small professor is a producer from Philadelphia who has been releasing music for about fifteen years. In recent years, he’s made albums with AJ Suede, Vic Spencer, and Curly Castro, just to name a few. The entire time he’s been working, he’s also been dropping all sorts of beat tapes and other instrumental projects as well, including his “Jawn” series. Back in February of 2020, he dropped a project called let’s go inside my astral plane. He’s now returned with a second volume, let’s go inside my astral plane ii.

Beat tapes and instrumental hip hop releases are a dime a dozen these days, and most of them fall into the category of “decent, but ultimately forgettable.” Every once in a while, though, you get a release from a veteran producer like small professor, and you immediately recognize that this project is head and shoulders above those other releases. For one, small pro isn’t just picking random samples willy nilly for no reason. No, released with the simple note, “dedicated to dad, mom, and home,” you can really get the sense that while you may not be able to pick apart the samples being used on this project, these clearly have some sort of sentimental or significant meaning to small pro. I say that not only because of the note, but because there is something very soulful about this project that transcends the technical side. You can feel small pro’s emotions coming through on each beat, and it makes for a very moving beat tape. And then yes, small pro is also doing a lot of the technical work as well to make his beats well developed, layered, interesting, and always in motion, so that you never feel like you’re just riding the same groove ad nauseum.

let’s go inside my astral plane II is a really thoughtful and special beat tape from small professor, and you don’t get to say that all that often. He put a lot of himself into the music, though, and it comes across time and again as you work your way through the project.