There's a few things in this world that never change; I'm talking about obvious stuff like four seasons showing up each year, great Tarantino flicks and superb production work by the man known as Pete Rock. In 2006, "the poster boy for the MPC", recorded his fourth solo album, aptly titled "NY's Finest". After. what Pete would call the BBE/Rapster fiasco, this album was released on Nature Sounds and feaured a thrilling eclectic mix of funk, old school hip-hop, jazz, '90s boom bap and of course soul by the pound. As on the most recent preceeding projects he kept fucking with the MPC3000, which to me never was a bad thing although a lot of old school purists felt betrayed once Philip's left his trusted SP12 that he created his most timeless masterpieces with . To be fair thugh, on "NY's Finest" both machines were utilized, to a certain extent; an example is the hardcore street banger "914" which became one of the best The LOX songs in a long, long time if you ask me. The album as a whole was also highlighted by the fact that, unlike on "Soul Survivor II", it saw Rock returning to his roots as far as performing several memorable scratch hooks throughout, that really lifted many of the songs.
For some reason, "NY's Finest" catched quite a large amount of flack from critics and fans alike, when it first dropped. This is both suprising and mind boggling to me, considering it's an absolutely primo New York sounding LP with a huge amount of replay value, first-rate beats and cuts plus a lot of interesting guests. It could however have been improved as in my opinion there's no real definite version released - as is often the case with album's these days, this was available in a few different versions. You had the original 15 tracks version on CD and 2xLP; then there was the iTunes Deluxe version which featured the psychoticly dope Slum Village collabo (which was originally intended to appear on the actual album); a Best Buy special edition featuring an undeniable Roc Marciano exclusive, and finally a fully instrumental LP which included a couple of bonus tracks not available on the regular edition.
With all these different versions and their exclusive bonus tracks, I decided to put together a lil' companion EP to the retail album for your enjoynent. The idea first came about when I finally got my hands on the full/CDQ version of Slum Village's "Gangsta Boogie"; a song that I've previously had for years, however only in the mixtape version from the Japanese Hand Cut Records mixtape "Masterpiecee 01". Then I of course included the brilliant "It's So G", by Roc Marciano, which is further proof of the uncanny chemistry these two have displayed for more than a decade by now. Next up is a joint called "When I Need It" that appeared in instrumental form on the "NY's Finest" instro edition; the version here features Pete Rock vocals though as it later appeared as such on the "NBA Live X" soundtrack. The two final songs are a little different, as they have never appeared on any alternative editions of the LP, but was rather tracks recorded during the sessions that failed to make the final cut. These are the original verison of "I'm in Love", feeaturing Red Café and Talib Kweli and last but not least the E-Villz's collaboration "Rapper's Jail", which together with the Slum Villa joint look like they were supposed to play out between the Rell track and "The PJ's" (check the linear notes if you don't believe me). So next time, you throw on "NY's Finest", let these five cuts run through right after "Comprehend" winds down, or also try adding the perfect CDQ versions of "Gangsta Boogie" and "Rapper's Jail" in their original sequencing order just to see if you feel Pete made the right decision cutting those out.
01. "It's So G" (w. Roc Marciano)
02. "When I Need It" [Vocal Mix]
03. "I'm in Love" [OG Mix] (w. Red Café, Talib Kweli & MAF)
04. "Rapper's Jail" (Ft. Evillz)
05. "Gangsta Boogie" (w. Slum Village) [iTunes version]