Troy Ave Promises New York City Is a Classic Album (or Your Money Back)
It's Sunday, the eve of his new album -- the album that will quite possibly change Troy Ave's life from regional street rapper to coveted major label sensation -- but all he can focus on right now is whether New Utrecht High School's football team will make it into the playoffs. The 20-something Brooklyn native has a lot riding on this game; his little brother is star running back Jaleel "Touchdown" Brown, poised for any number of college football scholarships. The rapper beams, watching proudly with his mother. He doesn't miss a game.
It's a sweet, markedly familial side of a rapper who has made his name pushing powder...literally. Deriving his nom de guerre from Troy Ave, the street he grew up on in Crown Heights, Troy has earned a growing rep with tales of gritty street life and hustling, especially the white stuff, as exemplified in his Bricks In My Backpack triptych. Things came to a head with last year's installment, The Harry Powder Trilogy, which catalyzed interest in Troy well beyond the block. His "Blanco" recently soundtracked an episode of HBO's Eastbound & Down and his new album New York City is being released in conjunction with Adidas.
Troy promises that New York City is the definitive, modern Gotham rap album in which elder statesmen like Raekwon, Prodigy and N.O.R.E appear alongside young gunners AraabMuzik, Chase N. Cashe and Harry Fraud. Troy's so confident that the album is a masterpiece he's offering a money-back guarantee on the iTunes version.
The consummate businessman (and later, his Mom who joined for an impromptu Q&A) spoke to us from the sideline.
Your profile is at its highest right now. Are you nervous with the release of New York City?
There's no nervousness. I know that it's good. We been on the highway with police flashing lights behind me, you know what I mean? That's the real anxiety type of feeling. This is going to be a classic. This is the best representation of New York City rap in over a decade. I promise. I'll give people their money back if it's not the best in over a decade. I got the classic sound and I'm improving on it. This album is like a classic car, like a Mercedes Benz, but this is the new body that came out.
You're actually putting a money-back guarantee on New York City?
Yes and I have the money to prove it. I'm going to show and prove. You can fuck with everything straight through. Every type of word people use to explain this album will be exclamatory words. I never lie to people. That's why my word is so good in the streets. You can't come where I come from and still be out here, living or be respected, if your word is not good.
You mentioned earlier to me that a lot of New York rappers are trying to capitalize on your hype. What's that about?
Yeah. They're trying to reach out to have "New York movements" or just kick it like, "I wanna do some stuff." People basically trying to surf my wave. I saw how the game was played. There's a lot of artists, rappers...Sometimes I reach out and they get back to me late with features or don't do it. No help. I'm cool with that.
People want to jump on your bandwagon.
That's my next car! A bandwagon. I'm getting it detailed right now. If somebody helping and you genuine, and you're not dick-riding or trying to get ahead, I'm cool. But I gotta ask, "What am I getting out of it?" I'm not doing no free features for motherfuckers. A lot of shit don't be a fair trade. I'm a mirror: The way you treat me, I'm gonna treat you the same type of way.