Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Pete Rock & CL Smooth

  • All Souled Out [Elektra, 1991] Neither
  • Mecca and the Soul Brother [Elektra, 1992] Neither
  • The Best of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth (Good Life) [Elektra/Rhino, 2003] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

All Souled Out [Elektra, 1991] Neither

Mecca and the Soul Brother [Elektra, 1992] Neither

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-