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Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth Biography

Home > Music > P > Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth > Biography

Birth Place: Mount Vernon, New York
Years Active: 1991 - 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2009
Genres: East Coast Hip Hop, Jazz Rap

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth were a hip-hop duo from Mount Vernon, New York. They made their debut with their 1991 EP, ''All Souled Out'' and followed with 1992's ''Mecca and the Soul Brother'' LP.

As a producer, DJ Pete Rock (Peter Phillips) tended to prefer obscure soul and jazz sides for sample sources, frequently making use of horn-driven hooks. Lead vocalist CL Smooth (Corey Penn) tended to be philosophical in his raps, and he mostly avoided profanity. Their signature hit was “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, a dirge for fallen friends--namely Troy "Trouble T-Roy" Dixon, a member of Heavy D & The Boyz, who died in 1990.

1994's ''The Main Ingredient'' was the follow up, and they appeared on a string of guest appearances for remixes, soundtracks, and other works. Public Enemy, EPMD, Heavy D and Johnny Gill were among the artists they collaborated with, and they can also claim credit for producing (and performing on) Run-DMC’s 1993 comeback single 'Down with the King'. Despite all this, the duo failed to go gold on any of their own releases.

Separating in 1995 (shortly after a Sprite TV commercial), they eventually reunited on a handful of cuts from Pete Rock’s solo recordings: ''Soul Survivor'' (1998), ''PeteStrumentals'' (2001) and ''Soul Survivor II'' (2004). They also went on a brief reunion tour as a warm up for their then-anticipated new album, which ended with a show at London's famous Jazz Cafe. Despite these intermittent collaborations, the pair has exchanged dismissive comments toward each other in separate interviews, disavowing plans for a full-fledged reunion.

Their best-of compilation, ''Good Life'', was released on Elektra in 2003.