Onto Day 2 of our 12 Days of Early 90’s Hip Hop and we look at another classic, this time from 1992.
Mecca and the Soul Brother – Pete Rock and C. L. Smooth (1992)
Produced by Pete Rock, C. L. Smooth and Large Professor
The debut album from Pete Rock and C. L. Smooth came at an important time for rap music. It’s hard to believe that this record was made over twenty years ago – partly because I feel young as fuck and I remember it being released – but also because it still feels as complete and exceptional now as it did then. Hip Hop producers and artists at this time were still (somewhat controversially) using samples like their own personal home orchestra, selecting tracks and beats that worked perfectly for their particular project. Nowadays, copyright issues make this significantly more difficult. Which is why you get that over-processed tinny, shit that passes itself off as music these days. I’m old, leave me be.
Annnyway. This ability to sample what you wanted gave this jazz rap joint a full and fluid sound, in common with other great albums of the period. Like Gang Starr, they had that MC/ DJ duo thing in which each other’s talents were fully complemented. The record samples James Brown, Biz Markie and Parliament (among many more). I almost didn’t include this record, as although I love it and it’s commonly perceived a classic, other records had more meaning to me. The reason I included it, is because I appreciate the artists, the production values of the record and – perhaps most crucially – the record includes the beautiful They Reminisce Over You (T. R. O. Y.) which for some is considered to be one of the greatest Hip Hop singles of all time, with the famous Tom Scott hook.
There is no cursing on this record. It’s nice that a Hip Hop record without expletives receives such critical acclaim, but mother FUCK I like to swear. Don’t let that put you off. One of the most attractive facets of this record is that it doesn’t seem like the duo are trying too hard, because whilst God may love a trier – the Hip Hop community like your shit to look effortless.