Don’t for a second get it twisted, this album is a masterpiece of intricate sampling and layers the likes of which you’ll never see again in this day and age what with sample clearances and all. Pete Rock’s luscious use of multiple records per song is a masterclass for any person with a keen ear for beats and breaks, I just don’t quite get what C.L. Is rapping about on most of these songs, take album opener Return To Mecca for example;
Start Em in Harlem with the motto, the Apollo boogie to me, I’ll swallow hollow when ya follow. Stable like a turntable, lyrics I cradle, no fable, label or one, my tongue around your navel…
..Now I sink you to the link that’ll make you think, yous too large to shrink, I need a drink..
And he continues to continue on in much the same fashion over the rest of the album. Im not being picky here either, when C.L. puts it all together it sounds amazing over the top of what the Chocolate Boy Wonder has provided him but I’m just not getting it.
Even the magnificent They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) doesn’t really seem to be about what we’ve all thought it was about for all these years, the loss of Pete’s cousin and Heavy D backup dancer Trouble T-Roy. I’m of the opinion that when those horns come in you forget everything else and just fall into the feeling of the record.
I’m not dissing this album at all, I’m just trying to understand it, it’s incredible to the ear but when you start peeling away the lyrical layers it leaves me wondering and Grand Puba’s ghostwriting for Pete is obvious particularly on the freestyle that leads in to For Pete’s Sake. PR sounds almost like he’s doing a Grand Puba impersonation without the same vocal tone.
I’m probably looking to deep into it. All of the above aside, Mecca & The Soul Brother is an amazing listen and one well worth revisiting if you get a minute. Everything meshes together to create such a complete album that you get lost in its dense production… But, and it could be a big but for those that disagree, next time you’re listening to it listen to the lyrics and feel free to tell me I’m wrong.