Filed under: Albums,Promos & Exclusives,Reviews,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
In some ways, the latest Pete Rock project is more of that same old timeless PR sound, but the thing that sets it apart this time around is the varied line-up of guests on board to lend vocal assists. While both of the Soul Survivor LP’s (and even Petestrumentals to a lesser extent) gave us some of the finest MC’s of the time, on NY’s Finest we find a selection of forgotten and slept-on rappers joining the current favorites and still-active veterans. Pete is also a little more aggressive in the booth, as he addresses the doubters and snakes that have tried to test him in his trademark style that’s occasionally awkward but more hit than miss.
Surprise cameos from dudes like Doo-Wop and Royal Flush are a welcome addition to the obligatory Little Brother and Papoose songs. You’ve already heard the Raekwon and D-Block tracks, and both still bang as hard as they did six months ago, as familiar breaks are skillfully chopped into winning new beats. Even hooplehead Jim Jones and his weed holder Max B are bearable over a Soul Brother track, although there same can’t be said of my least-favorite 90’s milk carton crew – Lords of the Underground. PR even let’s Green Lantern throw him a track for his traditional JB-fueled solo that’s become something of a tradition.
Musically, NY’s Finest is an extension of Pete’s modern sound, focusing more on skillful chops than the multi-layered masterpieces of old. There’s a warmth and a swing to virtually every track that’s tough to pin down and even harder to duplicate – while the last generation of beat makers were able to produce decent imitations of the DJ Premier formula, no one has really been able to nail-down the science of a Pete Rock instrumental, which is often more about “feel” than any particular technique. With the exception of the ill-advised ragga joint (with Chip-Fu from the Fu-Schnickens) and the syrupy Rell-feature, this is a satisfying listen from front to back.
Pete Rock – “We Roll” (Instrumental)
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