By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
For his young, caffeinated audience, this overblown, Jameson-soaked world Prof has created in some — not even most — of his rhymes continues rap's tradition of exaggerated storytelling, from Eazy-E to Rick Ross to Riff Raff. His crazy personality is named for an old childhood friend, Gampo. As Prof explained on Twitter: "if we'd do something buck, or get BIG, we'd be getting GAMPO."
Within his fast-rap narratives, the joke is frequently on Prof — and it comes through on his trashy Kaiser Von Powderhorn 3 cover, which features him in a neck brace, surrounded by swimsuit-clad pregnant women, with a Dodge Caravan slung off in the background.
Special thanks to Aquaventure Dive & Photo Center and Ophelia Flame.
PROF. Sold out. Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, at First Avenue; 612.332.1775
Still, it wears on him that this persona has become the one-note description of him. And Prof's music has always told his story better than the critics have.
In "Baby Jacob," for example, we learn that he was born during a tumultuous time in his parents' relationship ("He took so much of her soul/It's kind of like he murdered her"). Soon after, his mother moved out with his three older sisters, and he was left with a father who taught him to love basketball and cursing, but also what it felt like to be on the receiving end of physical abuse. It's a disturbing narrative that he says is 100 percent true, and it's part of a huge swath of songs that are expressive and — dare we say — deep.
"I don't want to be known as just this drunk dude who parties all the time, but that's the popular songs," he says. "What will come to the forefront is what people will play and party and listen to. That's where I'll make my name, but if you really want to dig close, there's [more serious] songs all over, like 'The Season' and 'On My Way.' People will take me in however they want, it's not my job to worry about that. It's the buyer's job to critique me."
The chief way Prof has brought in the "buyers" — fans, collaborators, and business associates — is his unmistakable live charisma and competitive business sense. In addition to being a rapper, Prof is part-owner of his own label, Stophouse Group. His partners are his manager, Stophouse CEO Mike Campbell, and Dillon Parker, who owns and manages the northeast Minneapolis-based Stophouse Studios, where Prof records.
Campbell first experienced Prof performing with his old recording partner Rahzwell at a "drunk show" at the Dinkytowner in the mid-aughts. They'd drink every shot and beer that came to the stage until Rahzwell puked, and then the show would begin. In spite of the antics or because of them, Campbell was won over.
"Nowadays in rap it's really tough to find someone, especially at that level, who really has a polished live performance, so that was the attraction for me," Campbell says. "From that point on I became absolutely loyal to trying to make his career work."
In 2011, Campbell's loyalty meant giving the go-ahead for Prof to throw $1,000 in one dollar bills into the crowd at his sold-out First Avenue show. They've also given away 50,000 promo copies of the album, and it has notched nearly 30,000 free downloads. There have been almost 16,000 downloads of Kaiser Von Powderhorn 3 since its release in September.
All of these freebies are seen as investments in Prof's longevity as a touring artist — which includes stints with Atmosphere, Murs, Grieves & Budo, and Andre Nickatina. So if rappers like him, and fans buy the tickets, records, and hoodies, why's he politely enduring this interview before heading back out on the road? It's leaving nothing to chance.
"In this game I might not be fuckin' popular five years from now," Prof sagely admits. "Right now if I'm gaining steam, I have to work as hard as I can for the next four years because that could be it for the rest of my career. If I do make money, I'm gonna make sure I invest it or save it and I got something to do in the future."
First time I saw Prof was Soundset 2012. I had never heard him before, easily my favorite performance that year. Gave out King Gampo for FREE and even signed my copy. That summer was the best summer of my life. We sub-bumped that shit in the Civic at least 100 times. I can can see it now. Drivin around Calhoun, windows down, blasting "Gampo". The beats, the lyrics, they had an impact on me in a way not many artists do. Many people focus on the politics of music, but that's not what music is about. King Gampo is the soundtrack to my teenage years. I wish I could high five this man for making this album. It's fucking gold. Thank you Prof for putting your heart on track and giving us these beats. You the man.
I really don't care if he grew up shitting in gold plated diapers or used pull ups from a dumpster behind Denny's. I care about the party the guy throws every time he gets on stage. His stage performance is one of the best I've seen from any artist from any genre of music. The music is infectious and the party is just getting started.
First off, I didn't meet Prof until he and I were busting our asses trying to get a radio station revamped at our college so I don't know about any of this 'growing up privileged' nonsense. What I do know is the dude has more talent as an artist in his pinky toe than most of you haters have in making arguments about why he sucks. I'm sorry, who is the one selling out shows in the mainroom??You all act as if you were so close to witness the environment he grew up in, then doesn't that make you the same spoiled lil rich kid you claim him to be?
Loving the come backs! I don't give a fuck what anybody says... If you don't like Prof we can't be friends ;)
They are acting like Prof is out here on some hardcore gangster shit. Every rapper at least embellishes a little bit. Im sure he only has like 15 houses and 20 mortgages. Its not like the attraction to Prof is his thugness. You have to be a really good liar to portray the feelings he does in his music the way he does.
when i knew jake anderson as a teenager he lived in linden hills in basically a mansion. i agree, he seemed kind of spoiled. i don't know why white rappers always have to lie and say they grew up poor. why not be honest?
Yeah I'm glad someone said it. It's cool that he's having some success and everything, but dude is not from a poor background. He was a spoiled brat back in the day with a blond bowl cut lol
haha yeah i know. jake anderson and his poverty-ridden upbringing? please...i went to his church. his parents both drove audis. that's probably where he got that one for the interview.
Every word out of Jacob Anderson's mouth is a lie. He grew up a privileged kid and everyone who grew up with him knows it. He barely even knew the kid named Gampo. He will never in his life tell the truth because his ego comes first above everything.
Prof is that dude. He is busting his ass for every fan that he gets. The whole Stophouse team hustles their asses off.
The first time I saw Prof perform he stole my heart, hes too good as a performer. He'll make you want to dance, laugh and scream, getcha wet... all that! Ive gotten to see him 4 times in Omaha. His music is where its at. Any of my friends exposed to Prof were fast fans, if not fans already. We have some pretty serious drunk- who can sing the loudest and/or who knows knows the most Prof lyrics yell offs. But I love reading articles about him and seeing interviews, Prof is quite the character.
@bigGeorge84 if by mansion you mean: "a triplex I stayed at half the time when my mother had custody," then yep. It was my stepdads place. Im not trying to glorify poverty, or get any street cred. Just answering questions truthfully. Whats your name? Would I know you?
-prof aka Jacob Anderon
@TonyLindstrom1 It wasnt a bowl cut, it was parted down the middle, yo. Like I said, not trying to glorify poverty, or get any street cred. Just answering questions people ask me. You might have seen me out looking spoiled somewhere, but obviously you never followed me home.
-prof aka Jacob Anderson
@whatupthough "my parents both drive audis?!?" 1st off one is dead, and the other is 60 still working as a school teacher and driving a used toyota. Where do you people pull this out of a hat from? haha... Im only on these comments to clear shit up. If you went to my church, you would know my dad burned my house down and is now currently dead. Thanks tho boo.
Maybe you thought I wouldnt come on here and read this?
-prof aka your close "church buddy" Jacob Anderson