Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth : They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)

SONG They Reminisce Over You

WRITTEN BY Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Tom Scott

PERFORMED BY Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

APPEARS ON Mecca and the Soul Brother

Most people have their lives shaped by a combination of support, adversity, and change. The hip hop generation has been dealing with some serious issues at a younger age than we should have. We deal with the loss of our peers for foolish reasons. We got to live through and experience the community changing right before our eye and watched friends and family members struggle. We also understand the value of having support and appreciation for the people that helped us along the way. Every now and then you have to reminisce and pay respects to the good people in our lives in the past and the present and show them how much we care.

There is no hip hop song that embodies this feeling more than “They Reminisce (T.R.O.Y.)” by Pete Rock and CL Smooth. It was recorded on their album Mecca and The Soul Brother in 1992. This is one of the five best hip hop songs ever and shows the power of the genre when it’s done correctly. The song is named after Troy ‘Trouble T Roy’ Dixon who was a member of Heavy D and the Boyz. He died in an accident while they were on tour in 1990. The instrumental track produced by Pete Rock features a horn and bass line sample by a song called “Today” by Tom Scott. The horn sample begins the song and sets the vibe. CL Smooth raps three verses in this song. The first one is about his mother and how she overcame the struggles of being a teenage mom. The second is about his grandfather who was his father figure growing up. The third voice is dedicated to their friend Troy that the song is named after. The lyrics are poetic, intricate and yet easy to follow. He does an excellent job of painting a portrait of the people in the song. It’s too bad this group got caught up in the beginning of the G-Funk gangster rap explosion and their positivity couldn’t sustain and give them a more accomplished career. I hope it’s a consolation for them that after 17 years since this song was released there hasn’t been a hip hop song any better. There have been some as good but not better.

I didn’t know much about Trouble T. Roy when he was alive other than he danced with Heavy D. If someone is going to dedicate a song to your memory this is how it should be. We should all strive to leave a positive memory to the people in our lives. If there is anyone listening to this song for the first time after reading this blog I hope it brings a positive memory of someone in your life like it does for me.


Verse One:


I reminisce for a spell, or shall I say think back
22 years ago to keep it on track
The birth of a child on the 8th of October
A toast but my granddaddy came sober
Countin all the fingers and the toes
Now I suppose, you hope the little black boy grows, huh
18 years younger than my mama
But I really got beatings cause the girl loved drama
In single parenthood there I stood
By the time she was 21, had another one
This one's a girl, let's name her Pam
Same father as the first but you don't give a damn
Irresponsible, plain not thinking
Papa said chill but the brother keep winking
Still he won't down you or tear out your hide
On your side while the baby maker slide
But mama got wise to the game
The youngest of five kids, hon here it is
After 10 years without no spouse
Momma's gettin married in the house
Listen, positive over negative for the women and master
Mother Queen's risin a chapter
Deja vu, tell you what I'm gonna do
When they reminisce over you, my God

Verse Two:


When I date back I recall a man off the family tree
My right hand Poppa Doc I see
Took me from a boy to a man so I always had a father
When my biological didn't bother
Taking care of this so who am I to bicker
Not a bad ticker but I'm clocking pop's liver
But you can never say that his life is through
5 kids at 21 believe he got a right too
Here we go while I check the scene
With the Portugese lover at the age of 14
The same age, front page, no fuss
But I bet you all your dough, they live longer than us
Never been senile, that's where you're wrong
But give the man a taste and he's gone
Noddin off, sleep to a jazz tune
I can hear his head banging on the wall in the next room
I get the pillow and hope I don't wake him
For this man do cuss, hear it all in verbatim
Telling me how to raise my boy unless he's taking over
I said pop maybe when you're older
We laughed all night about the hookers at the party
My old man standing yelling good God, almighty
Use your condom, take sips of the brew
When they reminisce over you, for real

Verse Three:


I reminisce so you never forget this
The days of wayback, so many bear witness the fitness
Take the first letter out of each word in this joint
Listen close as I prove my point
T to the R-uh-O-Y, how did you and I meet?
In front of Big Lou's, fighting in the street
But only you saw what took many time to see
I dedicate this to you for believing in me
Rain or shine, yes in any weather
My grandmom Pam holds the family together
My Uncle Doc's the greatest better yet the latest
If we're talking about a car, Uncle Sterling got the latest
I strive to be live 'cause I got no choice
And run my own business like my Aunt Joyce
So Pete Rock hit me, nuff respect due
When they reminisce over you, listen

[Pete Rock]

Listen, just listen
To the funky song as I rock on
And that's word is bond
I'm not playin
Everybody, just coolin
This song we dedicate
To the one and only
Never be another
he was my brother
Trouble T-Roy
It's like that y'all
And you don't stop
Pete Rock and CL Smooth for '92
And we out, later


  1. I tried with this and having the words helped a little. But to me it just feels like an amalgam of the second-rate : second-rate words and second-rate music bludgeoned to death by a self-possessed beat.

  2. I heard this much differently than Alan. It seems to capture what it means to grow up too fast without resorting to bitterness or self-pity. Instead, CL is able to find and hang on to familial love.

  3. Well, at least you tried Alan. That's all I can ask for.

  4. A course at The University of Iowa uses this tune to analyze the poetic aspects of rap music. This song really does pull at the heart strings, you just have to allow it to. Really sit back and think about that person YOU reminisce over; someone who helped you find your way and the emotion will come. Robert 777