By Rob Markman
On Monday night Lupe Fiasco dropped his new single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free),” sampling Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s classic “T.R.O.Y.,” and although Lupe maintains that his reworked version is a tribute to the original, Pete Rock is upset about the remake. “All the credit goes to my partner and manager Chill, he just felt like it was time to bring back a joint,” Lupe explained. “Go back and take one of the iconic records of Hip Hop and put a new spin on it and put it back out there.
When Rock and CL Smooth dropped “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” twenty 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 was meant to be 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; that was until Pete Rock took to Twitter.
“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,” Pete tweeted yesterday after he heard “Around My Way.”
Lu’s new single clearly is a nod to “T.R.O.Y,” but Pete Rock and CL samples from jazz musician Tom Scott’s 1967 song “Today,” so it isn’t exactly an original composition. It’s quite 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 on “Around My Way” Lu, who will appear on Wednesday’s “RapFix Live,”continues to push rap’s topical boundaries choosing to rhyme about social-political ills in Ghana and corruption in the oil industry. Pete Rock stressed via the social networking site 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 the “Kick, Push” MC took to Twitter and began tweeting links to other “T.R.O.Y.” remakes. First he shot a link to his own “Dopeboys” freestyle, then another to Mann’s J.R. Rotem-produced “Reminisce,” then yet another link to a remixed version of the song which featured Journalist, Mr. Cheeks and Pete Rock and CL Smooth themselves. Finally Lupe took the high road and tweeted a YouTube link to the original Pete Rock and CL Smooth video with the hash tag “#20YearsLaterStillTheBest.”