Smooth as Silk - 6 Stars
, January 2, 2009
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"Mecca and the Soul Brother" is one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever made. Screw hip-hop; one of the best, period. One could hardly believe that their sprawling 80-minute debut could hold as much promise and cohesiveness as these other reviewers state. Not a single cut or interlude seems wasted in it's entirety. If there were any album worthy of it's time, it's "Mecca and the Soul Brother". I've never heard such a deep and fluid emcee/producer connection as that brought to us by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth. C.L. Smooth reinvented what a lyricist is capable of. He brings new meanings to the terms reflective, introspective and conscious. It's amazing how well this record has aged. C.L. has qualities and stories that will sound as fresh as the day they were recorded 30 years from now. Pete Rock's production is beautifully lush and laid back. His production simply compliments the lyrics in an unmatched fashion.
Their style is similar to that of Digable Planets, A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr. The soundscapes are filled with jazz inflicted melodies, mellow samples and breaks, and LOTS of soul. That's really what makes this album stand out from the bunch. C.L. delivers so much heart, soul and sincerity, that it makes the whole record sound profoundly personal. Pete Rock blends these elements together flawlessly. A few of my favorites would be "Lots of Lovin", "Act Like You Know", and "They Reminisce over You (T.R.O.Y.)" featuring Heavy D. But you could almost ignore these "standouts" and pick your own. It's truly up to the listener, because the album is dynamite from front to back. If you're a hip-hop lover, missing this CD in your collection is like a jazz fan missing Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue" in their collection. Don't sleep any longer.