ALBUM: Professor Green – At Your Inconvenience

Release Date: October 31st, 2011
Label: Virgin Records
Website: www.professorgreen.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/professorgreen
Twitter: www.twitter.com/professorgreen

Rating:

Professor Green had such a promising start. First album ‘Alive Till I’m Dead’ was a notable success thanks to some stand-out tracks, while the appearance of Lily Allen on hit ‘Just Be Good To Green’ saw the Hackney rapper breaking the top 10 on the UK singles chart. Green is all set to continue his rise in the British rap scene. That is, if ‘At Your Inconvenience’ wasn’t as disappointing as it is.

The main problem here can unfortunately be applied to every track on the album. Green‘s current sound is dull. For the most part, what’s offered up here are mid-tempo, forgettable raps with thin mixes and familiar beats and riffs. Though he is a relatively likeable character, Green brings little if anything new, nothing of his own style, nothing to raise him above other mediocre British rap artists, and tracks like ‘At Your Inconvenience’ and ‘DPMO’ only serve to reinforce his rip-off Hackney Eminem comparison.

‘Alive Till I’m Dead’ had a more even tone, with quick, sharp humour and catchy pop blended with a raw edge. This latest effort lacks this and feels more heavy-handed. The themes are darker and the atmosphere more oppressive, while that wit which was so present before becomes crass and far too reliant on swear words and offending other rap artists and public figures. It feels forced and lacks the likeability and variety of Green‘s first release. The worst offenders are ‘Trouble’ and ‘Astronaut’. The former is a bare-bones template for an up-tempo rap song lacking any personality, while the latter laughably attempts to pull at the listeners’ heartstrings with depressing subject matter and a sombre piano line that falls flat.

Green‘s guest vocalists fair better. Emile Sandé puts in an impressive performance on ‘Read All About It’, while Royce Da 5’9″ gives ‘Nightmares’ some much needed Detroit attitude that contrasts nicely with Green‘s sinewy style. Sierra Kusterbeck of VersaEmerge feels like an unusual vocalist to include on the lightweight hip-hop sound of ‘Avalon’, but it’s a risk that pays off and makes for one of the better tracks on the album. In fact, it is when Green makes these odd choices that the results are most enjoyable. Most notably is the remix of ‘Where Is My Mind?’ by The Pixies on track ‘Spinning Out’. The rap approach is interesting, and mixed with the sung chorus it gives the track a sound not unlike that achieved by Mike Skinner and co. of The Streets.

But these moments aren’t enough to save ‘At Your Inconvenience’ from banality. A lack of variety and predictable mixes blight most of these tracks, and the darker tone that Green adopts here feels inferior to what he has achieved in previous releases. Rather than maturing in his lyrics and approach, Green has simply altered the subject matter of his music in an attempt to give it a darker edge. It all feels insubstantial and shallow because of this. Though there are a few bright points, particularly in the inspired guest choices, ‘At Your Inconvenience’ is still an underwhelming listen.

Written by Grant Bailey