Artist: Pete Rock & The Technicians
Album: The Soul Brother Compilation
Rating: 8 / 10
Reviewer: P The Uptownkid
“We put this compilation together to pay homage to one of Hip-Hop’s all-time greats. We dug deep into the crates for this one. We went through every song Pete Rock produced, that we could possibly get our hands on. We listened and listened and listened. You are a true musician, a legendary jazz artist re-incarnated with an SP-1200 instead of a horn. Your shit is deep, kid… the real headz have always recognized. Keep Blazin’ ’em.” – The Technicians
Never has a producer / DJ / rapper had an effect on the world of rap music as the Chocolate Boy Wonder has. With over 14 years in the game and more knockouts than Iron Mike, the Soul Brother #1 continues to pack more punches to solidify his legendary status in this genre… worldwide. Starting out under the mentor-izm of Marley Marl and Mr. Magic on local New York radio in the gold-era of Rap, the Mt. Vernon, NY-native quickly went from spinning records on the “Marley Marl in Control” radio show to producing tracks for Heavy D & the Boyz (in the late 80’s) to spawning one of the most influential sounds and collaborations (Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth) within rap music to this date. During the early 90’s Pete honed in on his production skills and became one of the most prolific “creators” by becoming a master of remix and well as doing full productions of various artists within the industry, both on the Rap and on the R&B side. “Originality has faded in this game,” The Chocolate Boy Wonder states, “People stick with the same beats over and over again, and people are saying the same rhymes. Then you’ve got other MCs biting those tracks and producers who just steal the old beats.”
It’s quite evident, from seeing the cover of “The Main Ingredient” (Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – 1994) that P.R. has a passion from getting his fingers dusty from traveling world-wide to expand his library of vinyl which only clues you into the seriousness, love and process of hatching beats from the mentals to the SP-1200, that make him the of the greatest Rap producers of our time… and maybe for generations to come.
The Technicians (a.k.a. Technician #1 & Technician #2) hailing, respectively from Brooklyn & Queens, a DJ / producer duo, deliver one of the most comprehensive compilation of Pete Rock tracks, which can be categorized as remixes, B-sides, and white label / unauthorized tracks ever released. This 2 disc compilation delivers a thoughtful and well organized mesh of tracks that span from the late 80’s to the new millennium. The compilation starts out with an exclusive intro from beat-crafter, fellow legendary producer and “Future Flavas” co-host Marley Marl as he shouts out and gives props for P.R. over mixed up classics in the background. The first disc capitates you with the jazz-filled, melodic sounds with timeless gems; ‘Down With The King’, ‘Straighten It Out’, ‘Go With The Flow’, ‘The World Is Yours’, ‘Don’t Curse’, and ‘The Yearn’. On the remix pressure, classic tracks are – Public Enemy’s ‘Shut ‘Em Down’, ‘Can’t Stop The Prophet’ by Jeru the Damaja, ‘The Militia’, ‘Jump Around’. All these efforts are accented by the remaining tracks that are of original production (not remixed), from the Soul Brother with stand-out tracks such as the Rahzel (from the Roots) sleeper, ‘All I Know’, ‘If You Got Love’ by underground representers Non Phixion, ‘Mind Frame’ from the Bumpy-Knuckled MC, ‘Holdin’ It Down’ by Big L, various tracks from the Pete Rock’s solo venture “Soul Survivor” era and Common’s world-renowned Ice Cube diss, ‘The Bitch In Yoo’.
The second disc is equally distributed with more treats, ranging from the test-of-all-time, horn-filled, haunting classic of ‘They Reminisce Over You – T.R.O.Y.’ to other P.R & C.L. tracks like ‘Carmel City’, ‘Da Two’, ‘Lot’s Of Loving’, ‘The Basement’, ‘The Creator’ and the almost unheard, super-ill remix of ‘Family Affair’ by Mary J. Blige. Remaining tracks are of the likes of the mid-90’s banger ‘Let It All Hang Out’ by A.D.O.R., the producer-rapper / rapper-producer tangent of P.R. and Large Pro in ‘The Rap World’, fellow Mt. Vernon representer’s YG’z ‘Get Your Groove On’, Big Poppa’s ‘Juicy (remix)’, Raekwon’s homage to a B-Boy’s tool-of-trade ‘Sneakers’ and MC Shan’s QB torch-passing, Screwball instant classic, ‘You Love To Hear The Stories’. The second CD is rounded out with cuts from Rakim, INI, Black Star, Rob-O, De La, and Bumpy Knucks.
Understanding that to release a project of this magnitude requires some, true diggin’ in the crates and respect for the artist, The Technicians control this effort and meticulously defines, the genius of the various productions of Peter Phillips, and their skills as turntable technicians On rare occasions, the mixing of tracks seems to be unenthused and thrown together, but at the end of this adventure, those specifics fade from mind. It might be kind of hard finding this CD, but if found, it should definitely be picked up. A must for any Pete Rock or Rap music fan… one love, baby!