Pete Rock Reveals Why He Stopped Working With CL Smooth

Pete Rock and CL Smooth were a definitive rap group of the 1990s. They made some of the smoothest hip-hop of the era alongside Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest. As with any long term collab, however, tensions arose. Pete Rock and CL Smooth went their separate ways in 1995, and despite linking back up for reunions in the 2000s and 2010s, the two artists always seemed to split. There hasn’t been a whole lot said about the reasoning for these splits. That is, until Rock addressed the pattern during a recent episode of Drink Champs.

Pete Rock had nothing but positive things to say about his former partner. “He’s the best talent I ever came across in my whole life,” the producer explained. “I’ve never heard a guy rap like this, I’ve never heard a voice like this. We shared great times together. Don’t get it all f*cked up now, we’ve had our good times.” It wasn’t a matter of clashing personalities, but rather the natural tensions that rise from being around the same person for years on end. At least, that’s how Rock felt. “Just like life,” he noted. “People have ups and downs.”

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Pete Rock Still Wants To Be A Duo With CL Smooth

These ups and downs ultimately made it difficult for Pete Rock and CL Smooth to grow as a duo. The former noted that growth for them as individuals began to differ from their growth as a unit. “Sometimes, when we’re in the negative zone, we go like this [does split motion],” he stated. “What we would wish for each other is growth, but when one is growing and one isn’t, then it’s still uneven.” Rock then shocked the hosts and the listeners by claiming that he and CL Smooth should still be together today. He didn’t care to get into specifics as to why they weren’t, however.

“We should still be together,” the producer asserted. “But some things, you know, that I can’t tell the whole public. Certain things happen in a partnership that just can’t be… and people won’t understand. I don’t want to be the only one speaking on someone who’s not here, but I wish him the best in life.” This take is a far cry from 2018, when Rock and Smooth decided to scrap their planned third album. The duo teased a reunion on wax after Smooth appeared on Rock’s Soul Survivor series, but the excitement was short-lived. According to HipHopDX, the album was scrapped due to resurfacing tensions.

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Updated: June 4, 2024 — 3:02 am