...is a muthableepin' genius!
...but we already know this.
One of my favorite tracks on that planet is "Blah Uno" by Deda produced by Pete Rock (on 2003's "The Original Baby Pa" & "Lost & Found: Hip Hop Soul Classics"...which I don't have either of...so if you have them, hit me with them, please! I came across the track on a 2004 Hip Hop compilation from the UK). From the minute that track came in to my head with the ubiquitous snare count ("One two three UGH")...I fell in love with it. I went head over heals when the sax came in sending me into Deda's "hard core" lyrics...with references to "thug bitches" and Phil Collins how could I not love this track! The track rides out with Deda chanting "Blah Uno...The highest type-numero uno " over the same sax that introduced him to me three and a half minutes earlier. The overall composition of the track is simple. I think to some degree Pete Rock's a minimalist. His beats are like pulses (interrupted by timed palpitations) and his samples always seem to hold a beautiful constant harmony.
Now, we all know Pete Rock can work wonders with sax samples...Best example: Tom Scott's "Today" for "T.R.O.Y."...which I'm not even going to begin to breakdown...That track can only be descibed with another acronym: G.O.A.T.! Now, contrary to popular belief (as well as some previous self-proclamation by my self), I'm not a "24-Hour Hip Hop head"...meaning I don't eat, sleep, and breathe hip hop (I like to balance my diet with funk, soul, jazz, punk, etc. from time to time)...so I don't know about all of Pete Rock's productions. I did know about his work with INI (Rass, Grap Luva, Rob-O), but didn't know that Rob-O had solo projects with Pete Rock produced tracks.
On Rob-O's most recent "Rhyme Pro" (?? Label???...oh, and weak title if you ask me), which includes previously unreleased tracks, there's a track called "Mention Me" ft. Meccalicious...and YO! It's DAMN FRESH! I don't know much about Meccalicious but I do know Rob-O was on the "Mecca & the Soul Brother" cut "The Basement" along with Heavy D, Deda and Grap Luva (NOT the Boyz!)...a classic "posse cut"...So I know the cats voice is going to bring some "Golden Era of Hip Hop" steez.
What kills me on "Mention Me" is that it comes in with a soft vibraphone(???) melody that if you don't listen for it you might miss. It's quickly complemented with Pete Rock's signature (a horn sample for those that haven't been paying attention). Now, if you listen to the track it's easy to let the horns and drums over-power the melody (which by now is laced thru the track)...but damn it, don't let them on this one! This subtle melody makes this track so future primitive. Again, a very simple track that holds all the elements of a "Golden Era of Hip Hop" track and more. The lyrics are strong enough to make this a very satisfying track.
I could go on about Pete Rock (especially after hearing the "PJs...From Afar" Raekwon-El Michels Affair Remix 2 minutes ago)...but for now, I'll say this again: Pete Rock is a genius. Period. Don't argue with me (As I sit here thuggishly eating my Animal Cookies while typing this, haha). Here's the track (Courtesy of good ol' Spine Magazine). If you don't enjoy it, go listen to the radio with the other sheeps.
"...Hip Hop don't revolve around Nas & Jay..."