Professor Green webchat – your questions answered on celebrity, dogs and urban life

Last modified: 02: 25 PM GMT+0

The rapper’s discussion ranged from the pain of losing his father to canine etiquette and his plans to make more social documentaries

One Eye On the Door

That's all Professor Green has time for

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Thanks for all your questions, even the shit ones. Love you lots, Professor Green.

toggy55 asks:

Is your spelling, grammar ad punctuation as good as your written answers in here suggest?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Buy my autobiography, Lucky, which I wrote myself, and then tell me what you think! Peace.

CatchFazed asks:

Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you’d like to? Can I also just say, love both new singles. Raw and funny in equal measure.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Thank you for your kind comments. I'd like to work with Emeli again... I quite like Charli XCX. There's a "I don't give a fuck" about her, an attitude. I think also Bibi Bourelly. She wrote Bitch Better Have My Money for Rihanna - she has a lot of "I don't give a fuck" about her, proper.

Grime = punk

ID405034 asks:

What will blow up bigger in 2017: political punk or Donald Trump’s policies?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I would hope political punk. Though I feel like punk for 2017 is probably grime, and not punk in the traditional sense. I think grime is the closest thing we have to what punk was.


lunch101 asks:

Why are you more prominent in the public psyche than English rappers that are actually good, like Jehst for example? Is it convinient links with music insiders? Lyrics that are so in line with constructed public consensus so that sites like the guardian are willing to champion you and places like Radio 1 give you air time?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

It's all subjective - the fact that you don't like my music. Thank God your opinion of my music has no bearing over where I'm placed in the public psyche.

KungLao asks:

What in particular offended you about Honey G’s act on X Factor?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

The fact that it felt like more of a spoof. That it was more of a mockery, like something you'd see in a spoof movie. I could quite imagine her in Scary Movie.

Ben Grafton asks:

Hi! I interviewed you several years ago for a French teen magazine in Paris and you told me the only French you knew was the word for ‘eraser’. Have you learnt any more since? Also: it’s my birthday today so can you say Happy Birthday? Glad to see your career has gone from strength to strength.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Nope. Eraser is gomme, though.

EriuAndTheGaels asks:

Would you do anything differently with your career if you could start again from the beginning?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

No. It's really easy to speak hypothetically, and say that I'd change loads of things - you could do it with life, not just career. But you have no idea what the knock on effect of those changes might be.

BookLoverTreeSaver asks:

What has been your biggest life lesson so far?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

This sounds negative at first, but actually is quite positive. It's really that there's no such thing as permanence. Everything is temporary. The good to be taken from that is to not worry about the two things that don't actually exist that everyone spends time worrying about: the past and the future. Maybe we should just focus on being present. Without wanting to sound like something out of a self help book...

hannahbond37 asks:

Being a famous person is there a temptation to constantly respond to false stories about yourself or do you develop a thick skin about it? I can’t imagine ever not wanting to be really defensive and respond to everything written about me.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

If I responded to everything written about me, I would have no time to do anything else. More frustrating than things being written, is people being fooled into believing that most of what's written is true.

bryfox asks:

I know you only as the guy who married Millie. Tell me who you really are.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

ForzaFCUnited asks:

Do you have any special ways you look after your voice?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

If I went with what my vocal coach told me to do, then yes - which would be plenty of hydration, lip bubbles and a gentle vocal warmup through the scales before any voice usage. And plenty of vocal rest. But the truth would look more like: performing without warming up, spending a lot of time in loud places talking too loudly, drinking more coffee than water, smoking fags, and consuming a lot of tequila.

Pete Fellows asks:

Do you think in 2016 the UK is more divided than ever?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Oof. I think pre-referendum it looked that way; I think post, with people being more aware of the repercussions of leaving Europe, and what just happened with the American election, I think maybe not so. I just don't think people are politicised in the way they used to be - I think it's possible to be political without being politicised.

