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[WATCH] Pete Rock Opens Up About Repeated Splits with CL Smooth on Drink Champs

Pete Rock and CL Smooth were among the defining hip-hop duos of the 1990s, producing some of the era’s smoothest tracks alongside other legends like Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest. However, their long-term collaboration has been punctuated by frequent splits and reunions. Despite their attempts to rekindle their musical partnership in the 2000s and 2010s, the duo has struggled to maintain a stable working relationship. The reasons behind these splits have often remained shrouded in mystery—until now.

In a recent episode of Drink Champs, Pete Rock shed light on the pattern of their breakups, speaking candidly about his former partner. “He’s the best talent I ever came across in my whole life,” the acclaimed producer praised. “I’ve never heard a guy rap like this, I’ve never heard a voice like this. We shared great times together. Don’t get it all f*cked up now, we’ve had our good times.”

According to Rock, the issues that led to their repeated separations were not rooted in personal clashes but were rather a natural result of spending extended periods around the same person. “Just like life,” he remarked. “People have ups and downs.”

These ups and downs eventually hindered Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s ability to grow as a cohesive unit. Rock explained that their personal growth trajectories began to diverge, creating an imbalance in their partnership. “Sometimes, when we’re in the negative zone, we go like this,” he said, illustrating with a splitting motion. “What we would wish for each other is growth, but when one is growing and one isn’t, then it’s still uneven.”

Rock also stated that he believed the duo should still be together today, although he chose not to get into the specific reasons for their continued separation. “We should still be together,” he asserted. “But some things, you know, that I can’t tell the whole public. Certain things happen in a partnership that just can’t be… and people won’t understand. I don’t want to be the only one speaking on someone who’s not here, but I wish him the best in life.”

Watch the interview below.

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