Reminisce Over Pete Rock & CL Smooth 24 Years After Mecca & The Soul Brother (Video)
Today (June 9), Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s full-length debut, Mecca & The Soul Brother turns 24 years old. The Elektra Records album would represent a zenith for the pair of MC/producers from above the Bronx (Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York respectively). The LP included one of Hip-Hop’s all-time greatest songs in “They Reminisce Over You,” honoring their fallen comrade, Trouble T-Troy. Beyond the single, the LP was a spectrum of great buttery deliveries from one of Rap’s most aurally pleasing voices, and dusty creations from the East Coast’s most exciting fresh producer.
At the time, Pete & C.L. appeared to be destined for an iconic run—like peers such as EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, or Cypress Hill. Especially on this 1992 album, the bond was strong, and the skies were limitless for a crew that complemented each other, and channeled the Soul of yesterday in lyrics and beats. A Top 50 release, the guys were ready for the mainstream, and joined acts like Gang Starr and The Pharcyde in bringing something different to hit-savvy Rap fans.
In ’92, Fab 5 Freddy and to Yo! MTV Raps film crew went to “money earnin'” Mount Vernon to “The Basement” to see the operation in effect. C.L. and his young junior were kickin’ it, while Pete Rock was at his post behind the turntables cutting up beats. No surprise to a residential studio, it was a homey, family vibe. The crew went to a nearby park (now known as Heavy D Park), and on the way home, C.L. kicks “Straighten It Out,” while Pete Rock beat-boxes. The impromptu session (while moving) is nothing short of incredible, showing a duo that was completely in the pocket, and proud of it. The last segment of this greatly-appreciated relic (thank you DeeJayEdyK) features the guys shooting pool in a barbershop, breaking down their creative formulas. Sadly, within three years the group would suffer its first of several breakups, denying the world a full discography. However, in this moment of time… it all shines brightly. In 1992, many Heads made a no-excuses habit of tuning into Fab 5 and Yo! This particular episode is absolutely worth remembering.
Things now appear to be a great place for C.L. and the Chocolate Boy Wonder. More than 20 years after their sophomore and final album (1994’s The Main Ingredient), the group kicks off their tour with a New York City show tonight in the Bronx—showing love to one another on social media.
As Pete and C.L. were together up in D.I.T.C. Studios earlier this year (also in the Bronx), perhaps this incredible chapter of music is anything but over. Here’s a toast to the legends, making Hip-Hop Heads proud.