Time surely has wings. On this day in 1998, Pete Rock released his solo debut “Soul Survivor” on Loud Records. I remember as a young teen being curious about how a Pete Rock album would sound without his partner in rhyme, CL Smooth.
All doubts of the Soul Brother holding his own would quickly be put to rest with help from basically a who’s who in Hip Hop from the time.
While the entire album is a classic from beginning to end, I’d just like to mention some of my personal favorites.
Tru Master: Featuring Inspectah Deck & Kurupt
The album’s lead single. Pete Rock is known for matching some of the unlikeliest artists. This is one example.
In 1998, we were still heavy in the Wu Tang era, so Inspecktah Deck was a no brainer. But to pair him up with West Coast DPG MC, Kurupt was genius. Two supreme lyricists from opposite coasts equals a bi-coastal verbal track murder.
Mind Blowing: Featuring Vinia Mojica
Soul Brother Number One is Pete’s nickname for a reason. This track just oozes soul. The Bud Shank loop is hypnotic, and Vinia Mojica’s voice is just so soothing. Nobody else could’ve done that hook justice. She nailed it.
The beauty of soul music is that it’s ageless. I was a teenager when this track came out, but whether you’re 18 or 48, you can feel the soul in your chest. That beat still gives me chills to this day.
Tha Game: Featuring Raekwon, Prodigy, & Ghostface Killah
First of all, how ill was it to start the track off by sampling Magic Johnson off of an NBA telecast on NBC? This particular track was just that pure, raw, and uncut New York City Rap at its finest.
This beat particularly inspired my own production style of loop digging. I’m a firm believer of digging in the crates and this is why. You can get intricate with instruments and layers, but a dope loop is undeniable.
Take Your Time: Featuring Loose Ends
Pete goes for dolo on this one. Pete’s verses are soulfully complemented by the R&B duo Loose Ends, who do so well you that almost wish they had this track to themselves.
What also strikes me about this track is how funky the bassline is, which happens to be a signature of Pete Rock. Many a night I’ve found myself at night cruising the streets and playing this beat on repeat.
It’s still hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since this album was released. It’s safe to say this album has inspired a generation of DJ’s and Producers, myself included, to follow in the tradition of soul music.
If you’re new to the genius of Pete Rock, I highly suggest you take a listen to this entire album and listen to how a cohesive, well produced Hip Hop album should sound like.
From the sample choices, skits, and even the hidden beats in between tracks, just shows how difficult and how much thought it took to make a classic album like this one. To still be talking about this album 18 years later is what all of us should strive for when we create. Respect due.
Don’t forget to check out my personal tribute to Pete Rock.
And if instrumentals are your thing, check out this Pete Rock instrumental mix.