Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth released “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” in 1992, which contains one of the most recognizable beats in Hip Hop history. Using the saxophone and bass sample of Tom Scott’s 1967 cover of “Today” by Jefferson Airplane, Rock and C.L. Smooth dedicated the song to their late friend Troy Dixon who died in 1990 while touring as a backup dancer for Heavy D & the Boyz.
Taken from the duo’s debut album Mecca & The Soul Brother, “T.R.O.Y.” is required listening for any dedicated Hip Hop fan. Thirty years after its release, Pete Rock has shared an anniversary mixtape dedicated to the landmark album. Crafted by DJ Filthy Rich, the roughly 60-minute mix reimagines the classic project.
As Filthy Rich explained in the caption, “@realpeterock & @therealclsmooth classic LP ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’ turned 30 recently, so reminisce for a spell with a mix of OG Samples, Remixes, & Blends. The way Pete sampled old jazz/funk/soul records and layered them over hard, dusty drums was masterful (how he caught that little part on the fadeout of an Ohio Players record for ‘Lots Of Lovin’ still amazes me).
“Combine that with C.L.’s sharp yet fluid lyricism (how many MC’s could rhyme like THIS back in ’92??), and you unquestionably have one of the pillars of early 90’s NYC boom bap. RIP Heavy D & T-Roy.”
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Mecca and The Soul Brother was released on June 9, 1992 and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart and No. 43 on the Billboard 200. Speaking to HipHopDX in December 2020, Rock looked back on “T.R.O.Y.” and explained why he never gets tired of that song.
“I made that song for my homeboy that passed away, so it just reminds me that I was successful in doing that song for my boy,” Rock said at the time. “Every time I hear someone give me props on ‘Reminisce,’ I think about him.”
Not long after Dixon’s death, Rock was record digging with Main Source MC/producer Large Professor when Large Pro showed him the 1967 album The Honeysuckle Breeze by Tom Scott that included the song “Today.” The horns in the song wound up being the preeminent sample used for “T.R.O.Y.”
“I didn’t discover the record first,” he said. “I think Professor knew about the record and when I found it with him, I was just like, ‘Wow.’ He already knew about it and Black Sheep had already used it. They used it on their first album, but they only used the guitar, the beginning of the ‘Today’ record. They didn’t go deep into the record. They didn’t use the bassline and they didn’t use their horns. I went deep sea diving into that muthafucka.”
While Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth no longer exist as a duo, the legendary producer has continued pumping out projects over the last three decades. In 2020, he dropped Petestrumentals 3, his first official sample-free endeavor and follow-up to 2015’s Petestrumentals 2. Other projects include Don’t Smoke Rock with Smoke DZA and The Return of the SP-1200.
Check out DJ Filthy Rich’s tribute to Mecca and the Soul Brother below and keep scrolling for the original.