A core architect of early ‘90s classics by The Notorious B.I.G., A Tribe Called Quest and Nas, Pete Rock could easily rest on his laurels as one of the hip-hop’s greatest producers. Yet he’s still pushing to move the culture forward with an upcoming album, called Pete Rock Sessions.
The project, for which he’s plotting a 2014 release, will pair some of the new school’s brightest lyrical guns over Rock’s knocking boom-baps.
“I got some good key artists, young guys that actually respect me and knew my work,” says the 42-year-old beatsmith, who looks to drop a single by the end of the year. “I’m a big fan of Kendrick Lamar, Slaughterhouse, A$AP Rocky. I like these guys, so hopefully by next year you’ll hear something really dope from Pete Rock Sessions.”
One artist Rock has already cooked up with is Joey Bada$$, the Brooklyn-bred MC whose buzz has recently been mounting. Rock says he’s produced for Joey’s as-yet-untitled debut album, but still hopes the teen rapper will bless his collaborative project with some bars.
“Joey, oh my gosh! He’s the truth man, I was just so glad to have a chance to work with him,” Rock says. Def Jam A&R Sha Money XL linked the past and future hip-hop icons, who recorded one track together. “He just did it right there in front of me, really fast. Laid the vocals down—I was like ‘Damn, this kid is talented.’ He’s pure, raw hip hop talent. You guys ain’t heard nothing yet. Wait till you hear his album.”
He continues: I love the first shit he put out with a video [‘Survival Tactics’]. It gave me the feel of everybody from Nas to the ’90s rappers that were making a mark. He’s bringing that back to the forefront. I can’t wait for him to do something for me.”
Aside from his collaboration with Pete Rock, Joey Bada$$’s album will also feature production by DJ Premier and Q-Tip. It’s slated for release later this year. —John Kennedy