Hip-hop alert! Minneapolis native Prof is coming back to Rochester for the first time since February 2015. The clever, crass-yet-charismatic rapper has been working hard since then—he released two albums, Liability in 2015 and Pookie Baby in 2018. The former album was his first release signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment, and the latter showcased a more mature, snappier-dressed Prof and a new song-writing process. Both contained the frisky, snarky lyricism that Prof hit the scene with back in 2007, and also had tracks that seemed drawn from a more raw, emotional place. And though he continues to evolve, one thing has always remained constant: the sweat-soaked, off-the-wall live performances that shot him to prominence in the MN music scene.
Rochester has gone through its own changes since Prof’s last visit. Two venues that have previously hosted him, Whiskey Bones and Wicked Moose, have since shut their doors. New music-friendly bars/restaurants/venues have set up shop, but nothing that had the perfect combination of size, feel, and attitude for the all-out bonkers hip-hop show that Prof churns out and his loyal fans have come to expect.
This time around, Castle Community will be opening its doors to Prof. The third floor venue in this newly opened space on North Broadway lends itself to practically any genre of music, and we are eager to see them host their very first hip-hop show.
The person behind this event is Nikolai Zeppa of Stationary Astronaut fame. He was kind enough to answer some of our questions for us regarding this Friday’s show.
MTMM: Prof has been rumored to be returning to Rochester a few different times, but it’s never seemed to pan out. What was it that made this time a reality?
Zeppa: Hard work. I went the extra mile to make this show happen, stemming back to last year. Constant communication played a huge role, but really it was just showing my loyalty and determination by ending up behind stages when opportunities were given to me by his team. My connection with Prof and his management stems back to 2011 when I was lucky enough to do a show with him in Mankato. I wear a different hat now but am more connected to the tip of the iceberg than ever. We are in a very fortunate place to provide value to our city.
MTMM: Rochester has shown that it’s hungry for hip-hop. What do you think the biggest hurdle is in bringing more hip-hop shows to town?
Z: One of the biggest hurdles is the stigma behind the creative portrayal of music known as hip-hop. Insurance companies are still biased against insuring hip-hop events, which is something the industry has to graduate from. Two of the top three live performances I’ve ever seen came from a hip-hop show. The energy is something that is tough to match. Live bands have added an element to hip-hop shows that need to be captured in the moment. There is a reason why so many gravitate towards the genre in the 21st Century.
MTMM: The music scene in town seems to be evolving every day. What are your thoughts on the music scene? What do you think its strengths and weaknesses are?
Z: Our music scene is still finding its identity which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a phase that needs to happen. Where I see it can grow is our local bands exerting their energy more to have an online presence. Leave behind a label given to them by a city and just be a vessel of art. Be BIGGER THAN ROCHESTER. Be BIGGER THAN MINNESOTA. Know in your heart that you were put here to affect a child in the UK. Move past the micro idea and into the big picture. Use the age of the internet to your advantage. Emulate great art from Los Angeles and then make it better. All art is an unwritten copycat community. If these local artists could start taking the legends’ sound and making it their own, that will boost them. There is a reason why I still listen to The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. It’s timeless, it lives on; it’s just great music.
MTMM: What can people expect at a Prof show?
Z: Oh mylanta. What to expect at a Prof show? It’s going to be a zoo. Get ready to feel at one with other show goers. You’re all in the cage together. It’s all love. That’s what I enjoy most about shows these days. No hate allowed. Simply just being in the moment with other like minds that made the same decision as you that night: “Let’s go to a show.”
Stationary Astronaut presents Prof at Castle Community this Friday, March 23rd for a SOLD OUT show featuring special guests Mac Irv, Cashinova, and Willie Wonka.
Get ready to get wild. We’ll see you there!
My Town • My Music is proud to be a sponsor of this show.