As JP Lime’s own Professa turns 34, JP Lime’s own Scholar (see what I did there?) commemorates the occasion by highlighting 34 choice bars (or musical measures) from our 2012 release, Blue Star Boulevard.
Professa is a critical part of the JP Lime Productions operation. His weekly contributions to #JPLMagazine are intriguing, fun, and very informative. He’s the visual force behind many of our promotional designs and co-writes, films, and edits our monthly Rap Flashbacks, truly bringing that vision to life. Prof is also instrumental in the planning, production, and execution of The Oddball Show podcast, our joint venture with the wonderful folks at Oddball Magazine.
That said, his contributions to our music over the years, both lyrically and during the mixing and mastering process, have been just as critical and enjoyable as his efforts in the aforementioned initiatives. As such, let’s take a look at 34 bars that I find particularly fun, creative, well-executed, and emblematic of the artist we sometimes call Prof, other times Professa, Profdizzle, Dr. Prof Esquire, and umm, hippie. Happy Birthday Chris Everson, and keep Limin’ homeskillet.
First off, 2 bars from “Liming On“, a track for and inspired by Summertime (yes, both the season and the classic track from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince).
Captive only to my passion when it’s at its peak
But I’m relaxing on the grass like the hippie in me
We start with these lyrics to highlight Prof’s passion for what we do at JP Lime Productions. Whether Hip Hop, podcasting, blogging, or promoting such ventures, Prof is truly dedicated to our operation, almost maniacally. Typically a free spirit, one you’re very likely to find “relaxing on the grass” (a la his hippie tendencies), when it comes to JP Lime, Prof turns it up a few hundred notches. Aside from his family, friends, and beautiful fiance, the only other thing that he’s “captive” to is said “passion when it’s at its peak.” And at JP Lime Productions, we’re always at our peak. Professa is a huge reason why such is the case.
Next up, 8 bars from “Loud“, a high energy banger we often close with at performances.
I act like Rick, make moves like Russell
Captivate the game with a gang of trouble
Bass and treble, a full range of levels
Unsane, deranged planes I’m on several
Like an unchained, derailed train I’m unsettled
Bounce with me, bitch, or play some heavy metal
I’m about to bubble over like a screaming kettle
Even the mezzanine ain’t on my level
Come on, bounce!
I’ve always loved these bars first and foremost because of the reference to Def Jam co-founders, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. It’s common music industry knowledge that Rick Rubin is musically very talented and a master collaborator who’s also known to be very laid back, frequenting studios barefoot while reclining on a sofa as he delivers input and instructions to engineers artists alike. While thankfully Prof has yet to remove his sneakers for a studio session, he’s very relaxed in the studio and one of his greatest strengths is his ability to mesh his own ideas with those of others to create something we can all enjoy, not unlike Mr. Rubin. As for making moves like Russell Simmons, as previously mentioned Professa is very dedicated to JP Lime Productions and works very hard to ensure we’re always moving forward as a company. He’s a hustler in every sense of the word.
Ever the artist, I’ve also always dug how he utilizes his poetic license to use “unsane” instead of the proper “insane” to strengthen the rhyming consistency within the couplet. “Unsane, deranged planes” rhymes much better with “unchained, derailed train” than “insane, deranged planes” would have. Lastly, the use of simile and metaphor in the last few lines is excellent. Again, “Loud” is very much an upbeat track meant to pump up the listener. Prof drives home this feeling with imploring the audience to either “bouce” with him or “play some heavy metal” because he’s about to “bubble over like a screaming kettle” (i.e. can barely contain his own enthusiasm). And lest you’ve yet to figure it out by his infectious, high energy delivery, he reminds us that he’s so amped (turnt up if you will) that “even the mezzanine ain’t on [his] level.” Also noteworthy for its sonic brilliance, he pronounces “even” with a long “e” (eveeeen) so that it rhymes with “mezzanine.” Fantastic work all around.
Next up, 8 bars from a party vibe, swagger-filled track called “Oh Yeah” that’s pretty much a fun track about picking up women.
