Over the weekend, the latest nostalgia-flexing commercial for Google's Android hit the small screen with a hip hop soundtrack that had trapped-in-the-'90s heads losing their collective minds. Yes, that was Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's classic 1991 track "The Creator" blasting in the background. The "Be together, Not the same" Android 5.0 Lollipop campaign has featured Androidify cartoon characters and cutesy mismatch animals forming unlikely friendships. This time around, the Google clip showcased NBA players, double-dutch enthusiasts, everyday folks, and even a cat, all dropping their best high fives and fist bumps.
It's a cheery, much welcomed, silly romp, but the real story is the music. Fast-paced, dance-inducing music produced by one of rap's most celebrated beat-masters, Peter "Pete Rock" Phillips. Back in the early '90s, "The Creator" represented the new age for the Bronx-born art form; an era in which hip hop producers became vinyl-obsessed, digging-in-the-crate visionaries. During the same year Pete and C.L. released their 1991 debut EP, All Souled Out , there were like-minded studio conceptions orchestrated by the likes of DJ Premier (Gang Starr's Step in the Arena), Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory) and Prince Paul (De La Soul Is Dead). All sample-heavy, meticulously-layered and groundbreaking.
Yet "The Creator" seems even more stripped down amongst its post Golden Age brethren despite the song's myriad soul and funk samples, which included Eddie Bo's "From This Day On," Aretha Franklin's "Save Me," King Curtis & the Kingpins' "Instant Groove" and the Mar-Keys' "Honey Pot." There's Pete Rock's signature horns and kick drum as well as a rarity for the man who went on to produce everyone from Run-D.M.C. to Kanye West: the Chocolate Boy Wonder handles rhyme duties throughout the entire 4-minute and 43-second track sans the mighty C.L. Smooth. Yes, the SP 1200-constructed "The Creator" seems almost alien when compared to the slower-paced Trap-inspired joints of today. But just try to keep yourself from breaking out the Kid N' Play kick-step to this joint. Rock, rock on.
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(Photo: Catherine McGann/Getty Images)