Full Clip: Pete Rock Runs Down His Entire Catalogue Ft. Public Enemy, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Kanye & More
“Growing up in Mount Vernon, New York, my love of music came from my dad just being a record collector and a DJ. The times he wasn’t home I used to sneak in the living room and play his records. I got in trouble one night because I stacked all of his vinyl all the way to the top [laughs]. I was playing mountains with his records and he came in and caught me, but it was good because he came in and showed me how to take care of a record. When C.L. Smooth and me made All Souled Out we were really anxious. C.L. had a very distinctive voice that no one else had. And that’s what first attracted me to him. When we got to work it was just easy to knock joints out because we were having so much fun making music and we were very young. While we were working on our first full-length album [Mecca & The Soul Brother], we decided to throw together a six-song EP out to let people hear what we were doing. We we’re creating a new sound; a new way of sampling, producing and rhyming. We put ‘The Creator’ out as well as ‘Go With The Flow,’ and the title track ‘Mecca &The Soul Brother.’
My production style came from the records I listened to when I was growing up. James Brown was the biggest influence, the first guy to influence my music style. I didn’t really start making beats until I was 13 or 14 years old. Later on, I was sampling jazz artists like Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, and Miles Davis. And on the soul side there was Barry White, Isaac Hayes, and of course Sly & The Family.
People like Russell Simmons, Marley Marl and Howie T had the ‘80s. But when the ‘90s came along, we wanted to come out with music that people were not sampling. When I started producing, I was working with the SP 12, which was the most popular drum machine at the time. Back then you had to have an external hard drive just to save more time on the drum machine. This was a new age. Nowadays, you have all types of production equipment and [studio software] out there. By the time the SP 1200 came out, that’s when I was really getting into it. Some of the music we were finding was crazy and we experimented a lot. That’s how the Pete Rock sound came about…the horns, the drums. I made a whole lot of beats on the SP [laughs].”