Christmas joke

elephantwoman asks:

Do you get put in charge of putting all the Christmas paper on the prezzies?
Because you’re such a good rapper.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I actually used to work at Thorntons. And did have to wrap all the boxes of chocolates. So I am a skilled wrapper as well as being a skilled rapper.

25aubrey asks:

Have you considered visiting 8 Mile to get a feel of the vibe that inspired Eminem to great success? Keep those documentaries coming if possible – appreciate your humanity surrounding these hard-hitting topics. Thanks for baring your own soul.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I never have. We take from our own backgrounds - my inspiration came through growing up in Clapton, and everything after that. Thanks for the kind comments about the documentaries.

Clapton … who needs Detroit?
Clapton … who needs Detroit? Photograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian

Advice on bereavement

Dolphinboy1984 asks:

What words of reassurance would would give to others who lost their fathers young?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I'd love to say in time it gets easier, but... it doesn't. There's always that inner child that misses the father they should have had, and all that should come with having a father. My only advice would be to fill that void with positive things instead of negative.


No more Chelsea

theingrateshere123 asks:

Afternoon, Squire. Here, not mucking about, but will you ever go for a stuck-up sort again and wouldn’t Binky have been a better choice ?, Oh Binky!

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I'm done with Chelsea birds. As for Binky, I couldn't tell you what she looks like or who she is as a person, but I can say that me and south west London are done.


pretendname asks:

Rap Challenge question, answers in your usual freestyle manner please :)

Prof Green, wise you seem..
I rap like yoda, you know dat I ought ta
stack it cause I lack it in the locker..
Am just a lame old rocker, rappin a shocker..
But what made you get on the scene?

Erm.. in summary :
How does someone like you get into rap? What was it you heard or saw that influenced you?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Someone like what? Someone who grew up in a council flat in Clapton, and it was extremely multicultural and there were loads of kinds of music everywhere? It was growing up, listening to all those kinds of music I was exposed to. And having friends who made music for years before I ever did.

campanologist asks:

Which would win in a fight between a baboon and a badger?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Badgers are little fuckers. If it was a honey badger, I would definitely say the honey badger.

Honey badger
Honey badger Photograph: Chris Jek / Barcroft Images

Mystik Al asks:

Do you know how to get rid of red spider mite?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I imagine this relates to growing a crop of marijuana. My answer is no. I have never had a grow house, nor have I been in charge of one. Thanks!

More documentaries on the way

Megamopp asks:

I really enjoyed* all your documentaries, are you going to be any more? (*Enjoyed may not be the right word but it definitely shone a light on subjects that really need to be addressed.)

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Thank you! There are quite a few more on the horizon. I'm currently filming two, simultaneously, one on child poverty in the UK, and another which takes a look at the potential legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use in the UK.

Cussutduck asks:

Why do you own a breed of dog that makes so many people feel uncomfortable?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

My dog is a superstar in the park - one of the friendliest and most well behaved. There are labradors that are larger than him, golden retrievers that are larger than him. He just hasn't appeared in an Andrex advert. My choice to get an old-time bulldog wasn't to make people feel uncomfortable, though if he does make you feel uncomfortable, the smartest thing you should do should you ever run into him, is cross the road.

ID3334123 asks:

Having also lost my dad too early, could I ask what coping mechanisms did/do you use? I found CBT to be the only thing to touch the sides even and would be interested to hear your experience. Best wishes to you and your family.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

To be honest, I don't think I do have any coping mechanisms. Because of the documetnaries I've done, and how open I've been, I've been forced to have those feelings present a lot of the time. An effect of that which would probably be similar to the result of a lot of therapy, is that those thoughts don't have as much power over me emotionally any more. That said, the times when things do come up and it does upset me, I accept how I feel, because it is upsetting to lose your father - that's not something that ever changes.

pottaz asks:

Hi. I’ve read your autobiography since you came on BBC-R4 and I admire your courage and honesty in articulating your past in a deeply philosophical way. I also liked your documentaries. I can relate much of what you have disclosed, during my teenage years in the 70s. But my question is simple: do you have a goal in life? What are your desires?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

My main goal above everything is really to not become part of the cycle. I've been really encouraged by my uncle who is self-made and grew up in a similar situation to me. He worked his way to being a foreman of his own construction firm, and is there for both his children. His father wasn't for him - he walked out and left him in a difficult situation. So for me, I would like to achieve a good family. To have children, and be a constant in their lives.


