Hip-Hop 20th Anniversary Edition
Artist: Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Single: T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)
Album: Mecca & The Soul Brother
Label: Elektra Records
The year 1992 ushered a new breed of groundbreaking artists: Arrested Development, Mary J. Blige, Kris Kross, TLC, Common, Das EFX, Diamond D, to “T.R.O.Y.’s (They Reminisce Over You)” sole (soul owners) Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Recalling the first time I heard “T.R.O.Y,” the smell of seasoned black eye peas saturated the air of my best friend Ruben Cooper Miles’ grandmother’s house. Summer produced sweat as it seeped out pores constantly as we sat at the den of the house that had little to no air condition. As youthful fanatics, we never missed a show of YO! MTV RAPS regardless how hot the house was. Eyes glued to the television set, we saw the music video that forever changed our lives and of hip-hop.
The song produced by whom the public labels today as one of the most significant and highly praised producers in hip-hop Pete Rock, was carefully woven with immaculately blended samples. Before CL Smooth details the contents of “T.R.O.Y,” the twelve second introduction of the song sampled from 1971’s “When She Made Me Promise” by The Beginning of the End lets audiences know that the duo were going to take a trip down memory lane. Dubbed as Spin Magazine’s “Top 20 Singles of the 90s” and the hit single to their critically acclaimed Mecca and The Soul Brother, the song becomes a timeless masterpiece for its properties.
They include its sampled jazz bassline fused with a saxophone riff and silky, soulful harmonies of a singer in the background. In addition, CL Smooth’s lyrical virtuosi and muscled vocal power expressed with much heartfelt emphasis in his rhymes gives “T.R.O.Y.” its impulsive texture. Ahead of its time when the lack of parental structure was not as common in society as oppose to what is now the norm, CL Smooth breaks three different verses down to a science while having consistency with keeping the ‘reminisce” theme. The song’s powerful third verse and the manner the song’s ending fades leaves a breathless and everlasting impression on a hip-hop head:
I reminisce so you never forget this/ The days of way back, so many bear witness/
T to the R-uh-O-Y, how did you and I meet? In front of Big Lou’s, fighting in the
Street…I dedicate this to you for believing in me/ Rain or shine, yes in any
weather/ My grandma Pam holds the family together/ My uncle Doc’s the greatest
better yet the latest/ I strive to be ‘live cause I got no choice…So Pete Rock hit
me, nuff respect due/ When they reminisce over you.
Lyrically, it summarizes the fundamental nature of the song’s existence: the mourning of deceased loved ones from Smooth’s family tree foremost the hip-hop duo’s fallen friend and Heavy D & The Boyz dancer Troy “Trouble T-Roy” Dixon. Not to mention, the absence of a male father figure that serves detrimental to a child’s upbringing leaving his mother and uncle the responsibility of raising him paying them the homage.
If Nas in applied motto articulated “Hip-Hop Is Dead,” then “T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)” is the bereavement to the beloved genre’s homegoing making Pete Rock and CL Smooth hip-hop immortals engraving their legacy on headstone-“Pete Rock and CL Smooth for the ’92. And I’m out!”
-Hector De La Rosa-