Oh the magic of her heartbeat
Her tragic love of art
And the pageant that we started, we flee
So passionate our hearts be,
Mashing ‘til we pass out,
The daylight crashes, we sleep
Waking up wrapped in bed sheets,
The dawn hits the bed, she,
Me, Al Green, repeat
<Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat>
The stereo is still on
So keep on rocking them hips like they’re playing our song, baby
These bars stand out within the context of this track for a couple of reasons. For starters, Prof usually raps with a very amplified, hard-core delivery. I often joke that listening to Prof rap is like listening to the late WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage rap had Savage had any formal Hip Hop training. In this verse however, Professa tones his voice and delivery down a few notches, using an almost whispering tone to get through the verse. The lyrical content, with lines like “magic of her heartbeat”, “tragic love of art”, and the reference to Al Green, though certainly appropriate for the song is a lot sweeter and more romantic than the more direct and explicit nature of the other two verses (ex: “show me what you’re working with, clothes off” and “fingers in, you know I need a taste”). Usually the most energetic on a track, Prof manages to completely switch up his style and provides a softer, radio/lady friendly balance to this track. He shows his range as an emcee on “Oh Yeah”, proving that a one trick lyricaly pony he is not.
For our last 16 choice Professa bars, I’ve selected his entire verse from “Bartleby“. “Bartleby” is a character / song concept that Professa brought to us. The general feel of the track is one of introspection where the Bartleby character is dealing with a very tough period in his life. Each bandmate interpreted said struggles differently, and the final product is a deep track that paints a picture of a damaged soul wandering through life, trying to figure out what his next move is, never quite coming to a concrete resolution. When it comes to painting that picture, Professa really hits the nail on the head.
He’s mercilessly lazy, hazy, crazy
A genius maybe but maybe he’s just mean
Shedding friends like Sheen,
Shedding skins like leaves shed green
November, no rent cash, dash, he just leaves
A pack of backwoods in his backpack
A matchbook and beat-up dreams
With the swing and the pain of a mean right hook
The frying pan, a recipe that he can’t quite cook
He just fiends
Sparks to life in the spotlight, yo, but behind the scenes
He’s a drop in the ocean with low self-esteem
And we’re all liable to drown in our personal streams
But when he’s face-to-face in person with his personal disease
With his thirst for herb and bourbon
His anger and his greed
‘Let it be,’ says he, it’s the Fame that makes his free
But like a panoramic camera there is so much more to see
Come on Bartleby!
Line for line, Prof’s verse really builds a tale of a lost soul. Bartley is a “mercilessly lazy, hazy, [and] crazy” who maybe a “genius” or “maybe he’s just mean.” He’s a guy who “sheds friends like [Charlie] Sheen” who in the absense of his November rent money, “just leaves.” The imagery of shedding friends like leaves shedding the green of their skin (it is November afterl all, the Autumn season) is very vivid and nothing short of brilliant. In the next few lines Prof continues his mastery of wordplay with lines like “backwoods in his backpack” and “the frying pan, a recipe he can’t quite cook,” all the while continuing to paint the picture of Bartleby as a troubled man without a plan. A man who in a crowd “sparks to life in the spotlight” but “behind the scenes” is a “drop in the ocean with no self-esteem,” your prototypical attention whore who when left alone has no clue what to do himself.
He continues this motif by informing us that when Bartleby is “face-to-face in person with his personal desease” he turns to his vices, namely weed and alcohol or as Prof alliterates, “herb and bourbon.” He then comes back to Bartleby’s thirst for attention, as it’s the only thing that makes him feel better (“it’s the Fame that makes him free”) and closes with a fantastic line that encompasses not only the complexity of Bartleby, but really the vivid imagery of the entire verse; “like a panoramic camera there is so much more to see.” Prof’s use of metaphor with the panoramic camera reference tells us that there’s a lot more to Bartleby than what he’s already laid out for us, but that he did so is ironically fitting because this verse is akin to a panorama. Sure, we want to learn more about Bartleby’s struggle by the 16th bar, but the only reason we care to in the first place is because of the vivid picture Professa manages to paint in this, the first verse of the track. Again, simply fantastic writing on Professa’s part.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of lyrics from our very own Professa. Please be sure to check out some more analysis of Professa’s lyrics in this piece here, where we dug into his verse from “What You Need” and if you haven’t already, wish Prof a Happy Birthday. I’m sure he’ll appreciate your kindness.