Pete Rock Made One of Hip-Hop’s Most Revered Remixes in Just Five Minutes

Pete Rock breaks down some of his grailed productions for Nas, Kanye, Public Enemy, and more.

Pete Rock may not have invented the remix, but he’s certainly responsible for some of the earliest and most celebrated recalibrations in hip-hop.

But one PR flip in particular is attributed with sparking hip-hop’s fascination with the remix. And according to a new interview with the producer, it only took a few minutes to put together. Sitting with Tracklib, Pete dissected some of his most revered productions, including the remix for Public Enemy’s “Shut Em Down,” which he claims to have come up with in just five minutes on his way to the lab. “I was in a rush to go to the studio. I was late. I remember having to go next door to the basement. I just came up with this beat before I got into the car to go to the studio to lay it down,” Pete recalls (without revealing his sampling sources, of course.) “I remember being very excited and very anxious, you know, just wishing and hoping they would like my rendition of it,” the production legend adds.

Elsewhere in the interview, Pete tracks his progression from making pause tapes to learning how to program samplers and drum machines. He also opens up about making “Whose World Is This” with a young Nas, producing a whole album for his hip-hop heroes Run DMC, and cutting up a Curtis Mayfield ballad that was a household favorite in his childhood home for Kanye West and JAY-Z on Watch The Throne. Towards the end of the career retrospective, Pete announces he’s partnering with Tracklib for a beatmaking contest. Top prize includes an autographed MPC Live II Retro Edition and a one-on-one virtual studio session with the producer himself. Enter the contest here.

Watch Pete Rock break down a handful of his classic productions below.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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