5. Pete Rock and CL Smooth
T.R.O.Y. will forever be in the pantheon of hip hop classics, and Mecca and the Soul Brother had more than a few hot singles. When they broke up, to no one’s surprise Pete Rock kept right on producing (das efx, Rakim, Ghostface Killer, etc.). And what of CL? He kinda just disappeared. He spit a little here and there but after he and Pete Rock broke up in 1994, he didn’t release a solo project till 2006. Maybe he was disenchanted with the music biz, or wanted to focus on his family, and maybe he was just searching for the perfect beat. Whatever. CL might want to work out the his differences with Mr. Rock and get back in the studio.
4. Phife needs Q-Tip
A Tribe Called Quest were the hotness when they were hittin. The Low End Theory is a BONIFIED hip-hop classic and Midnight Maurauders got so much play, DJ A-See waited 10 years to put it back in rotation. You all know how the story goes–they broke up. Q-Tip took that summer by storm with Vivrant Thang and Breathe & Stop. So we, YOU, everybody waited for the five foot assassin to drop his project. It dropped, and just kept going down. No fire, no sizzle, no nuthin. Yes, the Abstract was considered the dominant rapper, but Phife was no slouch. He and Tip had that ever-elusive thing called chemistry, but for Phife, it takes two to get a crowd reaction.
3. Parish needs Eric Sermon
Back when EPMD was at its height, Eric was dope but you would wait for Parish’s verse. No question, he had the hotter lines. When Eric and Parish closed up shop and released their respective solo projects, conventional wisdom was that Parrish would do OK but Eric might be in trouble. But Eric flipped the script. His single Boomdigi wasn’t too bad, got some play. And Parish? Suuuuuuuuucked. No, REALLY suuuuuuucked. K-Rocka (of Grownhead Convo fame) and DJ A-See were shocked, shocked I tell you, at the utter wackness of the album. Resident Alien exchanged the tape, thinking it had to be defective. It was like the Green Eyed Bandit got some evil sorcerer to steal his former partner’s emcee skills. It was one of the worst solo debuts by an established artist EVER. And that’s counting John and Yoko. The funny thing is, when EPMD got back together, Parish was back to his normal dope self. What happened? We don’t know either, but P better neva let E go. And he also probly shouldn’t eat spaghetti at his house either.
2. Prince Po needs Pharaoh Monch
Resident Alien says Prince Po was the better rapper in Organized Konfusion: better concepts, better wordplay, better flow, betta, betta, betta. That may be true, but where’s he at? It’s not always about who’s a better rapper, but a better grinder. Maybe, just maybe, Po needed Monch to push him to get up off his ass and write some rhymes, get a producer, or book some studio time. Maybe it was always Pharaoh getting the name out and puttin in work. Of course this is all conjecture; all we know for sure is Pharaoh is ready to drop his THIRD solo release. And Po? Resident Alien is keeping her fingers crossed.
1. Rakim needs Eric B.
We have alluded to this before. But hell it’s worth repeating; Eric B. might have been the straw that stirred the Rakim hit music cocktail. Not to quote Kelly Clarkson, but since he’s been gone Rakim Allah just ain’t had the same swagger. He still ranks praise as one of the game’s earliest lyrical innovators, but for all his talent he should have done more. Perhaps Rakim needs someone to push him in the studio. Maybe Eric handled all the beat stuff so Ra could focus on the lyrics. We don’t know the formula, but whatever they had worked. Ra, call that man. Eric, put down that sammitch and pick up.