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It was humid in the Bronx in July 1994, 'The World Is Yours' by Nas (produced by Pete Rock) had just dropped. Hot 97 kept it on heavy rotation and Charlie from Best Deli & Grill had a tape. I was outside somewhere with a few friends when we hear loud bass and God-awful rattles, then mids and highs distorting "I sip the Dom P, watching Gandhi til I'm charged, then writing in my book of rhymes, all the words past the margin. To hold the mic I'm throbbin, mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit that murderers move with." It was Pete Rock driving past us in a convertible 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass. 22 years old but already a classic, this thing looked cleaner and newer than how it did right off the showroom floor. Saturn gold paint with white vinyl interior and triple gold Daytons. Smoooth. A peace sign and he was out.

Fast forward to last year, I caught up with Pete after a show and talked briefly in the parking lot before he had to run. He was turning the keys again to something classic. Not a new CLS400 or Lexus, but instead a 4-door 1978 Plymouth Fury. This one kept its original exterior in tact--moon hubcaps, whitewall tires, polished 300-lb chrome bumper, everything--but the drivetrain and suspension had been reworked with the latest machinery. It was a new spin on an old classic using the spoils of today's technology to piece together something timeless. The Fury is heavy with defined lines and a boisterous cough for exhaust. It's American confidence that doesn't care about the latest trends in design.

PeteStrumentals 2 is the latest rework project from one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time, Pete Rock. Techniques are the same but the materials and technology have changed. And obviously it being over a decade since PeteStrumentals, the vibe is different than what we were bobbing our heads to in 2001. PeteStrumentals 2 is celebratory and funky with much less reliance on the hi-hat/kick/snare rooted hip-hop combination we hear throughout the original.

The album is a smooth ride from start to finish though, with a few notable tracks. 'Heaven & Earth' is in the clouds with a grand piano sample. 'On & On' is one of the most telling songs on the album that showcases so much of Pete Rock's talent. You'll see orange colors and a fast moving shopping cart with a wobbly front wheel in a '70s Albertson's. Pigeons walk smoothly out of your way on the sidewalk with this one... rhythm. 'My My Baby' brings you back to old Wu-Tang production with its driving quarter-note bass line and sampled chorus hits. 'Rootz, Reggae, Kulcha"'would make King Tubby proud, with the lowest frequencies shuffling about in this heavy new take on Jamaican Dub. I'd honestly love to hear more of this from Pete.

PeteStrumentals 2 is exactly the album you'd expect it to be. Similar to the '78 Fury, we aren't chasing the latest here. The music samples have been around a while. They've been well-received, danced to and covered in Karaoke bars, and Pete Rock is at home under the hood, moving things around a bit, using the newest technology to give us a new spin on a timeless classic, and the end result is a clean ride like no other.

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