They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
|"They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)"|
|Single by Pete Rock & CL Smooth|
|from the album Mecca and the Soul Brother|
|Released||April 2, 1992|
|Genre||Golden age hip hop, jazz rap|
|Writer(s)||Pete Rock & CL Smooth,|
|Pete Rock & CL Smooth singles chronology|
"They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" is a song by Pete Rock & CL Smooth, inspired by the death of their close friend Troy Dixon (better known as "Trouble" T. Roy of Heavy D & the Boyz) in 1990. The song was the lead single off their debut album, Mecca and the Soul Brother, released in 1992, and later became a staple of classic early 1990s hip hop. The song peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart.
Pete Rock in a 2007 interview with Village Voice:
I had a friend of mine that passed away, and it was a shock to the community. I was kind of depressed when I made it. And to this day, I can't believe I made it through, the way I was feeling. I guess it was for my boy. When I found the record by Tom Scott, basically I just heard something incredible that touched me and made me cry. It had such a beautiful bassline, and I started with that first. I found some other sounds and then heard some sax in there and used that. Next thing you know, I have a beautiful beat made. When I mixed the song down, I had Charlie Brown from Leaders of the New School in the session with me, and we all just started crying."
Over a saxophone and bass sample of Tom Scott's cover of "Today" by Jefferson Airplane, CL Smooth unravels fond memories of his own childhood, being the son of a young teenage mother, her father and four siblings, and the love he feels for other family members in working class Mt. Vernon. The chorus' ad libs are provided by Pete Rock. The 12 second intro is sampled from the 1971 song "When She Made Me Promise" by The Beginning of the End. The b-side of the 12" pressing is "The Creator", which is taken from the group's 1991 EP, All Souled Out.
Although not a chart topper at the time of its release, "Reminisce..." has since gone on to become a staple in hip hop; one that immediately recalls a certain period in time (the early 1990s) as well as paying respects to lost ones, and acknowledging family members. Many critics consider it one of the best produced hip-hop songs, and it continues to appear on many "Greatest Songs" lists such as Q Magazine's "1001 Best Songs Ever", Spin Magazine's "Top 20 Singles of the 90s", and The Source's "100 Best Rap Singles Of All Time". It was voted #6 in About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs. It was also number 90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. Pitchfork Media's included the song at number 35 on their Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth were known for their uniquely soulful sound that they brought to the genre of hip-hop. On their album Mecca and the Soul Brother, many of the tracks were sampled jazz tunes with hip-hop drum beats and R&B vocals. "They Reminisce Over You" is no different; featuring a jazz bass line with a constant saxophone riff, and a backup singers harmony in the background. Verse one discusses the hardships of growing up with a single mother. CL Smooth talks about how his father did not play a role in helping his mother raise him or his sister, and how his mother was forced to take on both roles in the household. He says that although his mother raised him right, he still needed a male figure in his life. He ultimately concludes the first verse saying that the lack of male leadership destines young men to repeat the cycle of not being involved in their own children’s lives. The second and third verses take a more positive light. In the second verse CL Smooth talks about how his uncle played the crucial role of a male father figure in his life and helped him become a man and how more males need to make a positive impact on the community. Finally in the third verse CL Smooth speaks to his friend Troy. He thanks him in being one of the only people believed in him and kept him on the right path. He then continues to update Troy on the well being of his family and saying that they reminisce about him.
References and cover versions
It has been lyrically referenced in songs including "My Advice 2 You" by Gang Starr off the Moment of Truth album, "Home of the Greats" by Black Milk, "Can't Tell Me Nothing" by Kanye West, "Reminisce" by Mos Def, Bilal and Common, "Ego Trippin' (Part Two)" by De La Soul, "Memory Lane" by Nas, "Stay Around" by Talib Kweli, "It Is Me" by Method Man, "Downlo Ho" by Scientifik, "Nostalgia" by Chance the Rapper, "I Want You" by Common, and "School of Hard Knocks" by Californian Rock/Rap group P.O.D.. The title of Shaquille O'Neal's song "Biological Didn't Bother" is taken from the song's lyrics. The duo of Rock and Smooth themselves lent their voices to an updated 2003 version of the song titled "Reminisce '03", by Mr. Cheeks, and produced by Mr. Sexx. Although Pete is present on the track himself, he would later make disparaging comments about it after his final split with CL Smooth. In 2008, DJ Greg Street made a remake of the song titled "Dope Boyz", which features Lupe Fiasco, Wale and Kardinal Offishall. The song is featured on Greg Street's mixtape, Sertified Worldwide. Don Cannon assisted with the remake's production. A sample of the song was used in the remix to Mary J. Blige's single "Reminisce". The instrumental version is the main song from the video game NBA Street Vol. 2, as well as the soundtrack for the short film "Faith in Fresh" by NYU film student Kahlil Maskati. The song was also featured in the video game Madden NFL 12 as part of that game's EA Trax. In 2012, Hip Hop producers B-Sides and Simonsayz created a remake of the sample for Lupe Fiasco's song "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" which was the first single from Lupe's album Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. Although the sample was recreated with studio musicians and did not actually use any of the original Tom Scott sax or James Brown drums, it stirred up a controversy by infuriating Pete Rock, who said he felt "violated." Fiasco further references the song in the title of the final track of Tetsuo & Youth, "They.Resurrect.Over.New (T.R.O.N.)."
- Side A
- "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)"
- "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" (instrumental)
- "The Creator (Slide to the Side Remix)"
- Side B
- "The Creator (Slide to the Side Remix)" (instrumental)
- "Creator" (EP mix)
- "Creator" (EP mix) (instrumental)
In popular culture
The song appeared in the soundtrack to the 2003 basketball video game NBA Street Vol. 2 and the 2011 football video game Madden NFL 12. It was also used in the title sequence of Episode 2, Season 1 of the Netflix comedy series Master of None.
- 100 Best Rap Singles of All Time. Archived February 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Top 100 Rap Songs. About.com.
- Pitchfork Top 200 Tracks of the 90s
- Video on YouTube