Popular music has given its consumers countless moments to live in and reflect upon. Generation X has had more than its fair share of these times. We’ve had to listen to our parents speak of the time they were at Madison Square Garden when Hector Lavoe was the reason the joint was packed. Another constant was the chatter over what it’s like to have an audience with Clapton and Hendrix. On August 27th, 2013 the generation that was once deemed to be nothing more than a mere bunch of slackers got just that in hip hop form with regard to the latter.
For two hours icons DJ Premier and Pete Rock went toe to toe with each other out of mutual respect. They traded lick for lick, scratch for scratch and classic beat after classic beat like two bluesmen knee deep in the Mississippi delta. The legendary producers pulled out all the stops while performing for a capacity crowd at the East River Amphitheatre. The two didn’t hesitate and displayed every trick from their respective bags. The show wasn’t a battle as it was advertised.
It was more than that.
It was an educational and charitable service which provided trip down memory lane from not only a musical stand point but from an overall pop cultural one too. And like The Beatles, who were influenced by the blues, the two most celebrated deejays in the forty years of hip hop’s existence got by with a little help from some friends. In addition to the classic soul records that were spun on that night Premo and Pete gave a gift to the audience who did not get a full show last year due to a power failure. The night featured awesome performances by Tony Touch, The Beatnuts, MOP, Bumpy Knuckles, Sadat X and Camp Lo just to name a few. The evening’s festivities received a special blessing with an appearance by DJ Kool Herc.
Prior to the show Rock took some time to do press to discuss and reflect upon what else – all things hip hop. And yes a certain white elephant in the game was acknowledged. “I love it! I love it! I think he made a great chess move and he turned the light switch back on in hip hop”, declared the man also known as “Chocolate Boy Wonder” with regard to Kendrick Lamar’s release of “Control” – a track which has sparked some controversy. “Now hopefully we can keep it going. I have no problem with Kendrick Lamar. I think a few things are missing (from hip hop). But I think Kendrick Lamar helped put one of those things back in place. Hopefully we can get the music to sound more real.”
On top of his respect for the Compton, California bred emcee Pete Rock openly expressed a desire to collaborate with him. “We’ve already been bickering and talking on the phone, texting you know. So hopefully he’ll pick something”, Rock shared. He’s also expressed an appreciation for the likes of Ab-Soul, Mac Miller, Uncle Murda, Mac Wilds, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Joey Bada$$ and Macklemore. Rock divulged his interest in working with these rappers and didn’t waver in revealing that some of these men have contacted him with regard to possible collaborative efforts. But when speaking of future work one question still remains.
Will Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth release another album?
“We’re performing and doing shows. I’ll believe it when I see it when we’re in the studio working with CL. That’s when I’ll know”, stated Rock in reference to this much asked question. “We’re in a good place though. We have a great relationship right now.” As for his solo and production efforts Pete Rock is currently re-mastering “The Mecca and the Soul Brother”, working on “Soul Survivor 3” and released part two of the “80 Blocks from Tiffany’s” series of mixtapes along with Camp Lo. “I wanted to do something free for my community in hip hop”, explained Pete when speaking of the joint effort inspired by the seminal 1979 documentary which depicted the decay of the South Bronx during the decade. The mixtape can be found on datpiff.com or on Pete’s own site where for $25.00 fans can get t-shirt promoting it.
As for continued inspiration and reflection Pete still possesses an open mind when it comes to music but family is what holds him together. This is obvious when you see him backstage with his crew and peers. The classic “T.R.O.Y.” will always be near and dear to his heart but over the past year it has taken an even more significant meaning. “Now I think about Heav a lot since he passed away. And we made that song for Troy. Now that he’s gone it’s just like double the whammy for me. That’s family. So I’m still in disbelief. I wake up in cold sweat sometimes realizing he’s not here. If he was here we’d be normally who we are”, Rock said humbly.