I recently went to a hip hop show paying tribute to producers DJ Premier & Pete Rock, who sat in opposing wicker chairs like hip hop royalty while artists played and sang their work. The closing song, and the one that got the most applause, was "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)", a eulogy for a friend, Troy Dixon (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Reminisce_Over_You_(T.R.O.Y.)). The crowd was singing along, and this song, more than any other, encapsulated the night.

Pete Rock in a 2007 interview with Village Voice:
I had a friend of mine 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. When I mixed the song down, I had Charlie Brown from Leaders of the New School in the session with me, and we all just started crying."
The saxophone hook is infectious, and while not the "hardest" hip hop song ever created, T.R.O.Y. is a synonym for hip hop nostalgia. Fifteen years later, fans reminisce their own youth, their own upbringing (see lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/pete+rock+and+cl+smooth/they+reminisce+over+you_10204298.html). That was the thought I had, standing in the crowd, hands raised: "True school", or "old school" hip hop would always be a form of nostalgia because to feel it, you would have had to been touched in some odd way, the way Pete Rock was when he produced that beat. Not many experience the sensation, but those that do hold it with them through the transition to adulthood. The genesis of the transcendent hip hop moment inculcates repetitive listening behavior, like a two-bar saxophone hook or a classic verse. In that way, the generative hip hop moment is actually already and always a looking backwards, a repetition, a reminiscence.

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