Eddie Mcgowan asks:

Cool jumpers. Who got the house?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I'm legally not allowed to discuss my divorce settlement! I think it would be a bit crass to do so anyway. But thanks for the compliment on the jumper - it's Givenchy.

BetterOffTed asks:

Who would win in a fight – you or Plan B?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

That depends on whether he twists his own ankle during the fight. Not going to tell you more about that.

Plan B.
Plan B. Photograph: Richard Saker/The Observer

boogieondown asks:

I wondered how you trained your dog? He seems very sweet natured. I have a brother in law who is getting a puppy in the next couple of weeks and his plan to train it involves taking it outside to give it a good beating, which as a dog lover/normal human being disgusts me. I believe that not only is this kind of abuse is completely wrong, but that it will create a nervous/aggressive dog (he has children). What is your experience with dog training? When you made your documentary about dangerous dogs you must have come across various views on the subject.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Firstly I spend ages picking the puppy. Quite often when people walk into a room with a litter of dogs, they go for the dog that runs straight up to them - that isn't always the wisest choice, as that dog will probably run up to everyone. Spend a lot of time with them - it's time, attention, patience and consistency. Tolerance, too. I've got to replace a whole load of skirting thanks to my new pup. She's got a bad belly as well. Probably all good practice for when I do have children.

Kate Halton asks:

You seem to like a good sunday lunch...where do you recommend going for a good roast dinner???

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I make a blinding roast, but you're not invited. I don't tend to bring strangers back to my house. other than that, Blacklock in Soho is incredible but good luck getting a reservation, they're booked til February. Probably because they just won best roast in England. The Guinea Grill is pretty good. And the Fat Walrus if you're in south east London. But watch out for the pub dog - his name is Baloo and he will romance his way onto your dinner plate.

redgrain asks:

Is it a good thing that sons often want their dad to be cool when they might not know what cool means?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

The dad or the son?? How do kids learn what's cool - it's their peers. I always thought I'd be a cool dad, but then you get older and you realise the difference between you and the younger generation. And I'm in an industry that keeps you young! Even I might be losing my cool a bit. It's more important to be a good dad than a cool dad.

Close up of father holding hand of baby son
Photograph: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

TheShiftyShadow asks:

Do you prefer building sandcastles or snowmen?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I'm quite fair skinned - I don't fair very well in the sun. I don't like beaches that much, mostly because I have to constantly reapply suncream, which means sand gets stuck everywhere. So I'm going to say snowmen.


typernotfighter asks:

The odds on your internet gaming site seem to be inordinately stacked in favour of the house. How do you feel about this?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I don't have an internet gaming site! I wish I did - it's probably quite lucrative, especially when the odds are stacked in favour of the house.

nyxpersephone asks:

Do have any plans to go on tour abroad/ overseas? ‘Read all about it’ just came on the radio in Berlin (where I currently live) and I wonder whether there would be enough demand for a tour abroad ;) Also, does your record label and your management encourage and support you to break into markets beyond the UK? Apart from that, I really just wanted to thank you for the documentaries you did on male depression/ suicide and homelessness – the male depression one especially struck a nerve in my family.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I'd love to tour Europe again, and everywhere else. At the moment it's about building up momentum again. I've just released for the first time in two years.

