Lupe Fiasco has returned amid controversy with the new single “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free), which is on sale via iTunes now and is slated to be featured on the upcoming album “Food & Liquor 2”.
While many fans are just happy to hear Lupe spit his sociopolitical bars over something not being “over-produced” and “pop” like on his last album “L.A.S.E.R.S.”, one of those people who are not happy about this track is the legendary producer Pete Rock, who had this to say about the track and production;
I personally understand where Pete Rock is coming from with his statements. Yes the original version of the beat produced by him samples the track “Today” by Tom Scott so to the average listener the sense of the argument comes off as pointless and even borderline “hating”. What may not be known is the inspiration of the track itself and the reason for the name “T.R.O.Y.”. I expect it to be something today’s generation of rap/hip-hop fans may not know or understand. For those unfamiliar with the story, Troy Dixon bka Trouble T-Roy was a backup dancer for Heavy D and The Boyz. After a performance by the group in 1990, there was an accidental fall resulting in his death which devastated the hip-hop community as a whole. Here’s an excerpt on the inspiration and making of the track told by Pete Rock in a 2007 interview with Village Voice Magazine;
“I had a friend of mine (Troy Dixon bka Trouble T-Roy) 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.”
Hopefully this helps you all understand the reason behind the comments made by Pete Rock in association with the track “Around My Way”. It’s not a matter of hating on Pete’s part, or someone being mad at a sample being reused. It’s a matter of some beats aren’t just beats for the listeners pleasure. That track wasn’t sampled because of he knew it would get commercial appeal. The inspiration behind the music and song is deeper than that and more than just music.
The original T.R.O.Y. by Pete Rock & CL Smooth