The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

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Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, 'They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)'

Pete Rock, C.L. Smooth
Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Mecca and the Soul Brother, 1992

Hip-hop's most beautiful elegy: The early-Nineties duo wrote the song for their childhood friend Trouble T-Roy, a dancer with Heavy D and the Boyz who died after falling off a stage in 1990. Over a tender, sky-blown sax sample from Sixties jazz-pop composer Tom Scott, rapper CL Smooth spins a tribute to his fallen friend into a vivid celebration of family (literal and metaphorical) that's as much free-roaming backyard-barbecue toast as somber funeral speech. When producer Rock first played the finished track, "we just started crying." Andre 3000 of Outkast had the same reaction hearing the song as a young fan. "They were jamming so hard," he said.

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