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Pete Rock

NY's Finest | Nature Sounds
By DANIEL DENORCH  |  May 12, 2008
2.5 2.5 Stars
05/16/2008_PeteRock_insideAlthough it’s been nearly 20 years since Pete Rock clambered out of the Bronx — his genre-defining style of chopped soul and gritty sheen in tow — NY’s Finest finds the legendary producer consistent, if not innovative. On the 15 tracks of his fourth solo outing in 10 years, Rock peddles familiar fare, a more precise mix of the same bleached-out horns and terse hooks he’s honed for years. The pedigree extends to the vocalists as well: Finest boasts some of the city’s most talented MCs, from Raekwon (“The PJ’s”) to Papoose (“Comprehend”), whose clipped cadences sound right at home on Rock’s tightly packed beats. Despite the inimitable bunch he’s gathered, Rock can’t resist the urge to take the mic on almost half of the album’s tracks, often plodding through lines that sound freshly plucked from a rhyme dictionary. The good news is that he often manages to upstage himself — his stilted delivery on “Don’t Be Mad” dissolves in a jumble of cackling guitars and slim bass drops. The better of these tracks — “Bring Y’All Back,” with its shuddering groundswells; the relentless “914” — provide ample reason for a nostalgia trip, even if Finest risks becoming a charade of New York’s halcyon days, now long past.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Pete Rock , Pete Rock , Raekwon
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