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Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun, Monumental

Loaded with nostalgia and eschewing flamboyance, two of hip-hop’s golden-era prodigies—Boot Camp Clik faction Smif-N-Wessun and production virtuoso Pete Rock—have united to deliver the decades-in-the-making Monumental.

With Pete relegated to the beatsmith role—showing up to rap on only a pair of tracks—the Cocoa Brovaz invite a host of emcees to the party. Freeway appears on the deceptively titled “Roses,” Bun B spits over the dark piano stabs of “Feel Me,” and fellow BCC member Sean Price makes humorous quips (“Slave master/I sell white girl”) on the violin-driven “That’s Hard,” also featuring D-Block general Styles P. The zenith of Monumental, however, are Pete Rock’s backdrops as he is creatively all over the place, sprinkling vintage boom bap with a mishmash of mariachi, rock and even dancehall throughout the album. From the roller rink thump of the Hurricane G-guested “Do It” to the ragamuffin stylings of “This One,” a reinvigorated Pete is rather unique.

The problem with Monumental, however, is its overabundance of guest appearances and its somewhat dated sound. Tek and Steele invite way too many people to the party and have only three tracks to themselves. While longtime fans will have their appetites whetted, what would have been hailed as an instant classic if it had come out during the two factions’ respective primes in the mid-nineties, Monumental is now a novelty project that’s a reminder of a past glory. —Meka Udoh

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  • Rap Fan

    Let me start off by saying that this album is fantastic. It is a must buy for purist hip-hop fans, and will be cherished for times to come.

    I must make a comment on the review however. The reviewer mentions a “somewhat dated sound” as being a downfall to this piece. Hey, guys, you know what? I’ve been thinking lately, and, I really like Illmatic and all, but don’t you reckon that it sounds a bit dated? I mean, wouldn’t it be better if Nas had hooked up with Britney or something and made a remix, like, I dunno, Britmatic? Or just didn’t release the album at all. Yeah, it was good for a few years, but now I hate listening to it.

    Is that what you’re saying? That this album sounds old-school, which many hip-hop purists will love, and so therefore it isn’t as good as it could be? This could be the last ever review I read from XXFail in my lifetime.

    • Rap Fan

      Also, I thought I was finished, but I’m not. The reviewer states that longtime fans will be happy with this, however it won’t be a classic. Oh my God. Are they seriously saying that it won’t be a classic because it is not appealing to a mainstream audience? Are they serious? Does Pete Rock have to hook up with Lil Wayne to make another classic now? Jesus. Should Smif-N-Wessun just hire Bruno Mars for their hooks in the future? This is a joke. Illmatic didn’t sell many copies when it was released. It is a classic. Reasonable Doubt only sold 420,000 in its entire first year. Those would have been solid first week figures when it was released.

      Oh yeah, my rating is as follows:

      Lyrics: XL
      Beats: XXL
      Originality: XL
      Overall: XL

      • jimmmyjam

        yeah but there is a difference. illmatic came out in 1994, this came out this year. if uve got an album tht came out in 2011 tht sounds like it came out years ago it dated, and not to mention tht the shit is just a rehash of everything else. u purists are fucking morons. think anything tht sounds like its from 1994 is a classic. ur pathetic.

        • Rap Fan

          I love lots of new music, Odd Future, Lupe Fiasco, and many more are fantastic in my opinion, however the fact that they say that it sounds ‘dated’ is moronic. Some of the best hip-hop came out in the olden days, and the fact that time has passed does not detract from their quality. Just because it comes out today doesn’t mean that we should dismiss it as ‘old-sounding.’ Imagine if Illmatic came out today. Would we dismiss it as ‘dated’? I’m not suggesting that this album is another Illmatic, but it is definitely better than most stuff coming out today, and an L rating is silly.

          By the way, your blatant insults suggest to me that you aren’t above the age of 15, and the tone with which you present your argument is one of someone who has not really thought about what you’re saying. Calm down buddy.

