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Extremely significant for 1991's Breaking Atoms alone, Main Source's effect on hip-hop is nearly impossible to gauge, especially when considering Large Professor and K-Cut's contributions outside of the group. Consisting of MC/producer Large Professor (born Paul Mitchell) and twin DJs/producers K-Cut (born Kevin McKenzie) and Sir Scratch, the New York group came together in 1989 and debuted on Wild Pitch with Breaking Atoms -- an undeniably classic album, regardless of its field -- two years later. The group's production work, combined with Large Professor's masterful wordplay (from the brilliant baseball analogies drawn throughout the police brutality-themed "Just a Friendly Game of Baseball," to the disheartening romantic strife depicted in "Looking at the Front Door"), set a standard. While Gang Starr's DJ Premier is commonly heralded as a groundbreaking sampler and beatmaker, it was Large Professor and K-Cut who schooled him on how to master the SP1200. Not only that, but Breaking Atoms' "Live at the Barbeque" helped establish the careers of both Akinyele and Nas. Large Professor left the group due to financial issues and began to concentrate on production work. K-Cut and Sir Scratch continued the group and installed MC Mikey D. for 1994's F*ck What You Think. Though it hardly holds a candle to Breaking Atoms (to be fair, it would've been tough to build on that record, even with Large Professor's presence), the album was hardly an artistic failure, but it came and went without much notice. Without their greatest weapon, the group's second go-round wasn't given much of a chance. It didn't help that it took three years to reach fruition. Meanwhile, Large Professor was racking up production credits for Eric B. & Rakim, Akinyele, Mobb Deep, Nas, and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. He didn't make his proper solo debut until 2002, with the disappointing 1st Class. ~ Andy Kellman
1989 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
'80s, '90s, '00s