Producer Pete Rock recently broke down his catalogue for, telling the story behind his classic single “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” with CL Smooth. Reflecting on the song’s title and theme, Pete revealed that the song was about a neighborhood friend who died while on tour with Kid ‘n Play and Salt-N-Pepa.

“Troy was a close friend of the neighborhood that we grew up with since we were little. […] They were playing around throwing empty garbage cans at each other on stage,” he recalled. “Troy was a playful person like that. He was at the edge of the stage and it was twenty feet high, and he slipped off the edge and fell [and died]. I don’t know how I made that beat while being depressed for such a long period of time.”

He happened upon the sample while crate digging with Large Professor. “I made the base of the beat at my house, and I finished the rest at his house using his SP-950. Q-Tip had nothing to do with [making the beat]. I think what happened was he liked the horn riff that he heard. I had already sampled it, but I filtered it to make the bass line. The horn was already there, but he just thought it was a good idea for me to put it in there. And I put in there. I made the beat, he just suggested I put that in there.”

Even before Pete crafted the beat, CL had already penned his verses. “CL came up with the lyrics even before I came up with the beat. He didn’t have the beat [to write to],” he said. “He already had the song written. The beat made me emotional so I figured it would work. When the lyrics came together with the music, that was the match made in heaven. Thank God it matched the way it did. It was a great outcome.” 

Check out stories on 39 other songs on

RELATED: Camp Lo & Pete Rock: Time Machine