Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s 2004 Reunion Is Something We All Can Still Appreciate (Audio)
Twenty years ago, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth formally called it quits. After 1994’s The Main Ingredient, the pair from Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, New York, respectively, split due to personal differences. Whereas Pete would churn out tracks, and build a strong solo career, C.L. Smooth would be slower and more reserved to move ahead with his own creative gifts—eventually releasing some independent solo works.
Although the group would be on hiatus status throughout the 1990s, the pair still would work together on occasion, including a reunion on the Top 40 Soul Survivor and Petestrumentals. However, it was the third of the three 1998-2005 collaborations that would seemingly capture the magic heard on the two Elekra Records LPs and one EP. For a pair not above stating their frustrations with one another in the press (in the 2000s), the love, the chemistry, and the message came alive in 2004’s “Appreciate.”
On a Top 200-charting album (Soul Survivor II), Pete and C.L. proved that their teamwork aged like a fine wine, overtop a fuzzed-out Jackson 5 sample. C.L.’s writing and buttery delivery thrived on a song that was about harmony, bonding, and maintaining status as a brand Hip-Hop could trust. Pete made a blanketing beat of feel-good soul, and a vibe that felt like fun-loving innocence to complement the vocal narrative.
This song has lasted 12 years as a brilliant hallmark of Pete and C.L.’s bond. The band has toured in the 2010s, reportedly using the passing of Guru during the fractured status of Gang Starr to set aside differences. In 2016, some of the recordings that both MC/producers have been making for a reported third full-length project hopefully will come to light.
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Happy holidays from our fam to yours!