Troy Ave Explains Why New York Rap Wasn't Respected As The Best

Exclusive: Troy Ave says his music is like heroin and also weighs in on being compared to 50 Cent.

For the last decade or so, many Hip Hop fans (mostly New Yorkers) have been on a campaign to “Bring New York Back.” Arguably, the Big Apple hasn’t produced a Hip Hop mega star since 50 Cent, and newer artists like A$AP Rocky, while talented, have also been criticized for not adopting a sound more representative of New York’s Golden Era. Then there’s Troy Ave.

The Brooklyn rapper is serious about bringing his city back to its former glory days, even titling his debut album New York City: The Album. The project, which dropped last year and peaked at #47 on Billboard magazine’s Top R&B/Hip Hop chart, was complete with all the stuff New York Rap is made of: bravado lyrics, clever wordplay and street cinema, all served over some pretty tough beats.

While Troy Ave, whose moniker is a busy street in his Brooklyn neighborhood, has been in the game for a while, his buzz is at an all-time high, his career at the tipping point. With co-signs from artists like Fabolous and Pusha T, the cocky emcee recently hit Hot 97’s Summer Jam stage with his BSB crew, graced this year’s XXL Freshman cover and is set to become the face of an upcoming Sean Jean clothing campaign. While he brags about things like this and more, he still manages to remain humble, often reminding us of where he’s headed and yet thanking us for allowing him to go there. The answer to New York’s problem could very well be Troy Ave. But the real issue, the big question, remains: Does Hip Hop want the return of New York? Time will tell.

During a sit down with the Powder Boy at Cipha Sounds’ Hop Hop Improv Show in Lower Manhattan Troy discussed comparisons to 50 Cent and what it would take for him to sign with a major label.

Why Troy Ave Calls 50 Cent Comparisons Incredible

HipHopDX: You talk a lot about bringing New York back. Where was it before?

Troy Ave: It wasn’t respected as the best. It wasn’t like it was in its heyday. Niggas ain’t look up to real niggas coming in the game like with Biggie and Jay. They were instantly respected. They were bringing it.

DX: A lot of people compare you to 50. What do you think about that? Is he one of your idols?

Troy Ave: I don’t have any idols. He definitely was an influence of mine; I’m from New York, and New York niggas should be influenced by other successful New York niggas. I think it’s incredible that they compare me to 50 cause he’s incredible. He came through, repped for the city, blew it up and made millions. So if they’re comparing me to him, that’s a good thing.

DX: You were on BET back in 2006. That’s eight years ago—almost a decade. Why didn’t you give up?

Troy Ave: I didn’t give up. I took a break. When I first started rapping, when I was on BET back then, I had money from another type of way. And it was costing me money to try to pursue my Rap career. So that’s why the music that you’re hearing is different from when I first started. I took a break and then I started getting into the hustling thing. Then I came back with “I’m In Traffic” in ’09.

Troy Ave Says, “My music is like heroine.”

DX: You’re still independent. What would it take for a label to sign you? I heard you say something like over $1 million.

Troy Ave: I don’t even need any label money. I’m straight. I want to do a group thing…a business partnership where they give me a million in marketing and promotion. I need to put my music in stores across the world, and I need the biggest promotion that’s ever been done in a decade for an artist in New York. I’m from the biggest city, so we need that. My music is like heroine, it’s one of the most addicting drugs. When someone hears it, they love it.

DX: You don’t seem like a Brooklyn dude. You have a smooth thing going, almost like a Harem Mase thing.

Troy Ave: Nah, hell no. I’m a Brooklyn nigga. Ask anyone from Brooklyn about Troy Ave, I’m on some Brooklyn shit.

DX: What was your reaction to making the Billboard charts?

Troy Ave: I was like, “Oh shit, that’s ill.” That was the first album we sold. I thought I was gonna sell a couple hundred copies and get like 100,000 downloads. So to come in at #47 on Billboard was ill. I sold 3,000 records in 12 hours, and after that it was free. I gave the shit away for free. I was proud of myself and my team.

DX: Back in September you told the Breakfast Club that you were spending more money than you were making. Is that still true?

Troy Ave: Nah, it might be balancing out now. I still got more money spent, but now it’s not like I’m spending $10,000 a month but only making $8,000.  I’m making more than I’m spending. I invest in myself. I ain’t catch up to what I spend yet. This Rap shit really starting to work for a nigga. It’s working out.


RELATED: Troy Ave - New York City: The Album [Album Review]



  • Sjumbs100

    He is dope. Less (to no) fake in his voice when he raps, raps about his regim. Definitely here to stay.

  • chi town

    How can you say that when the young man trying to restore this bullshit clone ass music thats out now every body sound the same can you see" or should i say do you know hip hop or maybe im wasting my time responding to a little Wayne wana be!

  • Not Impressed

    This guy's been straight garbage for YEARS. hang it up already no one cares about YOU (Troy) you're a gay lame loser and an undercover faggot im Not Impressed

  • Anonymous

    Anyone see the freshman freestyle where he was waving money around the whole time he spat? Extra corny

    • 614grind

      wow you're extra corny and broke let me put my dick in your mouth nigga. nah but you might like that though

  • Iggy Fresh

    Troy gets compared to 50 because of his erratic and syrupy conversational flow that is is very early 50's ('99-'03.) He's not as dope as 50 was, though.

