“But that’s coming in 2017” Pete Rock said in an interview with The Breakfast Club.
Pete was talking about an upcoming album with him and C.L. Smooth. They haven’t collaborated since their breakup in 1994 which was over 20 years ago. No one really ever thought they would work together again, as both Pete and CL went after each other publicly after breaking up. But lately the two artist have been touring together and are working on an album to possibly come this year.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth are an infamous rap duo from the early 90s. They were a staple of East Coast hip-hop and have released some very quality music. Pete Rock one of the best producers and one of the most well-respected. Everyone wanted a beat from PR (and still do), but he always saved the best ones for CL. CL Smooth is a MC who’s voice is not hard to pick out. And together, they were an outstanding duo that really changed the rap game.
In 1992, Pete Rock & CL Smooth released Mecca and The Soul Brother, which would become considered one of the best hip-hop albums of all time by critics and other well-respected artist. Trust me, I could go on for days about this classic, but that is for a classic album review for another day. The song “They Reminisce Over You” is a top rap song of all time and one of the best songs of the 1990s. Pete’s jazzy beats and CL’s soulful lyrics went well together. The two were good friends and it seemed like they were flawless when collaborating.
Then in 1994, the duo released The Main Ingredient, which is one of the most under-rated projects in the genre. This album featured Pete Rock on the mic a little more, including the masterpiece “Escape” where he raps the whole song. This album is even more soulful than the first and the lyrics are just as pure. Pete Rock & CL Smooth showed they were more than a one album fluke.
After 94, the duo split up, due to “creative differences”. But, the two would be at odds with each other for over 15 years, calling each other selfish and it seemed unlikely the two would ever collaborate. Pete Rock stayed in the game and still produced solid beats, but CL stayed out of the game for 12 years. When they came out with new music, it was good, but it just wasn’t the same. It’s difficult to say Pete Rock without CL Smooth, and vice versa.
In 2011, Pete Rock & CL made up. Everyone was waiting on them to announce a project, and Pete Rock claimed they would release one as soon as it was finished…
Well, It has been almost 6 years, and still no album. But that is okay. The two came back for the sake of hip-hop. They came back because they were sick of “mumble rappers” like Lil Yachty and Kodak Black. They came back to try to put real hip-hop music back along with Kendrick Lamar, rap duo Run the Jewels, along with a few others that are the minority. They came back to make hip-hop what it used to be. So take your time guys, this album needs to be perfect.
Pete recently released an album with Smoke DZA, Don’t Smoke Rock. Smoke is a quality rapper, but he is no CL. The beats on here though, wow. PR has aged well and he is still as good as ever. While I was listening to this album, I was just thinking what this could be with CL’s witty and gritty lyrics behind these stellar beats. It had me very excited, and then Pete Rock announced an album was coming this year.
The reason I am anticipating this album the most, is because these guys haven’t worked together in over 20 years. I can’t help but ask if CL’s lyrics will fall off or if Pete Rock will fail to produce like he is capable. Will this album be a failure? Will it not live up to the expectations?
Pete & CL need this album to be perfect. They need it to put their name back in the game. They are well-respected with older fans of the genre, but they need to make this album appeal to the younger fans. For their legacy to be solidified, they need at least one more project to be better than either of them have dropped.
But more than that, Hip-hop needs this album to be great. It needs it to show that the old timers still are better than these rappers they have been dissing. It needs it to show that lyrics are still valued in hip-hop(not that they aren’t, but not as much as they should be). It needs these two artists to come back and be as strong as ever.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth are one of the best rap duos in hip-hop history, and this album will be interesting to see what they come up with. Hopefully they aren’t rusty and they don’t skip a beat since ’94. But it is still CL Smooth’s soulful lyrics and and his distinct voice. And it is still Pete Rock producing the hardest and jazziest beats of the year. It is still one of the best rap duos to ever do it. And I have no doubt this album will reflect all of it, and they won’t skip a beat. They will be better than ever, and come back strong to put their name back in hip-hop. This oughta be fun…
Pete Rock & CL Smooth are back y’all.