Professor Green album review of Alive Till I'm Dead

By Gavin Martin on Jul 16, 10 12:00 AM in Music

Alive Till I'm Dead 4/5

Young East Londoner Stephen Paul Manderson, aka Professor Green, has already had a rocky career. A recording apprenticeship with Mike 'The Streets' Skinner's label The Beats was cut short by financial forces beyond his control, yet acclaim, awards and high-profile support from Lily Allen showed the 26-year-old on the up.

Then, last year, a potentially fatal attack in a London club, leaving a gruesome scar just above the Lucky tattoo on his neck, threatened to topple the young Don's arrival. But crashing labels and broken bottles haven't held him back.

Now boosted by two smash singles - the Soul II Soul-sampling Just Be Good To Green, featuring Lily Allen, and the INXS-sampling I Need You Tonight, featuring Ed Drewett - the Prof's second coming is upon us.

If he wants to be the devil with a Midas touch, a pop-sussed East London Eminem, then Alive Till I'm Dead has all the weaponry he needs.

As befits a chap who came close to having his jugular sliced, the Prof is an often morose, even despairing character. The first thing he reveals is "I can't handle my drugs", and he ends the album with the sombre Goodnight, assuring us that "my life ain't nothing to be envied".

Even so, with his skilfully tweaked and sweetened tracks, and his knack for lyrical as well as musical hooks, the Prof is a veritable It Boy of cutting edge commercial rap.

Name-checked along the way are Pixie Lott, his Hackney neighbourhood, an unnamed Sugababe, womankind and the late George Best.

Lyrically he's interestingly diverse. The problems of getting close to a girl is contrasted with claustrophobic visions in City Of Gold - "a city of bright lights and tight dresses". It's brought alive with a riveting mix of fuzz bass and scorching organ lines over a dubby, punk-metal-blues backdrop.

The songs are by turns scary and saucy, and he's certainly got the musical qualifications to ensure his place at the University Of Pop.

There, on lectures such as Oh My God, he can tell us what it's like to be a "mascot for a generation of f***-ups"

Stay lucky, dude.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Keep up to date

RSS feed icon It's the easiest way to check for new stories subscribe to our web feed | what is RSS?


 David Edwards
David Edwards

Droll, acerbic and never afraid to ruffle feathers - when it comes to movies - David tells it like it is. The Mirror’s film critic thinks There Will Be Blood is the greatest flick he’s seen since taking the job in 2004, with the little-seen Appaloosa not far behind. His least favourite flicks include Disaster Movie, 88 Minutes and anything by Guy Ritchie.
View all of David's posts.

Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch joined the Daily Mirror in 2000. His love of gadgetry can be traced back to the age of 6, when his uncle gave him £20 and a copy of Shoot magazine for tuning in his Ferguson toploader video.
View all of Kevin's posts.

Gavin Martin
Gavin Martin

Opinionated and passionate, Gavin covers the musical beat – pop, hip hop, R&B and soul, anything that’s rock ’n’ roll. Rating the latest releases and talking to the top music makers he’s the writer the late great Godfather of Soul James Brown called "brilliant"* Need we say more?
View all of Gavin's posts.

Jessica Mellor
Jessica Mellor

Jess loves DVDs like other women love shoes. From big Hollywood blockbusters to art-house treasures, no film escapes her critical gaze. She often appears on behind the scenes bits on DVDs interviewing stars and as an expert on TV shows which list the top films of all time.
View all of Jessica's posts.

Martin Newman
Martin Newman

Martin has been reviewing art in Britain for over a decade. He gives a wrap of new exhibitions, books, news and gossip from the art world exclusively for’s The Ticket blog.
View all of Martin's posts.

Ian Sturgess
Ian Sturgess

Ian rounds up the best music-related releases on DVD for The Ticket. As well as being a journalist and passionate about music, Ian is a guitarist and bass player of many years standing, having toured the world and made albums and singles with a variety of bands. He currently writes and records tracks for the UK's biggest production music company for potential use in films and on TV and radio.
View all of Ian's posts.

Henry Sutton
Henry Sutton

Sorting the wood from the trees, Henry is not just a committed reader, he writes his own highly-charged novels. His biggest following is in Riga, Latvia. His new novel, Get Me Out Of Here - to be published by Random House later this year - is a cautionary tale of wanton capitalism and a homage to North Korea economic principles. Next stop Pyongyang.
View all of Henry's posts.