Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - The Main Ingredient (2xLP)
The album never gained the traction as the pairings full length debut, which followed the 1991 EP "All Souled Out" and yielded the biggest hit of their conjoined career, "They Reminisce Over You." But "The Main Ingredient" is nonetheless Pete and CL's most critically applauded work, a definitive symbol of the tempered consciousness and roughneck rhythm that defined the era. Pete Rock laid these backdrops in Rockland County, where he moved and built a studio after leaving Mount Vernon in 1993 (the cover shot for The Main Ingredient was taken in his Rockland lab). Though the scenery changed, his tools of choice didn't, and this is yet another testament to the Chocolate Boy Wonder's magical knack with the SP-1200 drum machine and sampler. With no Pro Tools and little input from outside of their immediate camp, Pete and CL recorded their final sixteen as a team over the course of a year between 1993 and 1994. "This definitely marks a very high place in my career," says Pete. "We were in a zone, and when you're in a zone, it's fun. It was a great time, and we put the album together with just that in mind. It was like a family thing, and music was a hobby, not a job. We kept it like we were in the basement, creating music just for the fun of it. Of course the business side reared its ugly head, and we eventually had to deal with that, but '94 was a great time. Music was more real back then.