Some Hip Hop fans would definitely say that there are just some Hip Hop songs throughout history that you DO NOT touch, mess with, tamper with, or try to remake. One of these songs, in the eyes of many, is “T.R.O.Y.” by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, ironically released 20 years ago this year. When it comes on, you know that if you’re around any other Hip Hop heads, you’ll probably all get real nostalgic and start remembering loved ones that have passed on into the next life, or at least remembering where you first heard the track.
Earlier this week, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco decided to take a stab at remaking, or at least making a re-interpretation of, “T.R.O.Y.” with “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)”, and set the Hip Hop world ablaze with calls and taunts of blasphemy, wackness and mishandling something sacred in the hearts and minds of many Hip Hop heads that are also 90s-era rap kids. The situation came to ahead when Pete Rock too to Twitter to air out his grievances, saying that he felt violated, that the track was not up to par, and also calling for more originality in today’s Hip Hop music.
Thankfully, the semi-feud has now been settled, and Hip Hop fans can rejoice in the fact that the legendary and still very prominent Pete Rock and the controversial yet powerfully lyrical Lupe Fiasco have settled their differences. They even plan on doing some work together, according to Rapfix.MTV.com, which should truly be a treat for the ears and minds of Hip Hop heads worldwide.
But this situation still begs the question: as in other forms and genres of music, and in other forms of entertainment (be they movies, TV shows, etc), are there just some Hip Hop songs and albums that are sacred and are not to be touched? There was a time when I would have said “YES!!!” without hesitation, but it’s really an interesting concept. Take for example how Detroit rapper Elzhi did an interpretation o Nas’ Illmatic album on 2011s Elmatic. In the hands of an emcee that’s not as poignant and lyrical as Elzhi, the project could have been a horrible blunder, but it actually turned into a classic mixtape in it’s own right.
And even if we do think that some songs and albums should just not be remade, what are they? The Chronic? Ready to Die? Aquemini? Only Built 4 Cuban Linx? “Passin Me By”? “Nuthin But A G Thang”? “Stan”? How do we determine this? What music do we include and not include? Who gets to determine these elements?
Just some questions I began to pose off this whole Lupe/Pete Rock rift. You know how I love to leave people thinking and start up heated discussions. And with that, I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide. Thanks!