When Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth dropped “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” 20 years ago, the celebrated rap duo was still reeling over the unexpected death of their dear friend Troy “Trouble T” Dixon of Heavy D & the Boyz. What began as the most personal of lyrical eulogies soon became an iconic hip-hop track, so when Lupe Fiasco reworked the “T.R.O.Y.” instrumental for his new single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” on Monday, things were all good until Pete Rock chimed in.
“No disrespect to lupe fiasco and i like him alot but TROY should be left alone. Feel so violated,the beat is next to my heart and was made Outta anguish and pain. When it’s like that it should not be touched by no one,” Rock tweeted on Monday after hearing the track.
While Lu’s new single clearly is a nod to “T.R.O.Y,” the original track isn’t exactly an original composition, as it samples from jazz musician Tom Scott’s 1967 song “Today.” It’s possible that “Around My Way,” which was produced by Simonsayz and B-Sidet, sampled a portion of their track from Scott’s version. This isn’t the first time that Lupe has paid homage to Pete Rock either, he once freestyled over the “Reminisce” beat for his “Dopeboys” freestyle with Wale and Kardinal Offishall.
Lyrically, Lu continues to push rap’s topical boundaries on “Around My Way,” choosing to rhyme about social-political ills in Ghana and corruption in the oil industry. Rock stressed that he did not have a personal problem with the Chicago rapper, he just didn’t appreciate the remake. “I’m not flattered @ all. Dat sh– is wack, and the producer should be ashamed of his f–kin self. Smh,” he wrote.
On Tuesday, Lupe began tweeting links to other “T.R.O.Y.” remakes, including Mann’s J.R. Rotem-produced “Reminisce” and a remixed version of the song which featured Journalist, Mr. Cheeks and Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth themselves. Finally Lupe took the high road and tweeted a YouTube link to the original Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth video with the hash tag “#20YearsLaterStillTheBest.”
Catch Lupe Fiasco on this week’s “RapFix Live,” Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on MTV.com.
Do you side with Pete Rock? Should “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” remain untouched? Let us know in the comments.