Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Pete Rock & CL Smooth: The Best of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth (Good Life) [Elektra/Rhino, 2003]
I missed these guys--too smooth and insufficiently rock, I guess. That was deaf. In this distillation, Smooth's rapping rivals Rakim's, and Rock is an all-time DJ. Credited samples are few, but the music's pure rhythmic pleasure returns us to those thrilling days of yesteryear before property rights trumped art: as dense with borrowed, distressed, and performed elements as the Bomb Squad's sometimes, only flowing rather than explosive. Smooth recalls a wiser time as well: conscious not self-righteous, ghetto not thug. A-