Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Schtick of Rock


LEGENDARY East Coast producer Pete Rock's sixth album, NY's Finest, sees the hip hop stalwart seemingly going through the motions.
Aside from his solo LPs, Pete Rock has previously done production or remixes for a star-studded list of people that reads like a who's who of hip hop in the past two decades - 50 Cent, Public Enemy, The Fresh Prince, Slick Rick, Common, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Rakim, Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, Micheal Jackson, Gang Starr, Naughty By Nature, the list goes on and on and on and on...
The problem is that with this impressive body of work Pete Rock's jazz-tinged laid-back production style has become so indelibly imprinted on the genre, his trademark sound now sounds bog standard.
The result is the tracks on NY's Finest, as good as the beats are, are only lifted from this catch 22 situation when the MCs are up to scratch.
Hence when outstanding rappers like Ghostface Killah and Redman take the mic, things look up, and when more run-of-the-mill guests and Rock himself take on the vocal duties, the album falls down again.
Unless he reinvents himself, Pete Rock may be forever caught between a rock and a hard place.

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