P is for Pete Rock & CL Smooth

Do you have a song that never fails to take you back to certain moments in your life and make you feel alllll the feelings again? You probably have a few. I do, too. But there’s one in particular that makes me consider and appreciate my entire life — even the things that haven’t happened yet. It’s called T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You).

CL Smooth raps about his upbringing, and memories of all the people who are important to him and have made him who he is. (If you listen to the song, you’ll learn the significance of the acronym in verse 3.) T.R.O.Y. is one of those classic hip-hop tracks that never fails to get those of us who love the genre hype. It’s representative of everything great about hip-hop: the perfect sample, chosen and looped with care; a hot (and timeless) beat that makes you move; words that truly mean something because they came from the heart. Hip-hop, GOOD hip-hop, always makes me proud to be African American because of the impact it’s made and continues to make around the world, and because we had such an important role in creating the genre (as did the Latinos, Caribbeans, and other people plugged into the scene at the time). But my love for this song goes beyond an appreciation for my culture. This song makes me think about my own life and the relationships — whether holding strong or broken — that have shaped my personality over the years.

Both of my parents LOVE music. My dad actually used to dj in high school and on into the early years of his marriage to my mom. The two of them together had a pretty extensive record collection. It hit every genre of music but country and gospel. And since he dj’ed, my dad had a sweet stereo system with massive speakers that he kept in the den in our basement. The majority of my memories of our townhouse, where I lived until I was ten, are of being in that basement. It’s where the big TV was where I watched all my favorite cartoons and learned to imitate the voices of my favorite characters; it’s where I kept my rabbit, Buttons; it’s where the sliding glass door was (through which I could see the ice penguin I’d made with my dad one winter); and it’s where I listened to music and turned my love of it into a capital letter kind of love. (It’s also where me and my first cousin used to introduce each other to a fake audience after plugging in my dad’s microphone. Cuz we were the absolute coolest.)

One of my favorite things to do was turn the volume all the way up at the end of each song I listened to and see what words I could hear as the track faded out. I also remember how exciting it was to catch my favorite songs on the radio (or my favorite episodes on TV) back before people could just find and download whatever they wanted. My first attempts at harmonizing were in front of my dad’s speakers (and now I can’t help doing it whenever I sing anything). I had a lot of fun in that basement, and now, when I hear T.R.O.Y., my mind inevitably wanders back to that time and place. That basement was the first place I heard that song, and the lyrics about aunts and uncles, moms and dads, grandparents and friends, put me in mind of every important memory I’ve ever made. The good, the bad — I wouldn’t be me without all of it.

What song is your T.R.O.Y.?

I was inspired to write this post b/c of the new speaker I just bought. It’s a UE BOOM 2, and it is glorious.


2 thoughts on “P is for Pete Rock & CL Smooth

  1. You forgot to mention the absconding… 😉 Great post. Many songs do that for me. One that comes to mind is Summertime by Will Smith. The combination of the lyrics over one of my favorite pieces, Summer Madness by Kool and the Gang, gets me every time.


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s