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R.I.P. Trouble T-Roy: Family & Friends Still Reminisce 20 Years Later

CL SMOOTH: “What I wanted to capture on ‘T.R.O.Y.’ was my vulnerability.”

I was back in Mt. Vernon [when Troy fell]. I don’t really remember how I felt [when I heard the news] I just remember going and seeing them. I don’t know how I got the strength because usually I lose it [dealing with death]. What I remember are the beautiful flowers and all of them were Nikes [floral arrangements]… because [Heavy D & the Boyz] had that Nike endorsement deal going around that time and I was amazed by that, to just see the Nike flowers and the basketball made of flowers…

[Troy’s death] signified what special people mean to the people when they just all of a sudden, at the prime of the lives, are just gone. So many people of the world are affected by that one move, it’s so similar to everybody at that time. It just wasn’t Troy dying it was a lot of our friends dying but Troy was like a public figure that died; someone who was [from] the ’hood but was doing something positive and in the height of what he was doing to get cut short was like he was cheated. I felt that despite me being closer to him or not closer to him than the next person, I felt like I was in a position to do something special [to remember him].

[With “T.R.O.Y”] it was like, “Yo, this is what I’ma do for him and this is going to carry the torch for everybody because Troy was that type of person that could hold…” Troy was somebody, before his passing, I definitely learned to respect and as the years went by I learned to cherish his memories like all the rest of my fallen soldiers in my life that meant something special to me at one point or another.

I wrote “T.R.O.Y.” in ’92… It had been in my head but I just couldn’t put it together and [one day] I wrote it right there in the studio and just recorded it… It just took me about an hour to write it, it was the last record [for the Mecca and the Soul Brother album] and it was no pressure on me to really turn in anything, it was just say something and when it happened and they said, “We need this record to be on the album.”

I didn’t really look at it and say to myself, “Yo, I need to do this,” I left that up to [the label] to do it. My whole plight was to make the best record possible for people to like, for people to respect and know it’s genuine… Take the skirt off everything and just bare yourself. What you feel is your vulnerability on one record and I felt like that’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I wanted to capture, my vulnerability, to say this is what I really love. I love money, I love girls, I love being successful, but these are the people that I’m trying to capture, these are the people I’m trying to impress, my real people.

“T to the R-uh-O-Y, how did you and I meet?/In front of Big Lou’s, fighting in the street/But only you saw what took many time to see/I dedicate this to you for believing in me,” —CL Smooth, “T.R.O.Y.”

That was real. It was just over a disagreement about a chick me and Troy was both seeing and it just escalated into something else… He had his people and he wasn’t a punk. His occupation was entertain and dancing but he wasn’t no punk, and he was very seasoned on what he did and he had big brothers and people that loved him to. It was a beautiful story to talk about ’cause it ended positive, it ended beautifully and it was one of the more famous fights in my small town of Mt. Vernon.

This was a [five-minute] scrap and it was a beautiful one… You had a lot of great fights out there but you never had a person of his notoriety to go out and shoot a five. I think that shows heart, that shows a lot of attitude, a lot of balls to come up and by that time I think that was my last year of high school ’cause I remember coming from summer school and getting off the bus and that whole thing poppin’ off like that.

In the end we became brothers, we became friends and respected each other at the end of the day. I give respect where respect is due and I’m very grateful for everything I think because that move was made that way I’m still here to have a career, I’m still here to entertain the people with a piece like [“T.R.O.Y.”].

[I didn’t just write about Troy because] I envied the people who had that reputation as people who are always loving their memories and reminiscing over the great ones; whether it’s a great fight, great person, great lover, great activist, great father, the ones that are missed, they always reminisce over them… At that time I created something that can make all my family reminisce about me and talk about me and what I did for them and how I put them in the forefront of this record that I’m giving them praise and thanks for creating me so I could create this. And whatever vehicle and platform that comes out of it; you can get “T.R.O.Y.” out of it.


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