Prof-positive: Minnesota rapper spends spring break in Roch
King Gampo will reign supreme for one night at The Castle, in a sold-out show Friday. Also known as Prof, or his given name, Jacob Anderson, he’s one of Minnesota’s preeminent rappers and a Rhymesayers artist.
Prof’s irreverent rhymes will anchor a night of hip-hop featuring special guests Willie Wonka, Cashinova, and Mac Irv. It’s the first stop on his Pookie Baby’s Spring Break tour, which will wend its way through nine states, making it as far afield as Colorado and Texas. The tour supports Prof’s 2018 record, Pookie Baby.
Local promotor Nikolai Zeppa has been working behind the scenes with Prof’s management for more than a year to make the show happen. “I actually opened up for Prof in 2011 down in Mankato as a former hip-hop musician,” says Zeppa. “That night … made me a lifelong fan.” Zeppa’s entertainment and media group, the Stationary Astronauts, booked Prof. Coincidentally, Prof’s no stranger to space suits, having worn one as he launched himself into hip-hop orbit during the fifth annual Prof Outdoors festival at the Cabooze in Minneapolis this past September.
“Shows like this are important because it shows the potential of our city’s entertainment ecosystem,” says Zeppa. “It gets people paying for good entertainment, which in turn challenges our local creatives to expand their own markets.”
If Prof’s previous shows at places like the notorious Soundset Festival are any indication, Rochester is in for a wild show that might end with him crowd-surfing in a pink flamingo raft. Read on for a few words from the mouth of this “babe.”
After touring in support of Pookie Baby this past year, what’s your favorite track to perform live? Any good stories from the road?
I really like performing “Andre the Giant” and “NO.” Crowds eat them up super loud. As far as stories from the road go, you’d need to be in the inner circle to get those. I’m not trying to dry snitch on myself in any newspaper or publication. I will say this though: The adventures are real. I’ve forgotten 100 more wild ... stories than your run-of-the-mill mall-bro has even experienced … but I do work hard to be in the moment, conscious, and friendly as possible when I move through tour. Also in life in general, I suppose.
If Pookie Baby, King Gampo, or even Prof are constructed characters, how do these characters play into your creativity?
Each character is different, some qualities overlap, but each personality allows me to express something different, and to get in a creative zone that maybe one alone couldn’t get me in. They are all me, though. They all fall under the same umbrella – ella, aye, aye, aye.
Your videos have featured you being buried alive and wrestling a shark, not to mention some naughtier activities. How much input do you have in the videos?
Until the video for “Criminal,“ directed and written by Tomas Aksamit, I’ve had some sort of creative control in almost every single video I’ve ever made. I usually write the treatment, come up with the main idea for the video, in most videos we’ve made. I love all types of creativity, and coming up with wild ideas for videos is right at the top.
You reportedly gave away 80,00 copies of King Gampo. Even though you may not be giving music away the same way now, can you talk about your philosophy behind the decision to give your music away?
I wanted to be heard. No one is going to buy music they have never heard.
How are you going to top your last Soundset appearance, and will there be a 2019 Prof Outdoors?
Currently, I have no clue how to top my Soundset shows. Something will pop up. Prof Outdoors is still in the air. I’d give it a 50/50 shot at happening.
Cashinova is joining you on this tour, and you seem excited about his Big Dragon release. Were you involved in that production?
Big Dragon is one of the best records to ever come out of the Minneapolis rap scene. That’s why I’m excited about it. We’ve coached him through the ins and outs of the record process, but we here at Stophouse are artists-first. Cash had 100 percent creative control over his record.
Have you spent any quality time with John Stamos lately?
Nah, after that dude had a kid, we’ve basically stopped talking. I know how much having a kid meant to him. I bet he’s pretty busy being a good John Stamos-type dad.
Your Rochester show is sold out, any words for your fans who couldn’t get a ticket?
I’ll get a bigger venue next time. Smooches.