12. Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)"
Hip-hop has produced many classic elegies – from Ice Cube's "Dead Homiez" to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Tha Crossroads." Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth's "They Reminisce Over You" is as beautiful as they come. The early-Nineties duo wrote the song for their Mount Vernon, New York, pal "Trouble" T-Roy, a dancer with Heavy D and the Boyz who died while on tour in 1990. C.L. Smooth came up with his lyrics before Pete Rock had produced the track, which is hard to imagine since they fit together so perfectly. Over a tender, sky-blown sax sample from Sixties jazz-pop composer Tom Scott, C.L. Smooth spins a tribute to his fallen friend into a vivid celebration of family (literal, metaphorical and musical) that's as much free-roaming backyard-barbecue toast as somber funeral speech. "When we listened back to the record, we just started crying," Pete Rock recalled. "When I felt like that, I was like, 'This is it.' Deep in my heart I felt like this was gonna be something big."