Hailing from “Money Earnin’” Mount Vernon, New York, this DJ-MC duo first made noise in the rap world on the 1991 EP, All Souled Out. It sold moderately well enough to justify Elektra Records clearing the way for 1992’s Mecca & The Soul Brother LP.
As a producer, DJ Pete Rock (Peter Phillips) tended to prefer obscure soul and jazz sides for sample sources, frequently making use of horn-driven hooks. Lead vocalist C.L. Smooth (Corey Penn) tended to be philosophical in his raps, and he mostly avoided profanity. Their signature hit was “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, a dirge for fallen friends, specifically, Troy “Trouble T-Roy” Dixon, a dancer for fellow Mount Vernon, New York rapper and cousin of Pete Rock, Heavy D. (Dwight Myers).
1994’s The Main Ingredient was the follow up, and they appeared on a string of guest appearances for remixes, soundtracks, and other works. Public Enemy, EPMD, Heavy D and Johnny Gill were among the artists they collaborated with, and they can also claim credit for producing (and performing on) RUN-DMC’s 1993 comeback single ‘Down With The King’. Despite all this, the duo failed to go gold on any of their own releases.
Separating in 1995 (shortly after a well-received Sprite TV commercial), they eventually reunited on a handful of cuts from Pete Rock’s solo recordings: Soul Survivor (1998), PeteStrumentals (2001) and Soul Survivor II (2004). They also went on a brief reunion tour as a warm up for their then-anticipated new album, which ended with a show at London’s famous Jazz Cafe. Despite these intermittent collaborations, the pair has exchanged dismissive comments toward each other in separate interviews, disavowing plans for a full-fledged reunion.
Their compilation, The Best of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth: Good Life, was released on Elektra in 2003.
Edited by DStyles23 on 10 Jan 2012, 21:58
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