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Yo, son, I been thinking. I been playing our songs for mad people, and I’m getting a chance to see how motherfuckers are respondin’ to our shit, y’know what I’m sayin’? And it’s like, well, they not really feelin’ it, son. They sayin’ it sounds unfinished. And I know my lyrics are hot. Been elevating—been studyin’ niggas like Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z and seeing how they do. I been trying to get hyped like Busta with all that energy—y’know, dynamic and shit. But I can only put so much of that in my rhymes. That’s gonna come out when we on tour anyway. First we gotta get a deal, you know?

So what I’m sayin’, son, is you gotta step up, too. You my man and all, but while I’m rhyming my ass off, all you’re doin’ is looping up ol’ drums and shit. And that keyboard I helped you pay for ain’t helpin’, neither. Your tracks sound like ol’ fake Swizz Beats nonsense, all empty and shit. Son, you need to find yourself. My girl works at the radio station at her school and she copped me this new Pete Rock shit. That nigga got his own flavor, son. Listen up.

You remember Pete Rock, right? From Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth? They had a couple albums out in the ’90s. Classic material, son. You can still hear DJs bangin’ “They Reminisce Over You” in the clubs—at least during the old-school set, you know? Anyway, they broke up—probably ’cause that nigga C.L. Smooth was always writin’ them bitch-ass love songs—and Pete Rock put out a solo joint with Method Man and Raekwon and mad guests rhymin’. It was a’ight. But I guess he got tired of niggas rhymin’ over his shit, ’cause he put out this new album, Petestrumentals, with just music. Yo, he shoulda called it “Pete’s Beats,” y’know what I’m sayin’?

Anyway, the shit is mad smooth. It don’t really bounce like Timbaland’s tracks or the Neptunes’ shit, but you still feel it. It’s emotional, but it’s not some crazy tear-da-club-up shit. When I listen to it, I picture myself after the party, laid up in the VIP lounge with a couple of shorties getting smoked out. It’s perfect for chillin’, you know? And it’s got a little old-school feel with all the drum samples and jazz bass lines—not old old school, mind you, but old school like ’92, ’93, you know? If I didn’t know who was playing, I could still tell, ’cause in almost every song Pete Rock ever produced there’d be a fat bass line and the drums would be all reverby and then out of nowhere the horns come in echoin’ and shit. He still does that—like on the first track, “A Little Soul”—but now it’s not just horn: He busts out pianos on this joint called “Something Funky.”

It’s not like he went diggin’ for a whole bunch of dope undiscovered samples, either. Shit, I’m not even a DJ and I recognize some of the stuff. There’s a couple of James Brown loops, and he recycles sounds he’s used on older albums, too. But it’s just how he does it that makes it bang. Check this out: On “Play Dis Only at Night,” Rock takes a piece of the same Average White Band song that A Tribe Called Quest used on “Check the Rhime,” but he plays it different in a totally different way. It’s like he put a part of that bass line into his keyboard and created a new one! He chops up some other bass on “Pete’s Jazz” and I can’t tell what the fuck that shit is, but it’s hot. And then, it’s never just bass ‘n’ drums; he fills up all the empty space with noises and chords and voices and all sorts of shit goin’ on in the background. It’s mad—what y’call it?—musical. Yo, son, he has a few songs on here with this rapping crew called the UN. They kinda boring, but he can make even them sound good.

You know what it is, son? In the rap game, the MC is the main instrument, y’know what I’m sayin’? Like when you and me do a joint, I’m like the guitar or the piano. I get all the attention, and all you have to do is lay down some loops and sit back and chill. That’s why them corny critic motherfuckers be sayin’ hiphop ain’t really music. It’s ’cause niggas like you are lazy. Yeah, I know you keep tellin’ me stop callin’ you nigga, but fuck it. You a lazy nigga! See, cats like Pete Rock ain’t got nobody rappin’ on they shit, so they have to step up they game. He’s gotta make sure the drums drop out or double up or the bass comes in at the right time to keep everyone’s attention. I’m not saying he’s perfect. Some of these joints really need lyrics, but he does his best to finish a song without them. That’s how you know he’s dope, son: He doesn’t even need a rapper.

Now, don’t start gettin’ no big ideas, son. You need me. I’m the motherfuckin’ bread and butter of this bitch. But I’m saying I need you, too. And I’m not saying you need to sound like Pete Rock, either, ’cause crunk niggas in the club ain’t gonna be feeling his laid-back, smooth shit. His joints only got one mood. But you need to come harder with your own individual shit and maybe we can make this dough, son.

One. CP