Singled Out: Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun, "Monumental"

Tuesday, Jul 26, 2011 9:10PM

Written by J. Bachelor for Smif-n-Wessun

[SOHH highlights a newly-released single each week and offers a unique look at the song. Today, veteran New York rappers Tek and Steele discusses the title track from their 5th studio album, and explain why 15 years in the game is a "Monumental" achievement.]

Tek: Timeless. That's the word right there -- timeless. Me and Steele were brought up on timeless music. Our dads played in bands. All we would listen to in the house was Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and The Commodores so [making timeless music] comes natural for us. The creation of the title track, "Monumental" was done collectively. Like how LeBron James took his talents to Miami and you had three major superstars right there, they came together to get to the championship. They might not have took the championship but they made it to the playoffs. That's how Pete Rock and Smif-N-Wessun did it. We're the two teams going up against each other tryna bring the best out of each other.

Steele: We needed a word that basically described what we're trying to do. "Monumental" fit perfectly. This is monumental because [of the wait]. We never got paid to be hypemen. After Black Moon's [debut album] Enta Da Stage, Smif-N-Wessun was at every session. It's not like some rappers today, that be like, "Yo my sh** is hot...I'm so John Blaze." We waited. We never got paid to be an entourage. We was holdin' the energy, waitin' for the right time.

Steele: The features on the album are people that we respect. Tyler [Woods] is a good friend of Pete Rock's. They've done work before and we wanted somebody that could bring the chorus to life. We had reached out to some cats who wanted to do it but were busy with their scheduling. So Pete said, "How 'bout boy Tyler. That's my guy." We knew Tyler from working with Buckshot when Buck was working with 9th Wonder. So when his name came up it was like, "boom!".

Tek: We got the right people for the job that were right for the track. It just came together and made it even more monumental.

Steele: We've also been with the same team since we started in the game. "Monumental" has one of the biggest producers in the game, Pete Rock. This is a guy who's super talented - super busy, who made time to give us his undivided attention to make this album.

Tek: We don't go in the studio and be like, "Yo let's make a timeless record." It comes naturally.

Smif-n-Wessun is a Brooklyn rap group consisting of members Tek and Steele. They debuted on the 1993 Black Moon album Enta Da Stage and their first project as a duo, "Dah Shinin" was released in 1995 on Wreck Records. Their most recent album alongside veteran producer Pete Rock, Monumental, was released in June 2011.

Check out "Monumental" below:

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