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Pete Rock interviewed on Questlove’s Pandora show (read an excerpt)

Pete Rock

Questlove has a show every Wednesday at 1 PM EST on Pandora, Questlove Supreme, where he plays a bunch of music and brings on exciting guests. Today’s episode has New York hip hop legend Pete Rock, who you know from his classic albums with CL Smooth, Nas’ “The World Is Yours,” and tons of other records. Earlier this month, he released a collab LP with Smoke DZA. Other guests are on the show too, including Phonte, who joins Questlove in interviewing Pete Rock for a portion of the show. We’ve got an exclusive excerpt of Pete, Questlove, and Phonte’s conversation:

[00:13:00]
Questlove:

That must have been pre Giuliani because ever since post Giuliani New York has been a very quiet city. The idea of a loud car. I’m one of those guys that’ll look at people shaking my head like, “Turn that music down.” How old were you when you … I know that you started record collecting at a young age. What got you into records?

[00:13:30]
Pete Rock:

My pops. I was young, say 3, 4 years old just intrigued by a little round piece of wax with good sound coming off of it. At that time that’s all I knew what it was and then I would go in the living room where my pops had all his records, all his 45’s and one time he came home from work and he seen me stacking his 45’s up in a pile like this. Then, he just sat there and told me what it was and taught me about it. He was never like, “Get out of my records.”

Questlove:
There was no whipping?

[00:14:00]
Pete Rock:

No whipping, but he scolded me and then he taught me.

Questlove:
As a youngster what was playing in your house back then?

[00:15:00]
Pete Rock:

James Brown all day. JBs. James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Barry White and all the usual guys.

Questlove:
The usual stuff.

Pete Rock:
Barry White, Isaac. Yeah, you know what I’m saying?

Questlove:
Besides the ABCs of breakbeats, what’s an unusual-

Pete Rock:
Breakbeat?

Questlove:
Like a joint that I would have to pay $200 for that you like. “I grew up on Disco Tech Soul.” What rare break did your dad just happened to have.

[00:15:30]
Pete Rock:

He had all of that stuff. He had all of the Kool and the Gang, he had all the James Brown, he had all the Isaac, he had all of the reggae joints that had breakbeats on them. You also have to remember that a lot of those records got inflated in price because of that. It’s a damn shame, man.

Questlove:
We’re going to get to that.

Pete Rock:
I just look at the prices like, wow. “Reminisce”, Tom Scott. I’ve seen that joint for like $1,000.

Questlove:
At what point does this become a profession for you?

Pete Rock:
Probably when I got this job and steady gigs.

Questlove:
I meant, does it start in the park?

Pete Rock:
It started at a young age.

Questlove:
Now, this is in Mount Vernon, right? You were born up there?

[00:18:00]
Pete Rock:

Yeah, I was buying 12″s, “Sucker MCs”, King Tim III, all that stuff. Fat Boys, all that stuff on Sutra Records.

Questlove:
Was there hip-hop folklore as far as the folklore we hear about parties in the Bronx? What is Mount Vernon’s version of that? Who are the legends that you grew up watching?

Pete Rock:
[00:18:30]
My cousin Floyd, Cheba M, and DJ Speed and Bomb 2 and Hev. Everybody had different names at the time. My name wasn’t Pete Rock. Hev’s name wasn’t Heavy D, CL’s name wasn’t CL Smooth. You know what I’m saying? Everybody took on different names, but when Hev started everything he was the first artist to start rapping and actually trying to make a record and get signed.

Questlove:
From Mount Vernon?

Pete Rock:
Yeah, and then we just followed him.

Questlove:
Okay.

Pete Rock:
It started for me early. Early age.

[00:28:00]
Pete Rock:

I think was running it a lot when I was on the radio, DJing. I was playing my own remixes of … whatever.

Phonte:
The remixes, this was before All Souled Out, was this before you and CL signed to Elektra?

Pete Rock:
It was right at the same time.

Phonte:
Okay.

Pete Rock:
I was doing a lot of … okay here’s a story. I did Down With The King and Jump Around remix in the same night. In the Hip Factory on 42nd street.

Phonte:
Did the tracks the same night?

Pete Rock:
No, mixing it in the studio?

Phonte:
Oh, word?

[00:28:30]
Pete Rock:

Finishing it because they were stressing for me to get stuff done. I would do … Actually it was Down With the King session and they booked another room for me to finish the remix to the House of Pain.[crosstalk 00:28:40]

Phonte:
Wow.

Pete Rock:
They wanted me to rap on it and I was like, “I don’t know if I want to rap on it,” I wasn’t big on my rap back then. They was like, “please, please.” And I was “all right, fuck it.” I did one with, and one without. I did it just in case they didn’t like my rap.

[00:29:00]
Phonte:

That was one of my favorite ones because you really took that record … it gave it another feel, it still had energy but it was just totally another feel. I loved that remix.

Pete Rock:
The original was really … is still really great til this day. But, the remix was something that just kind of put the cherry on top of that record. Period.

Listen to the whole show here, and watch the video for Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s classic “They Reminisce Over You” here:

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