Pete Rock is known for many things, The Remix definitely being one. He is arguably the first to really master it and set the bar of quality within the hip-hop World. I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to call something a remix, well it needs to be just that. A dozen other emcees dropping a verse over your original beat, that’s a… re-verse? Which can also be enjoyable, just don’t call it a remix. To truly qualify as one, there needs to be a reconstructed beat or some new production all-together that’s going to wow the listener, even more than the original. Or at least stand up to the first. No debates there, come bigger or go home. High standards you say? Well, blame it on the Chocolate Boy Wonder. It is he Pete Rock, to which others are often compared in production and often specifically the hip-hop remix. Since 6 is the common number here (PR’s born in the sixth month and his age this year equals 6!). Let’s make that the magic number, so here are a half-a-dozen favs:
Black Star feat. Black Thought – Respiration (remix)
Let’s kick it off with this beautiful creation from PR. One can literally close their eyes and see visuals of winter days in New York City, or at least I can. Truly the city breathing, people hustling and bustling, cold breath, smoke filling the air, hard faces and goose-down jackets. If that’s what Pete was aiming to accomplish, he surpassed it.
Jeru The Damaja – Can’t Stop The Prophet (remix)
Oh my, words just can’t express the kind of feeling that comes over me when this beat kicks in, topped by the lyrical master Jeru The Damaja? Woo, you have a neck breaking, Harlem shaking frenzy type jig that takes over your body. Don’t believe me? Hit play and see what happens.
Das Efx – Jussummen (remix)
“Another Pete Rock Remix”. On Jussummen, Pete infuses it with the energy it lacked on the original version. The cuts and scratches throughout that bring us out of the track, alone make this one a winner.
House of Pain – Jump Around (remix)
Simply magic – To take an anthem as big as this one became and put such a spin on it, that it rivals the original DJ Muggs produced track, is just ridiculous (RZA voice). For some it may even be the preferred choice, probably because of the crazy horn sample from Pot Belly by Lou Donaldson on the chorus (also sampled in the original). Plus Pete steps from behind the boards to spit a few playful bars on this version.
The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy (remix)
The story behind this one is apparently Diddy (Puff as he was known then) and Tone (from Trackmasters) kind of jacked the idea for the beat from something Pete had constructed. Pete never received credit for it, but to try to smooth things out, Puff invited him to do the remix. Glad they (sort of) worked it out, this version brings it back closer to the gritty side than it’s more smoothed out crossover-appealing predecessor, but both are dope.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth – I Got A Love (remix)
Ever heard of remixing yourself? Yes it can and has been done. I mean whom better than yourself to improve upon…yourself (ha-ha). PR mellows it out on this already sexy number and drops in to add a twist on the hook, lovely.
The +1/Honourable R&B mention:
Mary J. Blige feat. CL Smooth – Reminisce (remix)
Pete Rock blessed The Queen of Hip Hop Soul with this gem of a remix that incorporated pieces of his most known production “T.R.O.Y.”. What a great combination, a play off the track’s title with a well-placed verse from CL Smooth. I’m sure it’s gotten a few parties started over the years.