Cannabis and health

HenryHenderson asks:

What is your view on the link between cannabis usage and poor mental health? I smoked weed for over 20 years, every weekend and most evenings and I loved it until I slowly realised it was doing me more harm than good. I started talking to myself when I was high, getting very anxious and ruminating on negative past life experiences, I realised I hadn’t actually had the positive effects (the laughing, the ‘high’, the happy feelings ) but because it was something that I always associated with a good time, I had somehow conditioned my brain to believe it was a good thing for me. When I looked at my friends who had smoked for years as well, I noticed that they were not doing so well either... Do you still smoke weed? What has been your experience with long-term smokers? 10 months clean and counting...

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I don't have a view on it yet. I'm doing a documentary at the moment on marijuana and potential legalisation for medicinal use in the UK. There's two arguments. People believe cannabis can be used to treat anxiety, but also, the strength of skunk that people smoke now can cause episodes in people who have underlying conditions. I think a lot comes down to yourself - if you smoke something that makes you feel paranoid, you shouldn't go back to it.

Most of the people I know who didn't stop smoking, or at least regularly, which I did when I was 24, are not in a good place, largely because of their marijuana consumption. They have terrible mood swings, they're paranoid, they definitely lack motivation. And despite there not being a physical dependency, there is a mental one. It's a drug that for some people makes it ok for them not to do anything, not to make the most of their lives. I find that I'm too busy! That, and actually if I've got anything on my mind, it doesn't relax me - I would start worrying about everything I haven't done, and it gets uncomfortable. That's down to the strength though too - there's a real difference between skunk and weed. Well done for keeping clean!

mysterd asks:

What advice would you give to a kid who has left the predictable banality of London council estate life to go to an elite university but finds the culture shock difficult to deal with? Did you ever want to go back to road during your rise to fame?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

There were many periods of my "rise to fame". It wasn't just a rise - there were peaks and troughs. My situation hasn't changed as much as someone who has left the area to go to an elite uni - that would be a culture shock. My advice I suppose having never been to a university - not to study, anyway - just crack on and work out what you want to focus on. That's not to say it's going to come without difficulty. I know all too often, I become a novelty because of how I speak, and people mock me. But it goes both ways - I might say someone posh speaks with a boiled sweet in their mouth.

georgian1735 asks:

What do you think of the shadow group Attraction’s interpretation of Read All About It on Britain’s Got Talent? It was very moving and brought me and many others to tears.

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

It nearly brought me to tears, just watching it. And that's not just because I had a boozy birthday on Sunday. The story they told was incredible, and to do it with shadows... dance is such a beautiful form of expression. The thought that went into it, and the ability to make it seem natural, it's incredible - and it was incredible to see the reaction on the people's faces in the audience.

OleksandrOK asks:

Who is your favourite rapper?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

Biggie. He was the first rapper that I ever got into. I was into jungle first, especially in East London, and everyone would come round playing that in their stolen Metros. Then I was at Roller City, and they played One More Chance with Faith Evans... that was my first real time I started getting into hip-hop. He's the whole package: the honesty. All the artists I have an affinity towards are the ones who put themselves in their music, their honesty and willingness to be open. He was a clever fucker too. The fact that he never wrote his lyrics down... it just came out of him, his facility with words.

Notorious BIG
Notorious BIG Photograph: David Corio/Redferns


CarlBr0wn asks:

Being in the tabloids with your marriage to Millie Mackintosh meant you were always kept in the public eye – did that help or hinder your career? How do you view your relationship with the tabloid/gossip press?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I think it was a hindrance when there wasn't music to balance out the bullshit. It didn't help me sell records - I was quite happy with where my profile was before I met Millie. I don't really have a relationship with the press - people think that I want that picture out there in the press, and I have influence over it. I don't. They just write whatever they want and it's often exaggerated or fabricated. I spend time talking about the good work I do, but that's not really for their client base, is it?

