Pete Rock is getting the Unsung treatment, and TV One understood the assignment. The renowned DJ, rapper and producer’s come up gets detailed and he’s still very much active in the culture.
The “T.R.O.Y.” producer is the first to be honored on Unsung Presents: The Hitmakers, which manages to distill a healthy amount of Hip-Hop greatness that is Pete Rock’s career into one hour.
“It should be a part two, because there’s so much story to me, right?,” Pete Rock tells Hip-Hop Wired when asked about participating in the Unsung. “But I was all in. I want my story told. I want people to know how serious I was about what I did, especially the new young producers coming up in the game. So, this is like a good blueprint for them, too.”
Indeed the episode hits key points like Rock coming up in Mt. Vernon, getting put on by his cousin Heavy D, becoming renowned as part of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, establishing himself as the go to remixer, and eventually a solo act, and charting his continued success until this day. There are also factoids that Hip-Hop heads will eat up including going on tour with Heavy D while still a teen, splitting with CL Smooth and linking up with Steve Rifkind’s Loud Records with a co-sign from Raekwon The Chef. Commentary courtesy of people like young brother Grap Luva of InI, Damien “Deo” Blyden, Rifkind, DMC of Run-DMC also serve to relay Pete Rock’s importance to the culture.
While the Unsung talks about Rock producing Heavy D’s “Don’t Curse,” featuring Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip and Kool G. Rap, where he produced the track and kicked his own verse, we had to ask him about “The Creator,” a dancefloor delight from his debut All Souled Out EP.
“That was a Grand Puba thing,” says Rock, referring to the Brand Nubian MC who wrote his verses. “That was a fun thing. They was all over my house—Brand Nubian was in The Basement and playing around with music and having fun and Puba just came out of nowhere and was like, ‘Yo, I want you to rap.’ At first it took me some convincing, but then I ended up doing it and he wrote my first rap ever, like my first rap record solo.”
Rock adds, “It’s an energy joint, you know what I’m saying? I was trying to just adapt to the sound of what was going on before me. You had like Chubb Rock making those up-tempo hot joints.”
Pete Rock is still using his SP1200 that other producers can’t fathom how he creates his beats, still digs for records and is still putting out new music, on his own terms.
“I have a label now, Tru Soul. It’s just a small label, but it’s mine,” says Pete Rock (PeteStrumentals 4 drops March 31). “And I’m working on music. And I got my first two artists, and I’m working with AMXXR. And I’m also working with the female rapper, Star. Things are going the way they’re going, and this year we plan to put out some great music and work with the normal people in Hip-Hop [who] want to work with me, and that’s it.”
Sounds great. Watch Pete Rock Unsung on Sunday (March 27) night on TV One at 9 pm ET.