Prof takes over First Avenue, 4/13/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
With Mod Sun, Culture Cry Wolf and Meta
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, April 13, 2013

"YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO BIG" was the all-caps slogan Prof wore on a black T-shirt Saturday. Though it might've been referring to his rising career -- and the recent double cover stories promoting his two sold-out shows at First Ave. -- the potty-mouthed Minneapolis rapper was more likely talking about Gampo Jr. in his pants.

"Are you old enough to touch this dick?" he asked the all-ages crowd in the early going as he executed one of many pelvic entendres directed at the front row, before adding, "I doubt it." And indeed this was a night when the passages on the First Avenue main floor remained remarkably unclogged for a capacity crowd. A ton of drinking-age fans stayed up in the balconies while the youngsters reveled downstairs on a night was not without other sorts of bigness, in terms of guests and spectacle.

See Also:
Slideshow: Prof takes over First Avenue: Night One, 4/12/13
Slideshow: Prof takes over First Avenue: Night Two, 4/13/13
Prof: If I can justify it and be smart enough, I can say anything

The tone of Prof's warmup act, Mod Sun, was very Warped Tour. (And, appropriately, the Bloomington native is a vet of the yearly summer punk extravaganza.) With a mix of island positivity, party mischief, a little rap, and a little reggae, this is the music for kids conceived right around the time Sublime's Bradley Nowell died. Sun, aka Derek Smith, has a long mane of hair and is more than slightly reminiscent of surfboard champ Shaun White, and even has a song named after him. While the guy, who has attained a strong fan base nationally, is heavy on concepts that might give a jaded adult pause ("My favorite color is tie-dye"), his self-proclaimed "hippy hop" had that infectious grease to keep kids in motion.

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
By the time Prof reached the stage, the room was thundering with chants of "GAMPO!" As confetti streamed down for the first of several times, the towel-waving rapper launched into "Me Boi." Though he was geared up to move, a knee brace peeked out below his baggy shorts from time to time, and was a reminder that surgery awaited him soon after this final show of several strings of live dates over the past two years. "This is my finish line," he told us. "I'm beat the fuck up."

For "Gampo," Prof's hype man/Ed McMahon DJ Fundo really got into the act, and got the whole room's hands waving. The night proceeded with a mix of X-rated banter followed by some sort of "Oops, we're not actually telling you to [insert something illegal or explicit] because this is an all-ages show" and a tour of Prof's increasingly widening catalog.

St. Paul Slim jumped onstage to muscle through "Horses in the Ghetto" from their 2009 collaboration Recession Music, and then Prof went back in time even further for the "old heads" in the room. Compared to the trap music and EDM that inspires a lot of current Prof material, 2008's "Push (Mind on My Money)" is a rare moment of twisted boom-bap that had this particular old head thinking about some Redman and Onyx tracks. The chanted chorus of "push" went over well with the irrepressible audience, but Prof insisted at the end that it would be the "last time I ever perform that song."

Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen
Following a mic stand-stroking bust through "Lucky," Fundo dropped Jim Jones's "We Fly High" for a few bars to really froth up the crowd. And then he and Prof turned a hard left with "Baby Jacob," the most earnest of songs from the night. Sharing vocal duties, the guys belted that "Finally freeeeeee" like they were at the peak of a mountain. Then, as a reward for hearing out the serious stuff, the people on the floor got to drink the nectar of the bass via room-rumbling "Borrowed Time."

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