Pete Rock and CL Smooth
The Main Ingredient


4.0
excellent

Review

by Flashmobba USER (23 Reviews)
December 18th, 2016 | 32 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The fearsome duo avoid the "sophomore slump" by further embellishing and expanding upon the sound that made their debut record so prestigious.

With the nostalgic, funky samples of Pete Rock and the verbose rhymes of wordsmith Corey Penn (CL Smooth), The Main Ingredient is blessed with a stellar cohesiveness and an intrinsic East Coast sound. The pair of Pete Rock and CL Smooth saw their rise to fame with an excellent first LP that was filled to the brim with great cuts, including mega-hit "T.R.O.Y.". Hence, it seemed like a formidable task to try and top or even equal the scope of their debut. But with its slick production and placid vibes, The Main Ingredient proved to hold its own in the Golden Age hip-hop scene.

The album opens with In The House, a track that begins with a jaunty bumbling bass sample accompanied with a steady beat, before eventually transitioning into a sultry jam of jazzy melodies and a rhythmic beat. CL Smooth raps about romance and street bravado, but does it with a debonair tone that adds to the soothing vibe of the record. Pete Rock is at the top of his game, fusing exquisite samples and adding his Midas touch to each track. Songs like the titular track and Sun Won't Come Out have wistful, nostalgic tints, while tracks like All the Places feature more upbeat hooks and musical backdrops. With Pete Rock's brilliant production, each song sounds immediate, yet has a jazzy ambience complemented by a catchy beat. On album highlight, Escape, Pete steals the spotlight by being the lone rapper and spitting out some great lines - "Check the verse in the Bible says man shall never covet / But in your life you put nothing above it, you seem to love it / Invest some stocks to clock what's in my stable / Sweating me like Cain sweating Abel, you're unstable".

But if Pete Rock's the designer of the record, CL is its driving force. CL Smooth's complex vocal delivery and charming tone are propelled by his spectacular flow, where he raps about his status and place in the hip-hop scene without sounding forced. His soothing voice and tone magnify the impact of his narratives on street life, be it violence, crime or romanticism. Instead of sounding like a mafioso rapper, he takes the form of an esoteric teacher of sorts. On standout track, Take You There, he raps, "My whole mindstate gravitates a weapon, making people in the business get a misconception / It ain't hard to the core, it ain't sex on the beach / It's just another plateau that brothers have to reach," dropping espresso for the mind amidst quips and narrative galore.

Perhaps the only flaw of the album's is its staggering duration of over 75 minutes, with only three tracks being under the 4-minute mark. While some tracks progress seamlessly over the 5-minute mark, others saunter on with the same melodies and hooks, and after a while, this formula may grow stale. However, The Main Ingredient is still an excellent hip-hop record that features impressive raps and beautiful atmospheric jams. And yeah, no wonder it's one of the late J. Dilla's favorite records. Too bad it marked the end of one of the best MC/DJ duos of the early 90's, as it's a seriously enjoyable sophomore release for those who miss hip-hop's Golden Era.

Recommended Tracks:
Take You There
In the House
It's On You
Escape
In The Flesh



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user ratings (98)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Flashmobba
December 18th 2016


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Surprised this album didn't have a review, feedback and discussion encouraged!

ComeToDaddy
December 18th 2016


1793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Props for reviewing this, it was well overdue for one. Pos'd hard m/ shame CL's featured on so few tracks since these guys split because his delivery is smooooth af

Flashmobba
December 18th 2016


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yessss criminally underrated album so much so it didn't have one review. Take you there is such a banger

Flashmobba
December 19th 2016


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wish they didn't split after this, could've made some more awesome records for sure. Can't wait for the new one!

bloc
December 19th 2016


55050 Comments


Bless you for reviewing this and fuck everyone else for not giving this any attention lol

Amazing hip-hop album. One of my favourites for sure though I can never decide between this or Mecca.

Digging: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

Flashmobba
December 19th 2016


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hahaha thank God there's some fans of it -I think this beats mecca by a whisker, though TROY is still one of the greatest hip hop tracks I've ever heard 😍

Relinquished
December 19th 2016


39586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wow yea surprised this didn't have a review already

kygermo
December 20th 2016


1007 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

FINALLY! SOMEONE REVIEWED THIS! Thanks for taking the time to pen this, you can clearly see a few of us appreciate it.



As for my thoughts on the album: Well, I like it more than Mecca for sure. Has some of Pete's best production work. Album is also criminally underrated and overlooked, although frankly I can see why considering the year it was released (94) and ALL of the hip-hop classics that dropped that year (As well as classics from many other genres. 1994 was a beautiful year for music in general). Looking forward to hearing their new album when it drops later this year. Pete Rock is pretty much my hip-hop hero. A POS for you, friend.

ComeToDaddy
December 20th 2016


1793 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wait, did everyone but me know they were releasing a new album? What the fuck?? Haven't heard CL on anything since 2007, but I hope he's still got it since his Nujabes feature in that year is one of my favorites

Flashmobba
December 20th 2016


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@kyg aha cheers mate! 1994 is indeed my favorite year for music



Yeah hope they deliver as well as ATCQ did, anything with Pete Rock in it is great shit

bloc
December 20th 2016


55050 Comments


Holy fuck they're releasing a new album???

Relinquished
December 20th 2016


39586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

uhhhh I don't think so

bloc
December 20th 2016


55050 Comments


http://www.spin.com/featured/after-22-years-pete-rock-and-cl-smooth-are-finally-ready-to-make-new-music/

Recent article from November 2016

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 20th 2016


42542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah they are supposedly releasing something in 2017 and have been at DITC studio since feb this year

Digging: Cvd - Elsewhere Nowhere

Ryus
December 20th 2016


17397 Comments


oh shit it better be good or ill be pissed

Lord(e)Po)))ts
December 20th 2016


42542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

im not holding my breath as pretty much every classic 90s hip hop crew or duo has released a comeback album in the last few years and almost all of them have been either shit or just decent (for the record new tribe called quest was just decent and new de la souls two or 3 good songs couldnt save it from being mostly shit).



that being said i have more faith in these two than i do in most of the others. hopefully they will join Slum Village as the few who pulled off a good comeback.

Relinquished
December 20th 2016


39586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pete rock still has it so I'm not worried there

Flashmobba
April 26th 2018


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

why the fuck isnt this on spotify

one of the best hip hop albums ever

bloc
April 26th 2018


55050 Comments


This dang album couldn't even get 1 page of comments ugh

Flashmobba
April 26th 2018


1189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ye man pete rock's a king and some of his work here is his best yet



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