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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


This Freakfest Prof wants you to invite him to your house party

The Minneapolis rapper promises a memorable or not memorable night, depending on the state you’re in
Wes Eisenhauer Photography

In profiles of Minneapolis rapper Prof, journalists are quick to suggest a duality between the animalistic rapper onstage and the man offstage. When we spoke on the phone last week, the rapper made this division clear to me, so I’ll do my part and contribute to this Jekyll and Hyde narrative.

Prof has become well-known throughout the Midwest for his distinct brand of party rap that boasts lines like, “You can find me stiff, like a samurai on a llama ride /Down a waterslide, getting sodomized.” His concerts — including his guaranteed bonkers stop at Freakfest Saturday — are energetic and profane. They frequently feature the rapper drinking straight from bottles of Jameson in between verses. In the Minneapolis hip-hop scene usually acknowledged for its socially conscious leanings, Prof is something of an anomaly.

But like anyone else, Prof appreciates some alone time.


“I have, like, two separate lives,” Prof said. “A day on the road is so much different than a day at home. A day on the road, I wake up hungover — all the time. I’m always drinking on the road.”

“When I get home, I don’t go out,” he continued. “I’m at my house. I’m drinking bulletproof coffee with veggie shakes, trying to take care of myself so I can do it again.” When I spoke to him on the phone, the rapper was nursing a hangover in his home, watching last night’s Minnesota Timberwolves game in which the team dominated the Milwaukee Bucks. “Sorry, Wisconsin,” he said.

Offstage, Prof is a charismatic, well-spoken man with a troubled past. He grew up in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis with an abusive father who, when Prof was 15, burned down his apartment. While his music is generally characterized as party bangers, he has soft spots. Songs like “Myself” expose the darker sides of the rapper’s life, with lyrics like “Mom’s probably tougher than Pops is /The talk is that the old man has lost it” and “I believe in nothing /I believe in myself.”

His upcoming album, which will likely be released in the spring, blends every facet of Prof’s musical style, with references to partying intertwined with darker aspects of the rapper’s life.

“There’s everything. I gotta cover the whole spectrum,” he said. “I go to the darkest spots. I go to the shiniest spots. I go to the loudest spots, the quietest spots. I try to cover it all. I’m trying to do something that’s never been done before in rap — really go all over the globe, take all four corners of the earth and pull them together and put them on this record.”

Prof considers the album to be the best music he’s ever made. It will also be his first release for Rhymesayers Entertainment, the label home to Atmosphere, Brother Ali and Aesop Rock, among others.

deM atlaS brings philosophical flow to populist Freakfest lineup

Prof’s set at the Freakfest’s Capitol Stage Saturday will touch on some of this new material but will nevertheless be a set of wall-to-wall bangers.

“It’s gonna be very memorable or very not memorable, depending on the state you’re in,” he said.

For Prof, playing Madison on Halloween weekend is a full-circle experience. Before he was a rapper, he played the role of the party animal, tearing up the streets of Madison while getting heinously drunk. The experiences have given him wisdom he hopes to pass on to this year’s Freakfest attendees.

“Just try not to wake up in an alley or something like that,” he said. “I had a homie that went to Madison. I went there for four years in a row for Halloween back in the day. We partied so fucking hard it probably took years off my life. We woke up in some crazy fucking spots. I fell asleep on a — I think it was outside of a dorm because I couldn’t get into a dorm — like a laundry grate. It was, like, warm. There was, like, warm, nasty air coming off of it. I slept there the whole night. So that’s my advice: Don’t fall asleep on one of those.”

Despite his rough partying experiences in the city of Madison, the rapper is more than happy to crash your house party.

“It’s gonna be fucking gnarly,” he said. “I think after the show, too, I’m gonna tweet and say, ‘Tweet me your address.’ I think I’m gonna show up to a couple after parties, fuck around with some fans.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Prof will play Freakfest’s Capitol Stage from 10:45-11:30 p.m. Saturday.

All you need to know about Freakfest 2014

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