UPDATE MAY 23 1:57 P.M.: A recent phone call between Pete Rock and Lupe Fiasco has effectively put to rest the “T.R.O.Y.” controversy that erupted following the premiere of “Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free).” The hip-hop legend was angered by the remake of his classic cut from twenty years ago voicing his displeasure via Twitter on Monday.
He took to the social media platform again, only this time to relay that things had been smoothed out while hinting at a possible collaboration tweeting, “I just got off da phone lupe, we worked out our differences and we bout
to get it in. Gonna be epic and we gonna give Troy and hev the Proper respect they deserve and make history with lupe.”
On the other side of the Twitterverse, Fiasco also acknowledged that the issue had been resolved:
The co-producers of the track, B-Side and Simon Sayz finally emerged to lend their perspectives on the controversy. Folks can read their takes as compiled on the front page of the LupE.N.D. Blog – the definitive source for all things related to the rapper.
At the end of the day, a possible collaboration between Pete Rock and Lupe Fiasco isn't the only positive thing to potentially emerge from all of this. The discussion hopefully obscured the release of Kreayshawn's new music video/single yesterday, which, to quote the unrelated lyrics of “Around My Way,” is a “couple croissants shy of a continental breakfast!”
ORIGINAL POST MAY 22 5:30 A.M.: Not everyone is elated with today's commercial release of Lupe Fiasco's new single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)” off of the forthcoming album Food & Liquor II. None other than the Pete Rock himself took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, not so much with Fiasco whom he calls himself a fan of, but with the beat's re-creation of his classic cut “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” alongside CL Smooth. The hip-hop legend fired off fourteen consecutive tweets within a little more than an hour's time on the subject yesterday pulling no punches:
Dayum! Whoever was behind the beat has not yet been publicly credited and may not want to be after that!
As Pete's tweets noted, “T.R.O.Y.” came “outta anguish and pain” over the loss of Troy Dixon, better known as Trouble T-Roy, a dancer with Heavy D & the Boyz who died at a young age from an accidental fall. He was candid in recalling the process of finding the right sample and making the song in a 2007 Village Voice piece saying:
When I made “Reminisce”–I had 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.
Pete Rock further expressed himself yesterday saying on Twitter, “When it's like that it should not be touched by no one!” Over the years, though, “T.R.O.Y.” has been re-created by numerous rappers. It's not even the first time Lupe Fiasco rhymed over it as those who've listened to “Dope Boy” will attest to. Underground activist rapper Jasiri X brilliantly reinterpreted the beat for his song “I Am Troy Davis (T.R.O.Y.)” which helped shed light on the case of a Black man on death row who was executed by the state of Georgia in September 2011 despite organized efforts calling for clemency.
So is Pete Rock right? Are variations and re-creations of “T.R.O.Y.” off limits to all MCs and producers? It would be hip-hop sacrilege for one of the greatest songs the genre's history to be channeled in a trite manner, but is there no context in which it could be done with proper respects?