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Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
GOOD LIFE: THE BEST OF
(ELEKTRA/RHINO)
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Legendary producer/DJ and occasional lyricist Pete Rock has left an indelible mark in the world of hip-hop. Long known for scouring record crates and infusing old-school soul, jazz, and blues into street-approved beats and scratches, Rock remains one of the most sought-after remix maestros 15 years after he got his start.

As an artist, though, heís best known for his recordings with long-time vocal partner-in-rhyme C.L Smooth. Their 1991 debut EP, All Souled Out, is a classic, and itís represented here by "The Creator," on which a breathless Smooth keeps pace with Rockís kinetic percussion. The dense rhythms and cuts of "Mecca and the Soul Brother," the title track of their 1992 full-length (which accounts for nearly half the tracks on Good Life, as well it should), sound as impressive now as they did a decade ago. Smoothís eloquent, monotone flow is a perfect fit for Rockís multi-layered beats, and his mature, level-headed rhymes, which deal with real problems of life the ghetto ("Straighten It Out," "Anger in the Nation"), remain forceful. He also holds his own when claiming bragging rights on "Itís Not a Game" and "Skinz," the latter of which features the witty Grand Puba. But nothing matches the instantly identifiable echo of horns that opens the melodic and heartfelt "They Reminisce over You (T.R.O.Y)," an idyllic hip-hop soul anthem that marks a defining moment in rap music.

BY CHRIS CONTI


Issue Date: August 22 - August 28, 2003
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