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Essential Listening: Pete Rock
Essential Listening: Pete Rock


XOYO welcome a member of the hip hop aristocracy on June 2nd, with the trailblazing Pete Rock taking to the turntables. An inspiration to many of the biggest producers of today, Pete’s approach to sampling has been as influential as any other in the development of hip hop production, with his hazy funk and gravelly drums providing the perfect backdrop to countless giants of the genre, working alongside Nas, Rakim and Wu Tang to name but a few. With decades of experience behind him, there aren’t many that can match Pete Rock as a producer or a selector, and XOYO have played a blinder in getting him through the door.

For those not in the know, here are five reasons why Pete Rock carries such legendary status.

Rakim - When I'm Flowing  
A jazz piano carved open by a harsh take-notice snare and washed with squealing siren samples, this track demonstrates a fair few of the factors which contribute to Pete Rock’s style. It’s a tricky task competing against Rakim, one of the best lyricists of all time, for the plaudits, but this shows that they were a fearsome team. 

Pete Rock & CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
That horn sample, taken from Tom Scott’s ‘Today’, sits in the background of the track but still manages to steal the limelight, providing the hook to supplement the duo’s swag flow.

Nas - The World Is Yours
Lending his vocal talents to the chorus and producing the record in full, Pete Rock played a big part in one of the best tracks of what is considered one of hip hop’s greatest ever albums. More piano, more scratching, more ridiculous production value. 

Heavy D & The Boys - Don't Curse
Pete earned himself multiple shout outs for his production on this one, with Heavy inviting him to get involved with a verse of his own in the latter half of the track. Ok, so maybe our boy Pete doesn’t quite match up to Heavy’s quick tongued talents on this one, but there’s no denying the track’s a bumper, and for that P takes the props.

C.L. Smooth & Pete Rock - For Pete's Sake
Looking back to the 60s and 70s for the colours to fill his musical palette, Pete created a brightly coloured mess of fat funky bass riffs, jazzy brass and lifted drums, compiled from the likes of Little Richard, Kool & The Gang, and Sly & The Family Stone. 


Catch the hip-hop Hercules that is Pete Rock appearing at XOYO June 2nd. Tickets on sale now.

Words by Andrew Kemp
Photos courtesy of XOYO