20 Watts

Releases of the Week, Week 4: Pete Rock and Stax Does the Beatles by 20watts
March 3, 2008, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , ,

Pete Rock – NY’s Finest
This album proves that there are still producers making something besides mediocrity.

Although many try to claim the title, Pete Rock is truly New York’s finest. He is a producer who creates amazing hip-hop in a time of mediocrity. He samples obscure jazz, R&B and funk, which makes his music more colorful and creates an overall flow. On NY’s Finest (Pete’s sixth studio album) he works with some of the hidden gems of emceeing. The lyrics on all the tracks are real and they transcend the usual “thug” style.

Now when you’re talking about Pete Rock there is no need to say that the production is top scale. He finds the perfect samples and creates the perfect beats. A native of Brooklyn, he represents New York with new beats and layered hip-hop that would make most hip-hop fiends go insane. His tracks are simple and although not every emcee is spitting to their full potential on this CD he manages to still create something that is still original and interesting. This album proves that there are still producers (well, one at least) making something besides mediocre, three minutes-to-make hip-hop beats.
Best Track: “That’s What I Am Talking About (with Rell)”

Various Artists – Stax Does the Beatles
Overall, this album lacks feeling.

Stax, the Memphis based label, may just be the best record label to ever have existed. Bringing amazing artists such as Otis Redding, Booker T. & The M.G.’s and Carla Thomas to the sound waves created the greatest soul and funk sound… ever. Now with this in mind, Stax Does the Beatles falls very short of my very high expectations. There is no doubt that a lot of talent and energy went into every one of these tracks but most of them just don’t cut it.

The Beatles have been covered countless times and to be honest, I really enjoy most of the covers. But the tracks on this album have no finesse or energy and even Otis Redding’s version of Day Tripper sounds boring (this from the same man who could barely talk during his shows because he was so out of breath from exerting himself with every note). Also, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, probably one of the best house bands, falls flat with their version of “Got to Get You Into My Life.” I do, however, really enjoy J. G. Williams cover of “My Sweet Lord”. It is sweet and melodic with a smooth funk undertone. Overall, this album lacks feeling. I can guarantee that this does not represent the Stax that I know and love.
Best Track: “My Sweet Lord”

– Zach

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