Finding The GOAT Group: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth vs. Camp Lo. Who Is Better?
“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving band of MCs and DJs is neglected. The 2018 contest consists of seven rounds, NCAA basketball-tournament style, leading to a Top 32, then the Sweet 16 and so on, until one winner is determined. For each battle, two groups are pitted against one another with a ballot to decide which one advances to the next round. Though there will be an enormous amount of debate in comments, on social media, in barbershops and text messages, which we encourage, only votes cast in the official ballot (below) count.
This match-up is between two New York Hip-Hop crews, both from north of Manhattan. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth battle Camp Lo. Notably, Pete and Camp formed their own thing in the 2010s, as 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s. However, this battle is about one legendary duo limited to just three projects in nearly 30 years duking it out against another pair that has showered the masses with music for almost 25 years.
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
The Mount Vernon and New Rochelle duo (respectively) have earned a legendary place as soul controllers of Hip-Hop. Pete Rock held his finest productions for his group, and sometimes blessed the mic. Meanwhile, C.L. Smooth’s buttery vocal, conversational flow, and songwriting from the heart resonated perfectly right alongside the samples and drum programming. The duo’s 1992 full-length debut, Mecca And The Soul Brother, is one of Hip-Hop’s top-notch examples of MC/producer chemistry. After one more LP two years later, the group ceased album operations. However, some a la carte reunion tracks have lived up to the legacy. As reports linger that another album is coming, Pete and C.L. have long cemented an elite place in the Rap sphere.
Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede have made Hip-Hop that calls back to the era that the culture was born. Camp Lo’s style mixed Uptown sizzle and slang with some thought-provoking lyricism. The made a huge splash with their 1997 debut album Uptown Saturday Night, which yielded Top 50-charting single “Luchini AKA This Is It.” Just as the case on that album, Original Flavor’s Ski Beatz has sprinkled his homies with some of his best beats, ever—largely rooted in Funk and Jazz. Sonny and Geech’ have built from that foundation, releasing a multitude of projects to keep giving Heads something that sometimes feels retro, sometimes seems futuristic for their ears and minds. As recently as this month (see: Candy Land Xpress), The Lo’ stay in the kitchen, out to feed the masses.
So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.