Professor Green - Alive Till I'm Dead
From the opening seconds Professor Green's musical influences are plain to see. With many of tracks on this debut, Alive Till I'm Dead, sampling or covering eighties rock and pop - combined with the rapper's own distinctive voice - it's a mishmash of sounds that doesn't quite hit the mark first off. Taken out of context his first couple of singles (the INXS sampling 'I Need You Tonight' and the Lily Allen-featuring 'Just Be Good To Green') failed to set our ears alight, but on further listens and as part of the overall album they sound far better. Both tracks are definite growers and the album deserves at least a few repeats before it's too hastily removed from your MP3 player. It's hard to put a finger on why the album works - indeed our first experiences with the rapper were less than appealing with two very scathing reviews - but persistence has revealed something of a very rough gem that would actually suffer from any more polishing. Whilst far edgier than his contemporaries, there's still no doubt that this is purely pop with pretentions to being something more. The occasionally ingenious lyrics reveal this Prof to be far more humble than first appearances would suggest.