Cool Calm Pete, one third of the alternative hip-hop group Babbletron, is a charismatic and devoted MC from Queens, New York. Simply unassociated with any East Asian stereotype, he shatters them. His style is similar to that of Aesop Rock in some respects, one being that they both aim for a stream of consciousness type of approach. Consequently, their material is sometimes very metaphorical and difficult to decipher. But a major, lucid differentiation is that Pete’s flow is pleasantly sluggish and lazy-sounding, as opposed to Aesop’s choppier, vivacious flow. The confidence and seemingly effortless manner in which he delivers can give off a deceptive impression of simplicity.
Lost, which was released in 2005, is his debut solo album. It was almost entirely produced by Cool Calm himself, and he does a fairly good job, with numerous beats being entrancing and melodic, and some being the infectious, earworm type. These were perfect for his mesmeric flow, sometimes incorporating braggadocio, and at other times his usual odd references.
The album starts with an intro track with some unexpected voice samples, one of them being of an old man offering complicated directions, then stating a bridge would be a good alternative. It’s supposedly from a 1988 film called “Funny Farm,” staring Chevy Chase. This is just one of the many obscure, avant-garde samples featured on the album.
On the title track, “Lost,” CCP exhibits his pessimistic nature, and some distaste for the state of what’s going on around him, just as he does on “Tune In,” while at the same time providing justification for his indicative name. This is perhaps the only track on the album where his voice strays away from the usual tone and reaches a high point, during the lines “Glimpse of the future makin’ these toes curl / And maybe then I’ll stop spyin’ on my ex girl.” Next is “The List.” This song, despite it’s interesting concept, did not stand out as much as the others to me. The rest of the album is admirable in the same sense. On “Wind Sprints,” Cool Calm shows us his versatility, with some swift rhymes. It seems he wasn’t sleep-rapping, after all. Surprise! He throws some romance on the album with the segmented “Dinner and a Movie,” exhibiting his playa side. The second-to-last track, “Brush P.S.A.” featuring Jungle Mike, may just be the first non-educational purpose rap song about brushing your teeth. Finally, Cool Calm Pete brings down the curtains well with “Wishes and Luck.”
“Wrote this on the back of a greeting card
From this bleeding heart, rolling down a bitter start”
To Conclude, Lost is an unconventional album with a certain retro quality, and offers concepts some may find difficult to grasp. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, do give it a listen. My favorite tracks on the album were Lost, 2 a.m., and Dinner and a Movie.