Mecca and the Soul Brother

”They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” a straightforward tale of fractured family life in the ghetto that’s climbing up the R&B and pop charts, has created a sizable buzz for this Mount Vernon, N.Y., duo. Listening to their first album, Mecca and the Soul Brother, though, it’s hard to tell what the excitement’s about. DJ Pete Rock’s arrangements can be inventive — he drops keyboards and jazzy sax parts over the beats with ease — but rapper C.L. Smooth is barely distinctive. Whether he’s talking about single moms or professing his love for a woman, Smooth is neither sharp and mellow nor in-your-face aggressive (he even sounds bored on social-consciousness tracks like ”Anger in the Nation”). Like Smooth’s voice, the album occupies an unsatisfying middle ground — hip-hop that’s professional, well made, and fairly boring. C+

Mecca and the Soul Brother
  • Music