Listening to hip hop today and listening to it in the late 90s, It made me realize that we have taken that era for granted. 1998 will possibly go down as one of the richest years of raps on a financial level and on a quality level. You had bulls like DMX, Canibus, NORE, Pun, Camron and many others bringing lyricism and hardcore music in the forefront. You had Lauryn Hill changing the game with her solo album, The South was making noise thanks to Master P and Outkast. It was a magical year left with many memories. But whats sad is that Pete Rock’s solo debut was so overlooked due to the releases during that period.
The Soul Brother will always be one of the most respected beatmakers in the game. He’s put in work and done work with some of the games most legendary artists along with lacing them with his signature style remixes. So it was only right for the majority of those artists to show that same gratitude back and make a appearance on Pete’s solo debut. Even though Pete and Cl Smooth had an ugly breakup, It didn’t knock Pete’s hustle as he would put together possibly one of the best releases of 1998.
We all know that Pete Rock isn’t no supreme lyricist and thats not the main reason why Soul Survivor doesn’t stand as a classic. It’s a classic based of how he laid his trademark sound and made it versatile enough to where he wouldn’t sound too predictable. There are songs where he can come with some straight up head bangers on songs such as Method Man featured Half Man Half Amazing, Strange Fruit featuring Sticky Fingaz, Tragedy Khadafi, and Cappadonna, and Verbal Murder featuring Common, Noreaga(again) and Big Pun.
It doesn’t stop there. Pete reaches out to Ghostface Killah, Prodigy and Raekwon the Chef on the Game where they lyrically obliterate their guest spots. Ghostface Continued to prove that he was one of the best lyricists in the game with this performance along with Rae doing a great job of riding shotgun. The albums first single True Master featuring Kurupt and Inspectah Deck. It was featured a very creative video where they were doing Nasscar racing instead of the typical posted up in the club visuals. Kurupt also showed that he’s a true lyricist because many looked at him as a “Fuck a bitch” type rapper.
Soul Brother also knew how to balance the album out by giving it a laid back soulful vibe as well. The track featuring MC Eiht comes across as a surprise to anyone whom was expecting some shoot em up gang bang type of shit. The track is very laid and chill along with Eiht basically putting down the blue rag and having fun. Take Your Time is another personal favorite of mines and it could have been a great crossover single with its feel good feel. There be also times where Pete be having moments as a rapper. On Truly Yours 98 featuring two other legends Large Professor and Kool G Rap, He addresses about how Mixtape DJ’s are ruining the art:
This I dedicate to the mixtapes I hate, Exclusive shit hardly holds no weight.
Theres not a complaint about Pete Rock’s solo debut. Everything vibed perfectly. He had the right guests, He provided the right balance between hardcore and laid back. He even had some moments up there as a rapper. Fans of Hip Hop should definitely add this album to their collection. Especially when you want to hear most of your favorite MCs bring their A game into the mix.
Vic Da Ruler Rating: 10 outta 10