The Professional is the debut studio album by American record producer DJ Clue?. It was released on December 15, 1998 via Roc-A-Fella Records.
Recording sessions took place at Alien Flyers, at Platinum Island Studios, at Desert Storm Studios, at Soundtrack Studios, at The Hit Factory, at Sound On Sound Studios and at D&D Studios in New York City, at Krosswire Studios in Atlanta, and at Source Sound Labs in Canton. Production was handled by Ken “Duro” Ifill, Buckwild, DJ Scratch, Hangmen 3, Laze-E-Laze, M.O.P., Self, V.I.C., Swizz Beatz and Clue himself.
It features guest appearances from DMX, Fabolous, Big Noyd, Big Pun, Boot Camp Clik, Cam’ron, Canibus, Drag-On, EPMD, Eve, Flipmode Squad, Foxy Brown, Ja Rule, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Keith Murray, Lord Tariq, Made Men, Ma$e, Memphis Bleek, Missy Elliott, Mobb Deep, Mocha, M.O.P., Nas, Nature, Nicole Wray, N.O.R.E., Puff Daddy, Raekwon, Redman, R.O.C. and Styles P.
The album peaked at number twenty-six on the Billboard 200 chart, and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on January 27, 1999, and then went platinum on August 20, 2001, indicating US sales of over one million units.
Its sequels, The Professional 2 and The Professional 3, were released in 2001 and 2006, respectively.