Pete Rock once labelled new hip-hop producers as “followers”
(Credit: Wikimedia)

Old School Archives

Pete Rock once labelled new hip-hop producers as "followers"

East Coast legend Pete Rock is one of hip-hop’s most renowned and respected producers. The New York native (real name Pete Phillips) was an integral part of the 1990s East Coast sound, alongside the likes of RZA, Large Professor and Q-Tip.

The Bronx native came to prominence because of his jazz-infused beats that used rare, obscure and exciting samples. However, the beatmaker once spoke out about new producers for their lack of originality, especially concerning their sample choices.

Known as “crate digging,” the art of searching for old songs to sample is a strange one that requires a vision. Some of the most skilled producers, such as Kanye West and J Dilla, have been lauded for their ability to turn the strangest pieces of music into hip-hop anthems.

Unfortunately, Rock doesn’t see anybody who is able to do that in the culture at present. After hearing several hip-hop songs sampling hit tracks less than ten years old, the Bronx musician took to Twitter/X, writing, “They are resampling rap and R’n’B records that was made only 3-4 years ago [crying laughing face emoji] no diggin’ for the hits they sampling what was already a hit recently lol [shrug emoji].”

Many hip-hop purists agreed with Rock, with one user blaming Diddy for popularising tracks such as ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ that are mere re-recordings of old songs with a sprinkle of rap. Aiming at Diddy, one user wrote, “I blame Puffy [shrug emoji] sampling used to be one of the most creative aspects of good Hip Hop [one hundred emoji]. Taking a sound, beat, whatever and looping it, til it sounded completely different.. then Puff said F it, and just started hijacking entire tracks and just flipping the lyrics, [skull emoji].”

In 2020, Rock dissed the new school of beatmakers, calling their material “forced.” In a rant he uploaded on Instagram, the producer exclaimed, “Horrible! This new shit is forced! No Leadership, just Followers!”

He continued, “What happened to the actual artist who gave you official inspiration for real to become something in music? For me, it was Marley Marl, Teddy Riley, Howie Tee, 45 King, Larry Smith (RIP). This new generation shits on that, leading music to a bad place.”

You can see Pete Rock’s original tweet below.