For Prof, the worlds of fact and fiction are often intertwined, as he balances on a fine line between real-life experiences and yet unfulfilled fantasies. The Minneapolis rapper has made a robust career for himself by crafting memorable songs about everything from heartache to arson to wild adventures with women. These terrific tales and his dynamic stage show have led to concerts and tours across the country, and have exposed him to life-altering experiences. They also planted a seed.
An accomplished and open-minded artist, Prof first started playing with a concept in one of his rhyme books years ago. As the idea germinated, the Minnesota artist decided to apply it to his life and his neighborhood while tapping into his vast imagination and his remarkable life. The result is Prof’s new album, Powderhorn Suites, a wide-ranging artistic tour de force that places him among rap’s most gifted auteurs. “There's so many different things happening in a hotel at one time,” Prof explains. “Somebody’s doing drugs. Somebody’s having sex. There’s a fight over there. Someone's trying to get some rest over here. There’s just so much going on in one place.”
The same can be said for Powderhorn Suites, a remarkable rollercoaster of a project that hits stunning highs and features dramatic lows. “Squad Goals” rollicks along with a festive beat and a nod to the “U Name It” challenge, while the liberating “Outside Baby” celebrates women who are vocal during sex. With the tense “Numbers,” Prof, Muja Messiah, and Taylor J detail the struggles that come with trying to make ends meet. Then on “Fire Lessons,” Prof draws from the real-life anger and emotion he felt after a tense night in which he was chased by police and hit rock bottom. The album concludes with a stunningly powerful group of songs in which Prof analyzes the lasting effects of a dysfunctional upbringing (“Flower Boy”), ends a relationship with his soulmate (“The Ending”), and gives himself a moment to be proud of his accomplishments (“Karma Legend”).
Making Powderhorn Suites proved beyond therapeutic. “If I couldn't make these songs, man, I might be a vicious animal,” muses Prof, who has done about a dozen paintings he hopes to exhibit in an art gallery in conjunction with the release of his album. “I don't know what I'd be doing. I'd probably be hurting people, so it's good that I can do this.”
As an artist and a man who is fueled by overcoming his past, standing in his strength, and pushing himself creatively, Prof has plenty of inspiration to draw from as he moves into the next phases of his career and his life. “I don’t want to get old and stale,” Prof proclaims. Powderhorn Suites shows that Prof has nothing to worry about.