Pete Rock

Lost and Found

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Used and abused by major labels during his long career, production paragon Pete Rock began receiving the respect he deserved once he formed a relationship with Rapster/BBE, a British label and one of the few imprints to treat hip-hop as an artistic medium, not a cash cow. Lost and Found is the supreme gesture of respect from Rapster, a two-disc package that comprises two separate albums recorded by Rock after the dissolution of his partnership with rapper C.L. Smooth. (Tellingly, both of these were rejected by his label soon after the sessions finished.) The first, Center of Attention, features a group called InI that Rock formed with his brother Grap Luva, Rob-O, and Marco Polo. The second, The Original Baby Pa, featured a rapper named Deda that Rock hoped to groom and so achieve the artistic and commercial success of his early-'90s records with Smooth. Rock's style of production, a jazzy blend of aqueous keys and reedy samples, is one of the most textured and mellowed-out -- and admired -- of any straight-ahead hip-hop producer. Unfortunately, these two records also illustrate Rock's looming weaknesses. The first is his abnormally bland beats, which simply cruise below the rhymes and effects, sounding as though they were programmed in a hot minute. (Any type of change, however slight, becomes a sudden relief; "How I'm Livin" on the Deda record is a gorgeous downtempo jam.) The second is his seeming inability to record with rappers equal to his talent; C.L. Smooth was very close but not quite there, and the lyricists found here do little more than spin their wheels over Rock's gorgeous productions. The scattered highlights, though, are capable of making hip-hop fans forget the soundalike drum programs; "Step Up" (assisted by Grap Luva) has that Pete Rock sound he made famous on "Straighten It Out," and "To Each His Own" has a lost rhyme from Q-Tip as well as the talents of Large Professor.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: InI
0:12
2
feat: InI
3:58
3
feat: InI
4:45
4
feat: InI
3:28
5
feat: InI
4:21
6
feat: InI
4:31
7
feat: InI
4:34
8
feat: InI
5:21
9
feat: InI
5:39
10
feat: InI
4:25
11
feat: InI
4:05
12
feat: InI
4:42
13
feat: InI
4:36
14
feat: InI
4:25
15
feat: InI
4:22
16
feat: InI
4:22

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Deda
4:18
2
feat: Deda
4:18
3
feat: Deda
4:51
4
feat: Deda
3:47
5
feat: Deda
4:36
6
feat: Deda
4:12
7
feat: Deda
4:22
8
feat: Deda
4:36
9
feat: Deda
4:02
10
feat: Deda
5:02
11
feat: Deda
4:21
12
feat: Deda
5:03
13
feat: Deda
4:17
blue highlight denotes track pick