Pete Rock / Soul Survivor 2

I seem to forget when I listen to rap and hip hop that the song is from the heart. "Soul Survivor" from Pete Rock speaks from the ghost of hip hop. Every once in a while an artist will come back from the dead and live again through hip hop. It makes me think of this so-called local artist: I've listened to their music; I've read about them in alternative magazines; I'm not hating on them just because I think they're weak. I'm just not feeling what they feel when they speak. Pete Rock has not forgotten the roots of his music. His record breathes the breath of hip hop at its best. Like "Mecca and the Soul Brother 2004," with an all star lineup of CL Smooth, Talib Kweli, the RZA and the GZA, Dead Prez, Skillz, Jay-Dee, Phonte and Big Pooh (Little Brother), Kardinal Official, and Pharoahe Monch. While most of the guests shine like bright lights--including the '95 era joint "Head Rush" by RZA and GZA, and Skillz's "One MC, One DJ," where he rips the ass out of fake thugs, "ya'll dudes not thugs/ you eight deep in a coupe/ that ain't gansta/ that's a group hug"--lazy efforts from Postaboy with "Here We Go" and Black Ices' "Truth Is" sound boring and should've been cut from the album to ensure its near classic status. Pete's utilization of soul, jazz, and funk has resulted in some of the most melodic hip hop on the east coast. Damn it feels good to see people up on it.

words: mary chang

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