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BBE presents Jay Dee and Pete Rock

6 yrs ago Peter Adarkwah and Ben Jolly graduated from their legendary,free-form turntable exhibitions in London (known to include a mixtureof brazilian grooves, hip-hop, funk, disco, techno and the like) toembark on a progressive mission. Their label, "Barely Breaking Even",has laced us with the rare jems of those genres and more since. Thelatest BBE releases, housed 'neath the "Beat Generation" umbrella, areno exception. Hold tight as I mention Marley Marl, Jazzy Jeff, DJSpinna, and my personal favorite, 88 keys in the same sentence. Nowimagine that same list to include King Britt, Pete Rock, and Jay Dee;then give them the freedom to do whatever they want. Sound sick? Well,the first two presents from this series are just that. Jay Dee's'Welcome to Detroit' and Pete Rock's 'Petestrumentals' offer, rather,pave us a new direction in hip-hop, while raising the bar in productionto a stellar level.
'Welcome to Detroit' is like a warm pot of gumbo, that includes abeautiful blend of raw emcee talent and dirty, minimal breakbeats,tweaked to perfection. Jay Dee successfully mixes R&B, Hip-Hop, andwhat can only be called Experimental, into a concoction that creates aninfectious vibe leaving you wanting another. The opening track is a 5/4masterpiece. Other highlights include 'The Clapper', a start-stop headnodder your rewind button had better be ready for, and 'Featuring PhatKat', which does for obvious reasons. The kid is nice. This isdefinitely one to play for your friends; but don't let this album outof your sight, for it might disappear. With 'Welcome to Detroit', BBEhas set a clear standard for quality product, and the second releasefrom the "Beat Generation", composed by the Chocolate Boy Wonder, PeteRock, is no exception.
Pete Rock can be credited for creating the smooth, jazzy, downtempofeel, that others like Jay Dee are perfecting today. 'Petestrumentals'is like an educational pamphlet, detailing the proper way to constructan emcee canvas. It refrains from becoming a cluttered, "over-the-top"production effort, and leaves room for vocal compliments. For instance,'The Boss' sultley shows his fine sample manipulation by initiallyusing a simple piano loop for the songs first few bars. It then beginsplaying backwards, all in timely fashion. 'Play Dis Only at Night'takes the very familiar bass line in 'Check the Rhime' and almost makesyou forget that someone else tried to use it previously.
'Petestrumentals' is a stark deviation from his prior solo release,"Soul Surviver", which included a guest artist on every track. Thisalbum only invites members from UN to grace three of its tracks, therest are perfectly designed to allow budding emcees a chance at rockinga groove from the legendary producer. This album is yet anotherseamless fusion of Reggae, Jazz, Pop, Soul, Rock, Folk and Other forPete Rock, making it an instant classic for your shelves. Those whopurchase this record on vinyl will have the added pleasure of listeningto it a 45rpms. My hopes are that this series will change the stagnantdirection in Hip-Hop production today, where it seems as if every trackis a remix of a previous Timbaland or Neptunes project. So far BBE is 2for 2 and batting 1000%. Stay tuned.