Every now and then Small Professor comes along with an album full of hip-hop melodies that an assortment of emcees could have blessed with bars – but didn’t. Pro kept his best “Jawns” for himself and sold them direct to the public via Bandcamp, which is to say that some rappers have definitely freestyled over them since, but anybody who wants to feature his work on a retail LP better pay a fee. It’s going to be much higher than the $7 (minimum) he charges for “Nasty Jawns II,” for example. And yet once you make that investment, whether or a small scale (no pun intended) or a large one, you’ll notice right away that Pro is steeped in hip-hop tradition. You can’t listen to tracks like “nosleep” and not hear hints of Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Tribe in the mix.
This isn’t your typical “Jawns” album though. Not that there should be a TYPICAL album, because that would make Small Professor predictable and a little boring, but I was definitely caught off guard that he decided this was the time to do some remakes and remixes. It starts with Tweet & Missy Elliott’s “Oops, Oh My.”
And doesn’t let up one bit as Small Pro flips Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me.”
Perhaps I should have figured out what was up when Blanche Devereaux from “The Golden Girls” made the album’s cover. While it’s true that Blanche was the sexpot of the sitcom and certainly worth describing as a “Nasty Jawn,” she’s just a little bit older than the previous women to feature on Small Professor’s covers. This was a hint that “Nasty Jawns II” was a throwback, and that Pro was going to bring in some friends like The Sugababes to remake his favorite freaknasty tracks. Other songs just straight up jack the acapella to hip-hop classics – presumably licensed by Pro – but you’ll recognize them in a B.I.G. way.
And what would a remix of a freaky Christopher Wallace be without a remix of a freaky Tupac Shakur joint? The obvious choice is “How Do U Want It,” and Small Pro isn’t afraid to go there. The hour of music is split 50/50 between Pro’s new takes on old jawns, and instrumental versions of said same revisits, so if you really want to enjoy the beats or flip your own verses over them you still can. Either way it’s good to say Small Professor caught me off guard, and the results were a pleasant surprise.