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Hip Hop Live! Part Three: Pete Rock & CL Smooth Live @ The Jazz Cafe in London

by Travis on October 5, 2006

One of the greatest M.C. & D.J./Producer duo of all-times is the Chocolate Boy Wonder and CL Smooth. They’ve had a very turmilous relationship over the last few years, with the lastest interview I read had CL Smooth saying “Shut up and make my beats, faggit”, damn…. But back in 2004, there were better days. The two were performing, there were rumors of another album and they went on tour together to do some shows over the big pond in Europe.

That is where this show is from, from the Jazz Cafe in London. The sound quality is pretty good for a bootleg or whatever this is, I happen to find it on soulseek six months to a year ago. It’s worth a listen. While searching for info on event, I happen to wander across an actual review for this show:

Pete Rock Live at The Jazz Cafe. Thursday 26 th February 2004 Reviewer: Marski
Much as I’m ashamed to admit it, it takes a lot for me to get my sceptical ass to a live Hip-Hop event nowadays. In common with most ‘old school’ heads my age, I find myself comparing today’s scene to that of Hip-Hop’s golden years. During that era, one act stood head and shoulders above all the other claimers to Rap’s throne and changed my record purchasing habits in the process. Fast forward ten years and there I was standing outside the Jazz Cafe at 6:50pm on a Thursday night to see the same act on the last night of their three date UK showcase. I was on a mission, not only to see the two brothers from Mount Vernon who still influenced my Hip-Hop purchasing to this day, but also to get my original ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother’ EP signed.

By approximately seven o’clock we stood, craven as a pair of buzzards, rooted tot the front of the Jazz Cafe stage. We glazed in wonderment at the Technics SL-1210′s, Vestax PMC-06, Pioneer CDJ-1200′s and Emu SP-1200 sampler from which the show would be conducted. To put this into perspective, this was not just any old SP-1200, but the one used to compose all those funkafied Hip-Hop licks that had taken so much of my money over the years. As the beer started to flow a hypothetical argument began regarding the pros of stealing the aforementioned sampler against the con’s of denying ourselves seeing the show. Suffice to say, the sampler stayed and the show went on.

After numerous battles to hold the spot we had turned up so early to reserve, show time had approached. I turned round for a brief look at the capacity crowd and was surprised to see a rather maturer Hip-Hop audience than usual. I guess even the ‘old schoolers’ could make it off the couch for this one, even on a school night.

And so after two and a half hours of self inflicted discomfort, Pete Rock appeared behind the turntables and proceeded to hype an already eager crowd ready for the main event. Cue CL to rapturous applause five minutes later and it’s straight into a medley of anthems. Twenty minutes of classic Pete & CL joints dropped back to back before a pause to acquaint this hungry audience with more Pete beats and CL anecdotes.

‘Were putting the nail in the coffin tonight UK’ stated CL, obviously confident after two previous nights of successful shows and infectious beats and rhymes.

From then on the whole repertoire was unleashed. From classics such as ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother’, rarities (‘Whats Next on the Menu’), LP tracks (‘In The House’) and crossover jams (‘Take You There’). Placed amongst the mix were some exclusive CL tracks from the new ‘Soul Survivor 2′ LP. If you’ve been put off by the recent ‘Warzone’ promo doing the rounds, rest assured that the best is yet to come.The pinnacle of the night had to be the anthemic ‘Creator’. Seeing Pete and CL re-uinted stage front to a crowd of 400 people jumping into the sky in unison was truly a sight to behold. After a quick rewind, Pete & CL looked to each other in amazement, surprised as to how hard this anthem can still rock a spot.

Just when you thought it was all over, Pete dropped Tom Scott’s ‘Today’. The reaction on the audiences face when that familiar horn hook kicked in and Pete cut in ‘They Reminisce Over You’ was priceless. I looked over my shoulder once again, this time to a sea of people holding their heads for cover as the bomb dropped.

And so, as quickly as they arrived, Pete & CL departed from the stage. As did the Jazz Cafe audience in typical style, and so we proceed upstairs to loiter for the holy grail of autographs and picture opportunities.

My only criticism concerns Pete’s minimal live use of the SP-1200 sampler throughout the set. Apart from dropping the under-rated ‘Shine on Me’ (it’s a grower) straight out the back of the box, it was barely touched, which seemed a little disappointing after gazing at it for so long (that’ll teach me). Obviously more of the recent tracks were dropped straight from CD-R, but Pete didn’t really represent on the cut too hard either. This was a shame, as the brief skills he displayed during ‘They Reminisce Over You’ were lapped up by the audience. Yet these are minor criticisms of a show I’d class as the best Hip-Hop gig I’ve been to in the last ten years. The energy rippling through the Jazz Cafe from 400, over the hill, Hip-Hop heads and two guys from Mount Vernon surpassed anything I’d seen recently from a live Hip-Hop act. I guess the new school still have a thing or two to learn about the fundamentals of rocking a party.

Random Album Of The Day (NO, not the new Black Sheep Album)

In celebration of an actual release date for the new Black Sheep album (10-24-06), I’m posting up the Promo for the never released “Same Sheep, Different Day” . Check out the new single from the album “Who Dat”. As Dres would say “Ya Slammin!”

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