Main Source – Breaking Atoms 25 Year Anniversary
25 years ago, today, Main Source dropped a bomb on the Hip Hop planet and released “Breaking Atoms”. Large Professor scooped up a couple DJ’s from Canada and formed the group. A majority of the production and 90% of MC duties were cooked up by Large Pro himself. He is perhaps best known for starting the career of a legendary lyrical monster, Nasty Nas. The Source even gave this album their coveted 5 mics; so let’s examine the DNA of this classic album and see if they got it right.
“Just Hangin Out” is definitely one of the stand outs on the album. Large Pro perfectly executed this musical dish for our palate. The main loop is sampled from the familiar Vanessa Kendrick’s “90% of Me is You”. He was able to integrate 2 more samples into the track including Sister Nancy’s reggae timeless “Bam Bam”. Large Pro effortlessly takes us through a day of him and his crew…..well, just hangin out. He not only created a smooth instrumental, but also destroys the mic with lines like.
I’m skilled in the field, so slide to the side
I’ll make a rapper cry, cause I can get some shut-eye
While he’s having hard rimes writing rhymes
So he gnaws on my metaphors and dines on my lines.
He goes on to rhyme
And I be up in Mt. Vernon, piecing, with CL Smooth and Pete Rock
Making beats that are sharper than cleats
With my man Grippy Grip from the Cafe Black Rose
Checking out videos And I speak with my man Ralik
On the problems of the weak dumb and meek, my man’s deep
Like the kid from the Bridge named the rapper Nas
The music video is one of my all time favorites. I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness and when scenes were shot in front of the Kingdom Hall, my cousin Monty and I were hella excited and kept ordering this on The Box. We wanted to show our parents rap wasn’t all about violence and misogyny. Guess you had to be raised a J Dubb to get excited about this video.
Main Source “Just Hangin’ Out”
“Looking At The Front Door” was the first single released and for many peeps, the first introduction to Main Source. I bought a purple Champion sweatshirt because of the one he rocked in the video. Large Pro cooked up another smooth ride as he discussed his relationship. If his lady doesn’t get her ish straight, he is outta there. This song is easily in my top 10 all time best hip hop songs. “A Friendly Game of Baseball” was incredible and couldn’t be more relevant 25 years later considering the shooting deaths of unarmed black men. Baseball was used as an analogy to police brutality which thrusts this into being most creative song on the album…maybe ever. “ Scratch and Kut” featured his DJ’s getting busy. I miss songs like this. “Vamos A Rapiar” was hell fire. The majestic piano throughout the song is hypnotic. Large Pro is talking his shit, telling all the other rappers to put down the violence, quit the tough guy persona and battle rap. I always wondered who the hell the Spanish guy was on the hook.
Main Source “Looking At The Front Door”
I always looked at Large Professor as a mad scientist. He was able to give birth to the lyrical god, Nasty Nas’s recording career. He was mentioned a few songs earlier in the album, but I didn’t know what the hell a Nas was. “Live at the BBQ” started and featured this cat rhyming about killing Jesus, lynchings, AIDS and even had another Jehovah (Once again Monty and I got excited) reference. This one verse had hip hop fans across the Andromeda Galaxy feenin’ for more of this young lyricist from Queens. This was one of the top ten posse cuts of all time……for the sole reason that is was Nas’ first lyrical takeover.
Main Source feat Nas & Akinyele “Live at the BBQ”
This was the only album Main Source created with this trio. Large Pro left the group and another MC, Micky D took over. The vibe was never the same. At least we were blessed with such an amazing album. From start to finish, Large Pro touched on a variety of topics over jazzy and futuristic boom bam beats. If you call yourself a hip hop fan, and aren’t familiar with this album…….shame on you. Pick it up and study this immediately.