  • Since1985

    Tory ave,I gave a chance to prove me wrong but still as wack as the next cookie cut rapper, an ya man wasn't outta place sayin sheek was wack, at best he's average even jada ain't as hot as anyone made out. Whatever happened to niggaz like Kam, O.C, Da lench mob, O.K, tribe etc "Whatever happened to the type of spit that used to help a fellow out" - MF DOOM

  • 614grind

    this n!gger undercover gay. Columbus, OH niggas would run trains on him.

    • 614 full of flamers(homos)

      wow running trains? Columbus, OH is super gay

    • 614grind

      nah Columbus, OH is the 3rd gayest city in USA via homo population. San Fransciso is 1st adn Atlanta number 2 look it up. also lame niggas in Reynoldsburg(soft suburbs) and Pickerington, OH(soft suburbs lotta white kids that wanna me cool) swear that they Bloods all they do is scream out 22nd and Livingston and throw up B signs all day while bumpin Lil GAYne from their cars and smart phones.

    • 614GRIND

      Stop using my profile name, ok? It ain't my fault somebody from my town scarred ya bitch ass for life. Be mad at ya parents for that weak ass gene pool you come from.

  • Anonymous

    if you heard hip hop for the first time in 2003 your opinion is irrelevant!

  • Anonymous

    its pretty simple. shit got saturated until it just became default. now ppl had a break and they're ready again.

  • hoodCNN

    2 yrs from now Troy Ave. gonna be history. A: Do u remember the dude that said he was gonna bring NY back? B: No A: I think his name was Avenue something?...cant remember..u know the rapper they said sounded like the other rapper that was signed to Shady/Aftermath? B: No dont know that dude either A: Oh well forget it then.

  • Dirty South

    Never heard his music, and I don't want to hear it. He seems like a clown.

  • Anonymous

    most these fans on here dont know anything about hip hop most heard there first rap album in the mid 2000 thats one of the reasons that hiphop is watered down and garbage lyrics no direction ,no substance no passion in it anymore from most of theses so called hot rappers cause the fans of today dont know good hip hop cause they dont know the history and dont care to learn the real art !

  • Anonymous

    fuck troy ave. bEASTCOASTin all day

  • 614grind

    This nigga str8 garbage. Got worse bars than Sheek Louch from D-BLOCK. I wish he'd come to Columbus, OH we got real G's here. Everybody here is wannabe Bloods screamin' 22nd & Livingston ave

  • John

    First of all Nas brought New York their respect, and Big capitalize and alot of other artists got instant respect. Jay didn't get instant respect until 98. Get off his balls. I don't see anything special about this cat. Copying 50 isn't bringing New York back. I don't hear his music playing anywhere. I am in DC MD and VA all the time. I have never heard him on the radio station. He is a 50 wanna be reject that suck balls to NY DJs and radio. Outside of NY, he is viewed as a cornball. He just the most active in NY trying to get coverage and staying in front of mainstream artists and cameras. Nothing special. This definitely not NY hiphop and no one can play 50 better than 50.

    • Kalistus

      Hip-Hop was birthed in NY and existed before Nas's breakthrough year. If NY wasn't respected prior to him then it would never had caught on to other states/regions. (In response to the only part of your statement I really disagree with)

  • D.G

    Troy Ave killing em! Quality Street Hip-Hop at its finest. I give him props because he doesn't compromise who he is as an artist. I just he stays independent, so he won't have to collaborate with these other f**kboys!!!

    • Anonymous

      lol whut? i seen him taking crazy shots at niggas on twitter, talking about industry fakes and next thing you know hes posing for pictures with the biggest fraud in rap, Officer Ricky from the south!. thats a fuck boy.

  • Wack

    Troy Ave is wack and I'm from New York

  • Anonymous

    Summer Jam was such a fail for this guy. He thought he was gonna bring Yayo and Banks out with him to do their songs and bring the drama but they blew him off for the G-Unit reunion which he would have had to watch from the crowd because he called 50 Cent wack.

  • 614grind

    It's now or never for Troy Ave.

  • Rap Fan Guy

    This guy sucks. He has no personality in his interviews, his raps or stage performances. He's a one-note rapper and his music is not like HEROIN (not heroine, the female version of a hero, you fucking retard "journalist" fucks). If his music is like heroin it's been stepped on multiple times because he has absolutely no originality or discerning factors whatsoever. This guy is cookie cutter garbage. Fuck Troy Ave and his boring ass.

  • SBMobil

    Not one thing he just said made any sense within the context of reality! Only a fool would say he's a hustler, yet admit he's losing money investing in himself = retarded! Why would a "major" label invest in him if he can't even break-even or make a profit investing in himself???? #Nonsense

    • Not Impressed

      SBMobil what your username stand for some type of fake shitty business? I looked it up you and getting no money faggot ass. im NOT IMPRESSED

  • Anonymous

    Good stand up dude he gon blow!! cant wait