Troy Ave

“Hyperbolically charismatic” — VICE

“He’s paired drug dealing with a sonic elegance it shouldn’t really know” — Pitchfork

Troy Ave doesn’t need a corporation to make him an international star and bring the true sound of New York back. As the title of his new album notes, he is Major Without A Deal.

Some of New York’s most legendary artists unite on Major Without A Deal to support the city’s young hope. Among the album’s Big Apple guests are Cam’ron, Fat Joe, Kid Capri, 50 Cent, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Mase and Puff Daddy. Troy Ave also gives love to the South and West Coast, teaming up with his Hustle Gang honcho T.I., Jeezy, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg and Ty Dolla Sign.

The album’s street single “All About The Money” featuring Jeezy and Rick Ross took over the streets in early 2015 and was followed up by the catchy radio hit “Doo Doo.” Additional highlights to come on Major Without A Deal include Troy trading verses with Fabolous and Jadakiss on “Do Me No Favors,” counting money with Cam’ron on “Quarter Million,” recapturing Nineties freshness with Puff Daddy, Mase and T.I. on “Your Style (Remix)” and playing off of Kid Capri’s production for “A Bronx Tale.”

The rapper’s 2013 debut studio album New York City put him in the national spotlight for the first time, spawning the single “New York City” with N.O.R.E. and Raekwon; XXL called it “one of the better releases of the year” and later put him on the coveted XXL Freshmen cover.

The album landed him in the Top 10 of the iTunes Hip-Hop chart despite the album being released for free. A major label bidding war ensued, but Troy Ave opted to partner with EMPIRE Distribution to keep his official album debut independent.

Of course, his success did not happen overnight. Taken from the name of the block he grew up on in Brooklyn, Troy Ave (born Roland Collins) has been buzzing in the streets as a rapper since as early as 2008. Before then he was living the high life of a clocker, but knowing that the game will either lock you up or bury you in the ground from seeing a friend catch a charge, Troy decided to turn his focus away from the corner and into the studio. Three mixtapes and 70,000 out-the-trunk sales later and he broke through in 2010 with the first project in a subsequent acclaimed trilogy of reality called Bricks In My Backpack, followed by the White Christmas and prolific BSB mixtape series.

One of the most interesting aspects of Troy Ave is his honesty. While other coke rappers primarily focus on the money and women, Troy isn’t afraid to talk about the fears one goes through while continuously committing felonies. He raps openly about being scared of the law catching up with him and seems to always feel like no matter how much he has or how great his life is, that it could all end at a moment’s notice with federal agents bringing in a case on him.

His vivid imagery and detailed storytelling creates a cinematic sound, complemented by a raw, punctuated flow so that listeners never have to question his intentions. Troy makes music for those who get money, and for those who strive to get money. He’s not just a rapper but a motivational speaker, an artist who inspires masses with his energetic and cheerful personality but who, at the same time, forewarns those who aren’t cut from the same cloth to keep the fakeness away from the street.

It’s this raw emotion that separates Troy from any other rapper, he’s a true three dimensional artist and his personality shines through in his music. The man you get on record is a true representation of the man himself. There’s no act behind what Troy Ave says and it’s this trait in particular that makes him such a star.