By Joe Clair

“It’s a different era,” CL Smooth says of hip-hop today.

One of the genre’s most important contributors talked to Steph Lova on Tuesday about how the game has changed over the years.

He doesn’t take issue with young rappers: “I come from a different era of rap, and we’re all entitled to have our eras.”

“If they wanna mumble their way through it; I’m fine with that,” he said. “It’s hundreds of them mumbling. I guess they all understand each other.”

Smooth advises up-and-comers like Lil Yachty to look to their elders: “You must respect the people that came before you to be great.”

As for his own era, the rapper reminisced over making music with Pete Rock.

The two grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and went on to make hits together like “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y).”

Rock and Smooth eventually parted ways. “We had a lot of differences of opinion, so we had to disband,” he said.

Listen to the full interview below.

C.L. Smooth performs classics and new jams with a live band at Bethesda Jazz and Blues Supper Club on Wednesday, January 10.

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