Producer Fantasy Ranking: Small Professor

by Dan O

Small Pro isn’t a beatmaker he’s a producer.

This series asks the question ‘if I had the ability to take one of my favorite producers and let them develop a full album with anyone alive who would it be?’ 

Pressing play on a Small Professor beat taps you directly into what East Coast Hip Hop sounds like at its core. I’ll never forget getting a new speaker and the first song I played was Moan off A Jawn Supreme vol. 3 my son looked at the speaker wide eyed and said ‘That’s beautiful Daddy!’ My son explained it best. Small Professor has easy access to beautiful sounds on the level that stop you in your tracks. Sometimes he warps them into face scrunching fight music while other times it just radiates from the speaker to your bones until you stare wide eyed at the speaker. You just know it’s right. While Small Professor has a signature sound you can trust that it fits wherever the Philly producer must travel. Not a trace of direct limitation or generic sound-a-likeness anywhere in his rich history. I’d like to see him work with this five in this order:

  1. AZ-I view Small Pro and AZ as similar artists. Both have a heavily curated confident signature sound that is essential, in the sense that you hear it you know it. Small Pro would throw different colors at AZ and in return I have no doubt that the only guest rapper on Illmatic would tap into what excites his pen the most. The best comparison for the chemistry fit I feel in my gut with these two is Ray’s Café from OC & Ray West. Listening to Ray’s Café you can feel it taking place outside. The music sounds like kids playing in the summer, like parents yelling at cars to slow down in this neighborhood. Ray procured the canvas, provided the colors and OC painted. I want that for AZ more than anything.
  2. Denmark Vessey-The last Denmark project was Sun Go Nova from 2018 but Denmark guest verses are like UFO sightings. Did you hear Denmark on Midnight Sons? Did you hear Denmark on Innocent Country 2? How could someone be this good at rapping and not put out a new album? Small Pro isn’t a beatmaker he’s a producer. I have no doubt he would step into a Denmark Vessey project with one mission: to make the definitive guide to an all time talent’s greatness.
  3. Che Noir-As God Intended was a huge milestone for the Buffalo NY emcee because Apollo Brown gave her beats to push her emotionally into a more open space. She addressed family, violence, it’s one of my favorite Mello Music Group albums. Small Professor would tap into that space and then some. Small Pro has so many chambers we would get mean Noir, confessional Noir, anthemic Noir and it would be another in her impressive career milestones.
  4. Reef The Lost Cauze-Heart of the region type in Philly with a long career of dropping ill verses and songs. 2020’s The Airing of Grievances was super dope and Reef smashed his appearance on Sedale Threat. Reef stays ready and avoids any skill slippage. Small Pro knows and loves Reef to the point where he would marshal all his powers and the result would be the best Reef album PERIOD.  
  5. Stove God Cook$-Small Pro is excellent at producing for people who are funny (see Mudslide). The first beat pack would be guaranteed super fly soundscapes that Stove God smashes. Get him confident so the next pack could be filled with beats to push against the established world of Stove God. I would much rather hear the follow up to Reasonable Drought come from Small Professor than anyone in the Griselda camp.

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