Peter “Pete Rock” Phillips is a rapper, producer, and DJ from the Bronx, best known for his use of samples in production and his fusing of jazz and funk into hip-hop beats during the “Golden Era” of rap in the early ‘90s.
In 1987, a then-teenaged Pete Rock got his start as an intern at New York City’s WBLS radio station on the Show, “In Control With Marley Marl.” His skills as a DJ earned him considerable recognition, prompting him to begin experimenting with production. His first major placement was in 1989 with Heavy D, who was Rock’s older cousin.
In 1991, Pete Rock teamed up with rapper CL Smooth to form the duo, Pete Rock & CL Smooth. The pair released the EP All Souled Out that year to critical acclaim. The following year, they released their debut studio album, Mecca and the Soul Brother, via Elektra Records.
In between Mecca and the Soul Brother and the 1994 release of their sophomore (and final) album The Main Ingredient, Rock continued working with other artists—producing for Nas, Run-DMC, The Notorious B.I.G., Doug E. Fresh, Redman, Naughty By Nature, Slick Rick, and many more.
After Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s disbandment following the release of The Main Ingredient, Rock went on to release three solo albums, as well as three instrumental albums. He has also released collaborative projects with Ed O.G., Smif-N-Wessun, and Smoke DZA, respectively.
Rock is often considered one of the greatest producers of all time, and a backbone of New York hip-hop.