Pete Rock Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

The Lox f/ Snipe “It’s Like That” (2008)

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Pete Rock: “When you think back to 1992, lots of people were [sampling] Bob James. Constantly using ‘Nautilus,’ ‘Mardi Gras,’ ‘Tappan Zee,’ and using everything you could imagine from him. But the way you hear my beat, I had different drums to it. It was the Rap City theme song for the show on BET, and they would come on with that beat.

“Then when Arsenio Hall was still on the air, I played that beat for everybody to rap to, from Q-Tip to ODB to GZA to Phife to MC Lyte. When Arsenio was going off the air he did a big tribute with rappers, and I played on his show with the band for a week, and I was the band director or whatever. When the rappers came on, I was playing my beats straight out the SP-1200 with the band. And that was the beat that everyone was freestyling to.

“You know Yonkers and Mount Vernon, it’s like right here. I used to do parties in Yonkers. I used to go to little hole-in-the-wall spots like Brown Eyes and so forth, and be hanging out there. Plus I used to go to the DMV out there, and do School 12 parties, which is an elementary school [in Yonkers], and doing parties with my man Earl in Slobaum. So I’m very familiar with Y.O.

“Those cats were around, but they were younger than me. When you’re all in the same neighborhood and place, things just happen. Sheek Louch reached out to me and said they wanted to use that [specific beat]. And their manager too. Then they just took a memorable beat and made it D-Block. They’re one of my favorite groups right now.”

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