Let's face it; Pete Rock has never released any music of low quality. Still, last years Soul Survivor 2 was a huge disappointment. While solid, the album failed to live up to the standards that the first album set. This was mainly due to the lackluster guest appearances, as Pete's production was consistent. The Surviving Elements is Pete's latest release, which features his left over beats from the Soul Survivor 2 sessions. Unfortunately, the album fails to live up to the Pete Rock standard of greatness once again.
While many will want to compare The Surviving Elements to Petestrumentals, the comparison is unfair. The Surviving Elements is a variety of left over tracks that are thrown together. The distinct vibe and aura of Petestrumentals is not present. However, there are glimpses of greatness on the album. "Hop, Skip & Jump" is a vintage Chocolate Boy Wonder track with its boom bap drums, light bells and whistles, and breezy summer tone. "Marching On" features a luscious piano loop with sparkling keys sporadically thrown on top. "Fairground" is classic Pete right from the start, as his trademark chirp loops throughout. "Intrigue" is another solid effort, as Pete combines a variety of keys and strings, making for a well-rounded beat.
Still, dope tracks and all, The Surviving Elements is plagued with average beats (by Pete Rock standards). "Pimp Strut" is a choppy effort that sounds too awkward for any emcee to rock on, which is probably the reason it made this album. The mundane "Smoking Room Only" is simply a Petestrumentals rehash, while "Placebo" fails to intrigue. In addition, cuts such as "Midnight And You" and "Hip 2 Hip" are average as well.
Those not familiar with Pete Rock's earlier work will most likely enjoy The Surviving Elements more than others will. But for diehard fans who know what the man is capable of, the album will be disappointing. It is always hard to live up to greatness, and unfortunately for Pete Rock being great is the only thing fans will accept.