You're more of a rock person, but you "like hip-hop, too," don't you? Sure you do! Open up your zippered CD case and check inside. On the one hand, you have the last couple Common albums. Chicago fella makes good, he raps from the heart and seems like a nice guy. On the other hand, you have the latest Outkast album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. They try a lot of interesting things, and "Hey Ya!" was kind of catchy, right? But I say look down at your fucking hands, man, they're full of overhyped trash!
Following mainstream, pop culture rap can be rewarding and it can diversify your listening habits, but folks miss out on some amazing music that way. Back about a dozen years ago, you could've been listening to something unbelievably great, like Pete Rock & CL Smooth. Have you heard much Pete & CL? I doubt it. You should rectify that as soon as possible!
In case you don't know much about him, Pete Rock was one of the most incredible hip-hop producers of the early 1990s. Plenty of innovative jazz samples, lots of reverb, deep improv touches riding way under the beats. His stuff fucking slams, yo. In an era that produced magnificent groups like Brand Nubian, Main Source and Black Sheep, you were probably out bolstering your fucking Beastie Boys collection. What a waste of cash!
Goddamn, check out Pete & CL's debut full-length LP Mecca and the Soul Brother as soon as you fucking can, jack. If you're the kind of motherfucker who digs a dense, sample-heavy hip-hop joint with dope lyrics and more horns than a bunch of inbred goat farms, you're going to fall in love with this record. You'll say to yourself, "Holy fuck, what was I doing with all those milquetoast, latter-day Public Enemy albums? This is another and much better planet entirely!"
Sure is, pal. Once you're past that primer, though, Pete & CL's second album, The Main Ingredient, will knock your fucking block off. Check it: "I Get Physical," "Sun Won't Come Out," the title track.almost every song's a stone fucking killer. It's a whole CD of crazy fucking jams, G! Good fucking god! Seriously, if you don't know what I'm talking about, I say you're neglecting one of the best groups of all time, hip-hop or otherwise. Start listening to me, damn it!
Honestly, there isn't much more to explore on the Pete & CL trail after these two proper albums. They released a really good EP in 1991 with a few fantastic tracks on it, and there are some remixes and scattered soundtrack throwaways out there that are just about worth a search. Eh, they'll do in a pinch. Pete & CL broke up officially years ago, and have since "reunited" on a few Pete Rock solo album songs.
But stick with the full-length records and prepare yourself for an exciting sonic fuckfest that'll put your sad-white-boy indie rap collection to absolute shame. Shame, I say! Hey yo, Pete! Give the party people somethin' funky to listen to!
The Review of the Year of Things #1: Jason Lewis surveys the years' great albums and noting so many, compartmentalized, as men do. So, here, albums by those so profoundly impacted by Death