Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
While Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s musical partnership regrettably proved an ephemeral one, the dynamic Mount Vernon, NY duo’s collaborations from 1991 to 1994 yielded some of the most celebrated records in hip-hop history. Affectionately known as the Chocolate Boy Wonder and Caramel King, among their various other monikers, the pair debuted in 1991 with their 6-track EP All Souled Out, featuring their debut single “The Creator,” which was unearthed to glorious effect in Android’s TV ad campaign in 2015.
Comprised of crate-digger extraordinaire Pete Rock’s flawless, sample-heavy production and the sharp-witted C.L. Smooth’s commanding rhymes, their debut full-length LP, 1992’s Mecca And The Soul Brother, is universally regarded as the group’s paramount achievement.
Three singles were spawned from the album, including “Straighten It Out,” “Lots of Lovin,’” and the unforgettable classic “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” a tribute to their late friend Troy “Trouble T Roy” Dixon of Heavy D & The Boyz. Beyond the official single releases, the album as a unified whole is one of the most expertly crafted hip-hop LPs ever created, predicated upon the perfect fusion of smooth, headnod-inducing soundscapes and introspective, conscientious storytelling. An indispensable classic in every sense of the word.