Main Source

  • Main Source
  • Breaking Atoms (Wild Pitch) 1991 
  • F*ck What You Think (Wild Pitch) 1994 + 1999 
  • The Large Professor
  • 1st Class (Matador) 2002 

Main Source was formed by Toronto brothers K-Cut and Sir Scratch (Kevin and Shawn McKenzie) on the turntables. They recruited New York rapper/producer Large Professor (William Paul Mitchell). After a well-received indie 12-inch single, “Watch Roger Do His Thing,” the group signed to Wild Pitch and cut the superb Breaking Atoms. “Looking at the Front Door” demonstrates the Large Professor’s crisp, direct rhyme storytelling; “Just a Friendly Game of Baseball” is an extraordinary extended metaphor and a cutting examination of race relations. “Live at the Barbeque,” (which introduced the world to Nas) is one of the best posse sessions ever cut. But Main Source also pushed the limits of the musical form with “Peace Is Not the Word to Play,” illustrating the dynamic possibilities of the two-DJ format.

Before the group could expand on that promising debut, however, the McKenzies parted ways with the Large Professor, who built himself a successful career as a producer (for A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B and Rakim, Kool G Rap, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and many others), had an abortive solo deal with Geffen and then finally released his own album on Matador in 2002. Meanwhile, Main Source picked up old-school rapper Mikey D and made a second album (whether it actually reached stores in 1994 is in some doubt; it was reportedly bootlegged and finally did appear in 1999). The McKenzies closed down Main Source, returned to Toronto and embarked on their own production careers (Seal, Brand New Heavies, etc.). Main Source, complete with the Large Professor, did a reunion show in Toronto in December 2002.

[Jeff Chang / Ira Robbins]