So far in my brief stay here on planet earth I have experienced a few notable pleasures in life such as good food and just as good music. For better or worse, I just so happen to be a bit of a thinker and sometimes ponder what exactly electrifies my taste buds enough to render a food delectable or why some sonic vibrations make love to my ear drums more efficiently than others. While nothing is quite conclusive at all these days, I flirt with one particular fundamental that appeases my logic at this point in time and that is "chemistry."
Sort of like the "Chemistry" you took as a general requirement in high school that you never paid attention to because you were too busy flirting with some hot girl sitting right next to you in the classroom. For the purpose of this review I'm going to be more specific in the direction I'm taking "Chemistry", which I mean in it in the way of connection. When something has chemistry we think of it as meshing well collectively. Just like that Eel Sushi roll that may have ingredients which might not ideally taste well by themselves, but together they have chemistry, and (in my opinion) taste delicious or in this case, when a producer and emcee have a seemingly telepathic bond/undeniable chemistry creating porn for the ears. What's the recipe you may ask? Well, Pete Rock & CL's "Main Ingredient" (Pun Intended) for quality product is chemistry. All setting aside the supreme individual talent each of them possess by themselves. This album is the phenomena that some of us experience in life of something just "clicking." That rare occurrence of beautiful harmony.
This, in theory, is a review, but not really because I feel you should have already heard this album as well as Pete Rock & CL Smooth's previous work. If not, you are losing at life and have the opportunity of redeeming yourself since this album is being reissued. These two bring back the lost art of one producer providing the sonic backdrop for one whole album, which generally creates the most cohesive bodies of work. What these musicians have done for hip hop is create a foundation to study and build upon both with the rhymes and beats.
"The Main Ingredient" has that grown-feel-good essence to it. The rhymes and flows are fluid along with rhyme patterns that blend bars together, narratives that hold your attention and can pleasure the average listener, but also contains jewels of wisdom hidden that can engage the deeper listener. It's hard to criticize this project especially if you take the music for what it is, but as people we can find criticism in anything. For me this is an example of a hip hop album made to almost the degree of perfection based on our human criteria. Transitioning is smooth between each song creating the illusion that "The Main Ingredient" is one long song because it's that cohesive. So good it's hypnotizing.
-Editor's Note: Scott wrote his review before the actually reissue CD made it's way here, so to give some details on what you have in store with this sweet reissue. It's packaged in a nice hardcore box. It's a 2-Disc Set. Disc 1 has the album in it's original context, while Disc 2 has the 12" single versions (remixes, instrumentals, and acapellas)!! There are also extensive liner notes with a foreword about the making of the album, photos and scans of all the single and album artwork, shout outs, and a breakdown of each song by Pete Rock!! Another Traffic Entertainment Sure Shot!!