Kate Corry asks:

I work for youth social action charity City Year UK, which challenges young people to tackle educational inequality and social immobility in schools in disadvantaged areas. What do you think needs to change in order to ensure young people from disadvantaged communities are given the same opportunities as those from other backgrounds?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

That's a generational thing. There's so much damage that needs to be undone. You've got third and fourth generational social housing where damage has been done - so much of what has already been done is passed onto the children. How do you sort the inequalities with opportunities, even basic things? I'm doing a doc on child poverty, and even basic things about nutrition, where people sleep, I've encountered four people from one family sleeping in one room. Where do you begin to undo that? I really don't know. There definitely needs to be a redistribution of wealth of some sort.


Lia1987 asks:

Do you read the comments about your music and if yes how much does it affect you may they be positive or negative and do they influence your making of new music? Whose feedback do you value the most from your inner circle when it comes to your music? You’ve been open about your issues with anxiety and depression. When did you realize it was anxiety that caused the physical and other symptoms you were experiencing? You started out by doing rap battles. How was your anxiety level during these and how did you handle it? Do you have triggers and did you manage to overcome them? Any “rituals” that you have in trying to deal with your anxiety? For example, I use listening to the ipod to drown out the outside noise, lay out my clothes the night before having to go out( been suffering from social anxiety and agoraphobia since the age of 13). Do you have an end image of the man you would like to become or is it more of trying to be the best you can? Would you like to star in a movie? Why don’t you dance?

User avatar for Pr0fessorGreen Guardian contributor

I suppose I see stuff on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram - but I don't go out of my way to search for stuff, and I don't let it influence the music I make. The initial part of making a song is selfish - you say what you feel like saying. I think especially there wasn't that influence when I started out, i think it would now detract from what I do. If you start second guessing people when you make music, it's not going to work. You can't please everybody, and I like polarising people.

- I trust my own gut. My belly.

- Probably late teens - it took me quite a while. Once I knew it wasn't a physical ailment I just got on with things, for the most part, tried to pretend it wasn't there. But the head and the gut are intrinsically linked.

- Suffering from anxiety is really different to having something you can be worried about. If something worries you, it worries you - that's the allowed anxiety. I had to think about lines. What I had to worry about was lyrics, so what I had to concentrate on was that - if I came up with that, there wouldn't be anxiety. But the other anxiety, the knot in your stomach for no apparent reason, is another thing entirely.

- I find with my anxiety that triggers can be anything. I can be having an ordinary day, preoccupied with what I'm doing, and someone asks me if I want a sugar in my coffee - that can trigger it, it can be big or small. Rituals, I'm quite OCD. In particular times of stress that gets worse and manifests as hypochondria - I like to tidy, and lay my clothes out. It's control, and it makes me less likely to worry about things are out of my control.

- A few years ago my answer would be: to be settled, comfortable, happy. And all the things you're sold to be "happy". Now, it's just being the best that I can. Navigating my way through it and learning as I go.

- A movie? The one thing is, I'd have to spend three hours in makeup having my tattoos covered, or be typecast. I remember hearing 50 Cent spending hours having his tattoos covered. They always seem like such a good idea at the time...

- I do dance! Caroline Flack was trying to teach me the samba the other night. Normally - no always - I'll be under the influence.


Professor Green is in the Guardian house.
Professor Green is in the Guardian house. Photograph: Ben Beaumont-Thomas/The Guardian

Post your questions for Professor Green

Professor Green is one of the UK’s most successful rappers, with four top five hits and a starry roster of guest spots from the likes of Lily Allen and Emeli Sandé. His marriage to and split from reality TV star Millie Mackintosh has meant he’s never been far from the tabloids, and new single One Eye on the Door candidly picks apart their relationship.

But away from the gossip columns is a man who has made several well respected documentaries. Professor Green: Suicide and Me, took his father’s suicide as a starting point for an exploration of male depression, and there were further documentaries about homelessness and dangerous dogs.

As he readies his new album and appears at the Being a Man festival this weekend, he’s joining us to answer your questions in a live webchat from 1pm GMT on Tuesday 29 November. Post them in the comments below, and he’ll take on as many as possible.

The GuardianTramp

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