Wednesday, February 27, 2008
If you're still one of the five people who actually pay attention to album *ahem* releases, then you've probably heard that Janet Jackson's and Erykah Badu's new albums were released yesterday. Well...I'm here to set the record straight and to let all y'all know that there was more than one major release yesterday. The Chocolate Boy Wonder, Soul Brother #1 himself PETE ROCK has dropped yet ANOTHER hip-hop gem on ya! NY's Finest, Pete's 6th 'solo' album (9th if you include his AMAZING work as 1/2 of the legendary group Pete Rock & CL Smooth), was released yesterday as well. Janet's album is good (MUCH better than the last) and Erykah's album is great (props to Ms. Badu for showing love to J. Dilla!) but Pete's contribution to this beloved art form is without a doubt the stand out release for me.
I told myself I wouldn't get into detailed reviews here...and I won't...but I will say that Pete's production on this album is just as good as anything he's ever done. The guest performances by Redman, Little Brother, Chip-Fu (on a reggae joint! Go Pete!!), and a host of others is handled with care as to make sure you don't forget why you're listening to this album. When you listen to a Pete Rock album, it's not for the rappers...it's for the MUSIC. Or, at least, that's how it should be. The most surprising guest appearance on the album comes from Lords of the Underground. I haven't heard about them in years and they still haven't lost a step. It does my heart good to see established artists still working with other established artists and not just the 'new' cats and who ever's 'hot' on the radio.
Pete Rock is not a legendary producer because he sold 5 million copies of an album or because he had a too-public beef with some other knucklehead. Pete Rock is legendary because he's GREAT at his craft. Pete Rock is a producer's producer. Don't take my word for it. Listen to what these little to somewhat famous producers have to say about him. Pete has produced for more artists than I can remember. He's extremely notable for his remixes which were usually better than the original track. Check any hip-hop remixes from the early-to-mid 90's. You're bound to find an amazing Pete Rock remix eventually.
All that being said, there is one ingredient missing from this mix. All the true Pete Rock fans know what I'm referring to. For all the rappers that Pete has produced for, NONE OF THEM flowed more fluently over his tracks than CL Smooth. It's a God given fact as far as I'm concerned. It's not even up for debate or discussion. Personal misunderstandings aside between the two, I will forever continue to wish/hope/pray that they will work together again on at least one more song or an entire album. CL released an album last year entitled American Me. It was a good album but it didn't get much attention at all. Wanna guess why?