"Pro Green" is a name that has dominated the spotlight over the last two years alongside a new breed of British rapper seen in the likes of Example and Ed Sheeran. Originally signed by Mike Skinner he is a lyricist with an undeniable amount of talent, originating from his days dominating JumpOff. The first album 'Alive Till I'm Dead' was extremely well received, appropriately being supported by Emeli Sande and Lily Allen. It was an album that in many regards achieved mainstream success alongside a modicum of underground credibility in the form of the dark dubstep track 'Jungle'. An artist's second album is often the one that defines his future, as such has Professor Green retained the lucrative elements that held the debut together, or does it fall apart?
As stated in our recent interview with the Hackney rapper, 'At Your Inconvenience' is a hugely broad record, elaborating on the winning formula inherent in the first outing. Compressing genres as wide as drum and bass, dubstep, pop, hip-hop and rock is no mean feat, often leading to a relentlessly disjointed experience. Furthermore balancing chart success with underground credibility is an inherently contradictory pursuit that in recent memory has only worked for Wiley. To Green's credit however choosing to stake his career on such a risky outlook has paid off dividends, resulting in an album that everyone under the sun should be able to engage with in some form. 'Read All About It' will no doubt smash the charts with Sande's melody offset by rap lyrics, whilst 'How Many Moons' will appeal to your average Hoxton "hipster" looking for a "skank-out". It only takes one glance at the album's production credits including MTA's 16 Bit, DJ Khalil, TMS and Alex Hayes to see why it works in such a fashion. It is Professor Green's diverse lyricism that glues these component parts together, demonstrative of an artist aware of his target audiences.
'At Your Inconvenience' is not without its problems however, it presents an artist who would perhaps do well to decide which road he wishes to travel rather than pursuing all evident avenues. The persona presented as a whole is inherently contradictory being at times a leering and volatile individual sounding worryingly like an early Eminem, at others a dangerously loveable individual with a more unique style of expression. Perhaps the latter would benefit Professor Green in future outings as the white rap gremlin persona is something we've all seen before and outgrown. 'Trouble' with its jungle melody and clever flow is a perfect indication of what in the long-term would be a more beneficial path to travel. Disappointingly the title track of the album being released as a single is indicative of exactly which route Green has been coerced to follow, it's not a big, clever, or funny track and sounds like it was released ten years ago.
It's hard to know how to take the album as a whole, when it shines it really shines, yet when it stinks, well...
Professor Green still has huge amounts of promise alongside a natural talent, pulling off an album that under the supervision of many others would be an utter travesty. It avoids its own trapfalls but only serves as a question to where the professor's career might gravitate to in future.