#LongPlayLove: Celebrating 20 Years of Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s ‘The Main Ingredient’

Pete Rock and CL Smooth - The Main IngredientBy Justin Chadwick | @justin_chadwick

Happy 20th Anniversary to The Main Ingredient, the sophomore LP by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, originally released November 8, 1994.

The dynamic producer/lyricist duo’s 1992 debut LP Mecca and the Soul Brother – which rapidly and deservedly achieved classic album status within hip-hop circles – was two years old at the time, so the tandem had big shoes (albeit, their own) to fill. Not to mention a swelling, eager fan base to satisfy with this follow-up songset.

And while The Main Ingredient has no singles with the unequivocal sticking power of its predecessor’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” the songs form a cohesive, compelling whole nevertheless. In fact, the first time I listened to the album in full, I recall thinking that there wasn’t a throwaway track in the bunch – a rare feat for any album, let alone an album boasting a robust sixteen tracks.


Crate-digger extraordinaire and one of the most revered producers in hip-hop history, Pete Rock’s penchant for concocting sonic collages of both obscure and more recognizable jazz, soul and rock samples has never been on richer display than it is here, even more pronounced than on the more highly-regarded Mecca. And partner C.L. Smooth’s underrated lyrical and storytelling prowess offers the perfect complement to Rock’s sonics.

Regrettably, The Main Ingredient was the final album that Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth would record together. Twenty years on, their swan song offers a welcome reminder of a time when these two gentlemen were on top of their game, and a bittersweet lament for what could have been, had they continued their musical partnership in the years that followed.

My Favorite Song: “In the Flesh”

Bonus Videos:

“Take You There” (1994)

“I Got a Love” (1994)


Side A

1.  In the House
2.  Carmel City
3.  I Get Physical
4.  Sun Won’t Come OUt

Side B

5. I Got A Love
6. Escape
7. The Main Ingredient
8. Worldwide

Side C

9. All The Places
10.  Tell Me
11.  Take You There
12.  Searching

Side D

13.  Check It Out
14.  In The Flesh
15. It’s On  You
16.  Get On the Mic

BUY Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s The Main Ingredient


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