Meet Professor Green. Not by colour, nor by nature. It’s just his alias.
His real name is Stephen Paul Manderson. He was raised in Hackney by his Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
Despite being very academically capable he didn’t see much of school after year 8. As smart as he was, he was too wild to stay in school. What followed was an attempt at a 9 to 5, a bad career choice and a police raid which nearly put him away, but fortunately didn’t.
Since narrowly avoiding prison he has signed a deal with Mike Skinner’s record label ‘The Beats’ (which sadly went bye bye in December 2007), he had his own radio 1 show, and did very well on the battle scene, intoxicating himself all the way along.
After a messy year wrestling with Warner to get his masters back, his dad passing and getting shanked in the neck with a broken bottle, he had a Facebook convo with Lily Allen which spawned a remake of 90′s classic ‘Just Be Good To Me’ for his album, featuring Lily Allen.
A European, UK and Australian tour with Lily (performing the song) later, he has signed to Virgin, gotten his teeth fixed and is just finishing his debut album ‘Alive Till I’m Dead’.
So without further ado, we would like to introduce Professor Green.
Shock Mansion: Green, how you going dude?
Professor Green: I’m doing good thanks.
Shock Mansion: First up mate, we appreciate the time you’ve given us. We know you’re busy as hell so cheers for having us.
Professor Green: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
Shock Mansion: To kick it off, can you give us a quick idea of what a normal day in the life of Professor Green would be like?
Professor Green: Ummm, I can tell what I did yesterday which was probably the most hectic day Ive ever had in my life. I only got 3 hours sleep but that was self inflicted so I don’t deserve any sympathy. I had to get up at 6.30am to get the car to get to “T4 On The Beach” which is a massive show on the beach put on by Channel 4 television over here.
Got down there and did loads of TV, then the performance, got off stage and straight into a car, just made it to the train station in time to get a train back from Bristol to London. Got straight in a car when I got to Paddington train station, got to the Wireless Festival, got out of the car and literally got straight onto the stage, got off stage, did 2 hours of press, still haven’t had any time to eat.
Finished there, Lily had already started playing so I had to get straight back to the main stage, then got to come out during her set and perform the single which was an incredible end to the day. I performed in front of 100,000 people.
Shock Mansion: Props to that dude!
Professor Green: Yeah that was insane, busy busy times.
Shock Mansion: So what/who got you into music back in the day?
Professor Green: I started listening to rap music at the age of 9 or 10. I got into music really early on and it was Biggie who I first got into, he’s still my favorite rapper today. I listen to a lot of different stuff now, as far as making music I never had any intention of being a rapper, I never thought I had any creative flare.
Shock Mansion: Clearly you were wrong *laughs*
Professor Green: *laughs* And yeah, one day I was at a friends house and everyone was free styling and they had all been making music from the age of 12. I got put on the spot, it was a joke, I spat some lyrics and it worked and everyone was like “what, you can rap?” and I was like “Ahh no, please don’t make me do that again”. So from there I just started messing around with it and yeah, that’s how it happened.
Shock Mansion: What did you do to put food on the table before your music career took off?
Professor Green: I tried a few different jobs, none of which really worked out for me and I was a bit of a naughty boy as well, nothing I ever got in trouble for, so I’m alright.
Shock Mansion: Let’s talk tattoos. You’ve got some rad pieces, do you currently have a favorite piece and do you have any plans for more?
Professor Green: Yeah definitely, on my left arm I’ve got the inside of my forearm completely done and the top part as well so it’s just about joining up the dots on that part of my body, I really wanna have a full sleeve. So I want to get that done, it’s just finding the time to get it finished up.
The latest tattoo I have I’m really fond of which is a crying angel on my shoulder, and that goes around to the inside which has the text “the best of intentions” which is pretty true of my character you know, I always mean well.
Shock Mansion: Do you run with the same artist these days or do you collect work from different people?
Professor Green: I’ve used a few different ones, I was fortunate enough to get a chest piece from a guy named Steve Herring who has been in the game a long long time here. He’s hilarious, he’s definitely not orthodox but he’s an amazing artist. A guy I’m using at the moment is a guy called Damian at Kings Cross Tattoo Parlor and his shading is phenomenal.
Shock Mansion: Yeah rad, are you sticking with Black & Grey or running with some colour?
Professor Green: I’ve got a little bit of colour on my right arm and I’ll probably add to that, but I’m not going to get it everywhere.
Shock Mansion: Which country/city do you think has the best weed?
Professor Green: Hmmm, as far as cities I would have to say Amsterdam or Bristol. I dunno what it is about Bristol but the weed I’ve gotten from there is incredible.
Shock Mansion: Just what you needed after your massive day yesterday.
Professor Green: You know what, I don’t get to enjoy it so much anymore. Only on the odd occasion when I have absolutely nothing to do. I can’t even smoke much of it now because I don’t smoke typically anymore, when I do it knocks me for six.
Shock Mansion: We hear you dude, business before pleasure.
Professor Green: One hundred percent, I’m fortunate enough to enjoy my work.
Shock Mansion: Who is blasting on your ipod at the moment?
Professor Green: I listen to a lot of stuff that people wouldn’t expect, I love The xx album, it’s incredible I’ve been listening to it since it first came out. Its crazy that an album can be out for that long and still be going from strength to strength. I really love the new Bonobo album, Black Sands. He’s kind of a trip-hoppie, ambient producer with some vocal stuff on it as well.
Shock Mansion: If you were homeless, what would your cardboard sign have written on it?
Professor Green: Will rap for money.
Shock Mansion: You’ve given us some really awesome collaborations. Who is your ultimate musical collaboration, dead or alive?
Professor Green: Umm, dead or alive? Biggie, that would be obviously incredibly humbling but he’s my favorite rapper hands down and I’d love to have the opportunity to work with him on a song.
Shock Mansion: A zombie infection is sweeping across the planet, what would be your weapon of choice to fend off the brain hungry monsters and what are the last three things you would want to do when you realize you’re fighting a losing battle?
Professor Green: Find Jessica Alba. I’m not sure about the other two things because that would take up all my time. I’d go for a chain saw, I think that would be pretty fun.
Shock Mansion: Got any shout outs dude, maybe some of your ex’s?
Professor Green: *laughs* I think I’m gonna veer away from that. I’m good man, just to everyone out there [Australia], I really hope to get out there soon. I was out there with Lily for the Big Day Out but I really wanna get out there on my own right. Hopefully the music does well enough.
That was the most amazing experience Ive had probably. I can completely see why everyone calls it the Big Day Off, the vibe on stage was incredible. I had to work hard for it you know because nobody knew who I was but even still it was crazy. Seeing what Dizzee did with Bonkers was really inspirational, seeing 20,000 people jumping tandem, Ive never seen anything like that.
Shock Mansion: Where can fans find information about your tours and buy your music?
Professor Green: Just Be Good To Green is available on iTunes now featuring Lily Allen. The best place to check out anything on me would be professorgreen.co.uk, that has all my live dates and my Facebook which is just facebook.com/professorgreen.
Shock Mansion: Thanks a heap for your time mate. We really appreciate it and hope to see you in Australia again soon!
Professor Green: Wicked, thank you bruv, take care man!
Check out some of Professor Green’s music videos by clicking the images below:
Professor Green feat. Lily Allen – Just Be Good To Green
Professor Green – Upper Clapton Dance ft. Chynaman + Cores