Is Pete Rock the best producer of all time? Damn, that is one call that is way too close for comfort, I’m sure DJ Premier may have something to say about it. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure…Pete Rock is legendary and there will never be another producer quite like the “chocolate boy wonder” from Mt.Vernon. While I haven’t been too impressed with some of Pete’s more recent work, earlier gems such as “T.R.O.Y”, P.E.’s “Shut Em’ Down” (remix) and Run D.M.C.’s “Down With The King” have truly caused aspiring producers to rethink their gameplan. With the #1 Soul Brother’s collaborative effort “Soul Survivor, Pete reached out to some of the hottest emcees to ever pick up the mic on this 1998 release on the now defunct (but never forgotten) Loud Records. Just taking a gander at the all-star lineup (Large Pro, Kool G Rap, Ghostface, Rae’, Tragedy, O.C., Sticky Fingaz, Big Pun, MC Eiht, Black Thought, etc.) for “Soul Survivor”, it’s nearly enough to give die hard Pete Rock fans an orgasm. “Soul Survivor” burst out the gates with the first single and video “Tru Master”, (which features the odd pairing of Inspectah Deck, Kurupt & Pete himself) and never lets up until it’s closing with the Heavy D & Beenie Man featured “Massive”. While there where a few “miscues” on “Soul Survivor” (namely the “R & B” cuts “Take Your Time” and the album’s title track), it’s hard not to love many of the emcee combinations on this album that blend like lyrical gumbo over Pete’s buttery production. One thing is for sure, no matter who spits on a Pete Rock track there will never be another emcee that meshes perfectly over “Petestrumentals” quite like partner in rhyme CL Smooth. The somewhat of a “reunion” track “Da Two” served as just a teaser for fans of the duo, who could only catch a glimpse of what might have been in store with this “Blind Alley” sampled track. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention yet another pairing of legendary emcees on the re-working of Kool G. Rap & Polo’s “Truly Yours”. Large Pro & Kool G Rap nearly top the original with the appropriately titled “Truly Yours 98″, displaying noticeable chemistry that may have evolved from the duo’s prior work on G. Rap & Polo’s classic”Wanted: Dead Or Alive”. So the final question is…..if you had to pick one (and only one) “reunion” album, from who would it be? I’m riding with Pete Rock & CL Smooth…..”When They Reminisce Over Your, My Gawd!”
Okay, Okay….whatever you do (for contradictory reasons) please do not read This Post. Ahhh, what in the living hell was I smokin’? While my penchant for O.C.’s “Jewelz” is publicly known, in no way should I have ever placed it that far ahead of O’s masterful debut “Word…Life”. Let me expound (I got that word from Rasul….now I use it daily, clients love that shit!), I did pick this album up on it’s release date back in 1994 when….not again, the now defunct Wild Pitch Records was droppin’ some shit. Basically, it was on the strength of Buckwild’s illness displayed on the Slick Rick sampled “Time’s Up”…but again, I wasn’t that blown away at first. Nowadays, I’ve grown to appreciate the lyrical slickness displayed by Omar Credle on this mind-blowin debut. I mean, even on the aforementioned “Time’s Up” O was just shittin’ on emcees. You gotta’ think that more reputable and established cats where sweatin’ bullets when they first heard this brash, confident “new-jack” from BK. Of course, there’s way more to O.C.’s debut than just the now classic first single that finds itself on every “throwback” mixtape that circulates on the net’ these days. “Born 2 Live” (both the original and the remix) somehow come off as somber yet uplifting, while both feature equally dope production by D.I.T.C.’s Buckwild and O.C.’s homeboys Organized Konfusion. Even though, the monotone hook to the album’s title track is less than enthusiastic, Buckwild’s(as usual) consistent track more than makes up for the repetitive hook that does tend to be quite annoying. Listening to “Word….Life” on countless occasions over the last few months, I keep forgetting that this is O.C.’s debut. With rhymes beyond his years, O.C. was largely overlooked in 94′ due in large part to some dude with “a chipped tooth smile” who may have not only crafted the album of the year…..but more like, the best Hip Hop album ever. Had “Illmatic” not dropped around the same timeframe as “Word…Life” who knows if O.C.’s debut would be mentioned amongst the likes of “Ready To Die” or Nas’ debut. Still, it “makes a brotha’ feel good” to see O.C. still killin’ iddish’ on tracks like “Marquee” featured on Marco Polo’s recent compilation “Port Authority”.