Mount Vernon, New York duo Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth first made their debut with their 1991 EP, All Souled Out and followed with 1992’s Mecca and the Soul Brother LP.
DJ Pete Rock (Peter Phillips) was known for his use of obscure soul and jazz records frequently making use of horn-driven hooks. Lead vocalist CL Smooth (Corey Penn) delivered a more conscious style of rap which contrasted with the popular gangsta rap records of the time, and he mostly avoided profanity, similar in style and delivery to positive East Coast rappers like those associated with the Native Tongues Crew. Their signature hit was “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, a requiem for fallen friends—namely Troy “Trouble T-Roy” Dixon, a member of Heavy D & The Boyz, who died in 1990. They were first signed to Elektra Records, managed, and Executive Produced by Eddie F of Heavy D and The Boyz and Untouchables Entertainment who also then managed Pete Rock as a producer. Pete Rock was one of the original three “Untouchables” producers along with Eddie F himself and Nevelle Hodge.
In 1994 the duo followed up with The Main Ingredient, and they appeared as frequent guest artists collaborating on remixes, soundtracks, and other works. Public Enemy, EPMD, Heavy D and Johnny Gill were among the artists they collaborated with. One of the standout tracks on the album was the song “Take You There“, sampling “Keep Rising To The Top” by Keni Burke. It features vocalist Crystal Johnson on the chorus.
Watch “Take You There” above and pick up your copy of The Main Ingredient on Amazon Music.