          • jimmmyjam

            im not 15 and i thought exactly about what i said and it makes sense. purists are fuckin annoying idiots and they are the reason hip hop is “dying”.


    SH*t IS WACK you hip hop purists need to just go away and listen to that sh*t in your basement by yourself while you jerk off to nas and kool moe dee F*ckin FAGGOTS


    • Rap Fan

      Mate, although I like modern music such as Odd Future, I think that people need to recognise greats like Pete Rock more, as without people like him, OF wouldn’t exist.

    • njnas

      alien4life while i like your name cuz atliens is a great album your a fuckin moron your probobly bumpin some whack ass waka flaka type shit do real hip hop fans a favor and kill yourself. talkin shit about nas and legends like smif n wessun. im assuming your from the south and you are the reason that niggas from nyc cant stand you mutha fuckas

    • BLUJET

      I’m from the south and I like all types of hip hop. This album was great. I was already a fan of Pete Rock and Smif n Wessun even the rest of the Boot Camp Clik. No hate. All love.

    • swype-matic

      Man ATLIEN, you must be like 15, and refer to yourself as a “KenBarb”

      • $yk

        don’t even pay attention to that ATLien person…who took an old school album name, and worships Odd Future, some new cats who are emulating old school rap guys. See the irony in the statement?

        “The problem with Monumental, however, is its overabundance of guest appearances and its somewhat dated sound.”

        ^ whaddup Meka? What makes a sound dated? Because if what you say is correct, drums, snares, horns are ALL DATED.

    • omegared13

      your new hiphop sound retarted everybody for the past 7 to 8 years have been kicking the same thing beats your rhymes are weak sound like you guys have a 3rd grade educations and most of them are gay are you gay do you like tight jeansm and mohawks what is hiphop about that you love artist that kiss other men in the mouth or taking pics with other men with no shirt holding his shoulder the new school you guys are the weirdest generation i have ever seen ya’ll have lost your minds next you will be carrying a pink purse and tell everyone it’s gangsta. lololol

  • Dust

    This lp is what real hip hop lps should sound like , good variation of beats all staying true to the digging in the crates ethos hip hop was built on. These beats only sound dated to noobs and rap heads not real hip hop heads – Petes beats seem to get better and better with time XXXL

  • Tie

    I totally with Rap Fan. This album is definitely a XL

  • Eli

    anyone catch that “rather unique” reference? your a clever cat meka

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Ch*l*z

    Old school flava still rocks!!

  • Sha.Severe

    XXL is smoking crack on this review.. This is the real shit we need in hip hop right now.. I guess there wasnt enuff Gucci on the album or something.. How can this album score lower than Gucci or Wacka THOSE DUDES ARE GARBAGE!!!!

  • Sha.Severe


  • http://xxlmag.com yunggee

    dis album is even close to a XXL..

  • Cza Shaekwon

    Can’t we all just get along. The album is crazy but definitely an aqcuired taste for the uninitiated. i personally dont enjoy some really old stuff coz thats just not my era of familiarity, but havin come up with alot of Pete rock and Tek-n-stele (da shinin’s that joint) so bein a fan i def give it at least an XL

  • pfff…

    XXL is a fake sell-out crap mag and it’s not news for anyone who have a brain. Dickriding stuff that sells for the moment , read: gucci mane, wacka flocka, Rick Ross, fag soulja boy etc etc…Always been and always will. Those artists are what Vanilla ice, Mc hammer was back in the days.

    Some dumb clown said purists were killing hiphop.. No little kid, artists dropping albums with only 2 good songs on them is killing hiphop. Big labels who are affraid to let artists be creative and pathetic, talentless muppets like the ones I mentioned above is killing it.

    Dated sound? Really? How about this: hiphop was better back then and before some dumbass comment on it, yes I actually like omfgwtf-gang, some songs. The ones without rape in them.