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Pete Rock

Source: press handout / Tru Soul Records

Pete Rock paid homage to the great Luther Vandross, saying that the singer “thanked him” for his craft years ago.

The legendary producer Pete Rock was part of a producers’ panel that was part of the event lineup on the inaugural Rock The Bells cruise that began Nov. 13. During the panel discussion, which was hosted by Torae, Pete Rock along with DJ Jazzy Jeff, Lil Jon and Mannie Fresh spoke about their careers and experiences as producers. As the subject of sampling came up, the “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” producer revealed that he was once praised by Luther Vandross for his work.

“Luther Vandross thanked me for sampling ‘Don’t You Know That’ for Heavy D,” Pete Rock shared, which made the crowd gasp. “He said that I did a wonderful job, and I was like, ‘Wow.'” The song he was referring to was “Don’t You Know That?” from Vandross’ 1981 hit album Never Too Much. The sample would become the backbone for Heavy D’s chart-topping hit “Got Me Waiting,” from his 1994 album Nuttin’ but Love. That album would go platinum. Torae then asked Pete Rock jokingly, “Big Luther or little Luther?” which brought on a wave of laughter from the audience.

Pete Rock would then speak about his admiration for Marley Marl and the way the Hip-Hop icon approached sampling. “Marley was like the first James Brown in Hip-Hop,” he began. “He told me that a lot of the things in the beats that he made were mistakes that sounded like they belonged in the records.”

He would also touch on how there were certain artists whom he and other producers patently avoided in terms of sampling. “Steely Dan, I don’t touch their stuff,” he said. “Gilbert O Sullivan – don’t even listen to his music.” O’Sullivan is best known as the artist who sued Biz Markie in 1991 for the rapper’s sampling of his song “Alone Again (Naturally).” The Irish singer would win the lawsuit, getting 100% of the royalties and making sampling a more arduous and costly effort.