Twenty-six-year-old English grime rapper Professor Green, real name Stephen Paul Manderson, isn’t exactly “next level” in the sense that he’s an up-and-coming artist. Well, at least not in Europe. All three of his past singles have been raging the European charts since his debut album—which went gold in the U.K.—Alive Till I’m Dead, dropped in July on Virgin Records. What makes him “next level” here and now is his significant potential at a successful North American crossover. Said potential was confirmed when he further pushed grime rap into the European mainstream by infusing clever lyrics, pop, and a rather famous friend into his album.
Professor Green may be a high school dropout, but he has been schooling MCs in over 100 rap battles, including one in 2008 where he won £50,000. But life has not always been so easy for him. He was raised by his grandmother in the Northwold estate in Clapton, Hackney in East London in a strip, according to The Guardian, known as the Murder Mile. Also, not long after being signed to The Streets’ label, The Beats, the label went under in 2008. Then last year, two weeks after he had his neck adorned with a tattoo of the word “Lucky,” he was stabbed with a broken bottle in a bar fight where the tattoo lay. Not only that, but he is constantly pining over Jessica Alba… and she is married with child!
He may not be a professor either, but he sure seems to know how to get his social networking on as if he had accreditation in it. As a Facebook friend of Lily Allen, he casually mentioned he got the rights to the lyrics from the S.O.S. Band’s “Just Be Good to Me,” and she opted to briefly step out of retirement to sing the chorus of his “Just be Good to Green.” A tour opening for Allen subsequently followed. He is also an avid Twitter user, and in July he announced that his second full-length, Good Times, will be out next year.
His other two singles, “I Need You Tonight” featuring Ed Drewett, and “Monster” featuring Example, are as poppy as his song with Allen, but don’t let that fool you. The remainder of his album is very dark and introspective, whether recalling his former day job as a drug dealer, growing up in Hackney, or his relationships with exes and ex-labels.
Professor Green may have a lot going on, especially with his headlining European tour this fall, but in a recent interview he said the best thing about him was his new teeth. When asked what was wrong with his old teeth, he replied, “They looked like I tried to eat a TV.” Getting his teeth fixed is just one of the tasks from his to-do list on his old song “Before I Die,” where, in fact, you can see what trying to eat a TV looks like.
Posted by : Melissa Kim