PETE ROCK: You know what it is? With the certain dudes that’s reached out, like the Pusha Ts, the Kendrick Lamars, the Ab-Souls, the Mac Millers, they all are fans of ’90s hip-hop. Like, big time. And they’re telling me about, “Oh, you remember this joint you did, yo?” “Oh, word,” you know. It makes me feel good to see that. We just need a lot more of that.
Unfortunately, you have prisms now of hip-hop. Like you can go to each — whatever kind you want to listen to. You got the ratchet hip-hop, and then you got real hip-hop and then you got commercial. Then you got the Southern, you got the South cats. And to me, what I’ve thought of the South, Outkast immediately comes to my head. Those are, to me, the realest cats I’ve heard come out of the South — and then Ludacris, on the spit tip. Now you’ve got so many areas in hip-hop that you can pick and choose. But overall, I would want real hip-hop to swallow all of that and just keep that s—- real.
KELLEY: What does that mean? What does that sound like? How can you tell if it’s real or not?
PETE ROCK: Originality, you know, doing something totally unheard and totally new-sounding. Not necessarily — like, finding a sample that no one’s ever heard in their life and you putting the world onto it by making a beat out of it. It’s the best feeling a person could ever have.
Making a successful hip-hop song out of something like that is how we built a legacy. And to me, we need more of the music to be original. Real could be another word for “original,” but that’s what we mean.
I see that the new generation — some of the new generation — idolizes what we did in the ’90s and tries to bring it back. If you listen, in certain records you hear. But the majority of the radio is basically R&B that don’t sound the same and hip-hop that doesn’t sound the same.
And when we did it, it was real; it was actually original style of hip-hop making — like records. It was a style we owned. But it was also real music. And today, it’s just a little different from what we did — a lot, a lot, a lot different.
Lyrical content is not as good as what we had to say. And that’s important cause now, being older, having kids and stuff — I’m a father and everything like that, and my kid gets out of school, I want to pop on the radio and it’s safe, you know what I mean? But it ain’t. Unless you have satellite radio and you can make your own choice, you know what I’m saying.
But otherwise than that, though, to sum up, I think there could be. The world turns, music changes. It keeps changing, so hopefully it can change back to what’s real, you know, not to what we did in the ’90s. We’re not gonna rep