Troy Ave Defends His Attacks On Capital STEEZ & Details His Shooting (Video)
Troy Ave’s career has massively changed since his 2015 album, Major Without A Deal. The Brooklyn, New York MC independently rose through the ranks to reach the Top 200 charts, with an LP that included appearances by 50 Cent, Puff Daddy, Cam’ron, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Ma$e, and Fabolous. At least symbolically, the BSB artist appeared poised to follow a lineage of respected Big Apple gangsta rappers.
So much has shifted.
Upon that release, which debuted at #109, Troy and borough neighbor Joey Bada$$ engaged in an online beef. As Joey touted himself “the #1 independent artist” (care of Top 5 2015 release B4.Da.$$), Troy argued that it was an erroneous claim, as Bada$$ was distributed through a division of Sony Records. While the two BK spitters bickering online was short-lived, it restarted in 2016 through a Joey freestyle, clowning Troy’s sales figures. Troy responded with a record that mocked the 2012 suicidal death of Joey’s band-mate, Capital STEEZ. Since then, fires have only flamed, with more disses on both sides.
In addition to Troy’s feud with another artist (which Ab-Soul and others later joined), the BSB founder survived two New York City shootings in 2016. The first was a high-profile backstage altercation at a T.I. concert. That incident left BSB affiliate Ronald “Banga” McPhatter dead and Ave shot. Troy Ave would be detained and promptly charged with murder. He has since been released on bail, as Troy has claimed he was acting in self-defense. Rap podcast host Taxstone was arrested on related charges in 2017. Another shooting of Ave took place on Christmas day, during an apparent attempted car-jacking. Ave was struck both in the back and head, in that incident.
Troy Ave appeared on The Breakfast Club this morning (April 5). Wearing a bulletproof vest, the artist sat in for more than 90 minutes of questioning. In whole, the interview addressed the last two years of Troy’s life. The interrogations were strong, including rumors of Troy Ave’s distance from Banga’s family (30:00), breaking with his management (8:00), and addressing legal issues on his Free Troy Ave mixtape intro that he refuses to broach in this interview.
“I’m drivin’ a fuckin’ $140,000 car in New York; I’m buggin’,” Troy says at 2:00 in. “I should have been moving the right way, wearing bulletproof vests and shit. I’m fucked up in parts of the hood,” says the MC. “Niggas know I got an ankle bracelet on,” he adds, in referring to people knowing that he may be monitored and unarmed for his December incident. “Shit just comes with success,” he states at 10:00 after Angela Yee inquires if he felt he had enemies. At 16:00, Troy details the events leading up to his December shooting. He describes it as an assassination attempt, as an individual covered his face with a tightly-pulled hoodie, approaching his driver’s door. Troy says he told the assailant “You ain’t a killa, nigga!,” and he adjusted the car to a sport setup to drive away. Accompanied by a girlfriend, Troy fled the scene and was shot as he escaped. He says the couple rushed to the hospital, where they wrecked the car and needed to run to the emergency room.
“Look up the FBI indictment; I ain’t gotta say nothin’,” Troy Ave says at 45:00, regarding Taxstone, in reference to the Irving Plaza shooting. “I never hate on a nigga in my life,” Troy adds. The MC is tight-lipped on that event, with the trial pending, but suggests that his refusal to cooperate while incarcerated is not something typical of his Rap peers.
At 1:01:00, Charlamagne Tha God proposes that 2016’s two shootings, and loss of Banga could be karma due to Troy Ave’s mocking the death of Capital STEEZ. “As far as me [suffering from] karma, what’s karma? Nigga, I got shot in my head and I survived!” After Charlamagne elaborates on his point, Troy adds, “This is a perfect example of how righteous I am, and how I do things with moral and principle. [Joey Bada$$] had a cousin that died; he died in a car crash or whatever…around that time. Now I could have [made fun of that], but I didn’t do that, ’cause that man’s life was taken from him. Nobody [deserves that]; some people deserve that. That was an unfortunate incident; that man’s life was taken from him. I purposely didn’t say nothing about that. But somebody who chooses to take they life…if you decide to put on a fuckin’ thong and stand up on the counter, and I choose to talk about that, you can’t say, ‘Damn Troy, you wrong…'” Angela Yee contends that the mocking is not only disrespectful to STEEZ’s legacy and family, but anybody suffering from depression or mental illness, and those who have lost others (including herself). Troy responds, “I got family that take medication.” He alleges that in music, nothing is off limits. “At the end of the day, we [are] in a Rap battle. Nigga, [Tupac] said some vicious shit to Big. Niggas had more vicious shit than [what I said]. Listen…nobody can’t tell me shit, ’cause I’m blessed. If anybody else had my same 24 hours in a day, and my life, they wouldn’t have my hard work, dedication, job, and most importantly, faith in God. So me havin’ my faith in God, viewing things how I view it…through The Bible, which I teach my kids ‘Don’t do this, because you’re going to go to hell if you do this’.”
Troy refers to Tupac several times in the interview. Shakur was another rapper who survived a high-profile Manhattan shooting. On “Hit ‘Em Up,” Tupac threatened to use a .44 caliber gun on The Notorious B.I.G.’s children, and bragged about allegedly sleeping with his wife, Faith Evans. On that same Death Row Records video single, he mocked Prodigy from Mobb Deep’s sickle-cell anemia.
Charlamagne argues that someone bringing up Banga in a Rap battle would not be appreciated. Troy responds, “That’s different! You not gonna appreciate shit in a Rap battle! It’s a Rap battle!” In Troy’s eyes, when competing, nothing is off limits.
Earlier in the discussion (48:00) Troy Ave tells a story about saving rapper Casanova 2X’s life at a mid-2000s Long Island pool-party. The guests says he backed some shooters off, and touts his character and loyalty.
There, DJ Envy presents a different side of the rapper. At 52:00, Troy says that loyalty has been questioned by those interviewing him. “DJ Envy called me [to come to Angela Yee’s] birthday party. I said, ‘Aight. Cool,’ I fuck with everybody on this show, heavy.” He adds that he’s hung out with Envy and Angela before. “I’m like, where the party at? The party’s at a strip club. [I asked] ‘What’s the bag?’ [DJ Envy says], ‘Nah, it ain’t really no bag. It’s for Yee.'” He believes that money was important, given the venue. “I’m not one of these broke-ass, half-ass artists that come to the strip club and don’t throw no money,” he says. “You at somebody’s workplace. Show love: that’s what I do. [I asked for $1,000 in singles, that way] I’m not takin’ no L. With Yee, we could’ve gone to any fuckin’ steakhouse you wanted to go. Me and you, whatever. But when I said nah, [there was a problem. Meanwhile, clubs provide money to celebrity guests all the time]. So when that shit, for whatever reason didn’t go through, and that shit soured our relationship, I’m like, ‘That’s fucked up.'” Angela Yee says the incident was news to her. DJ Envy admits that he “took it foul.” He adds that Troy often had called him in the middle of the night, asking for new records to be played on Power 105 before. “I do that for Troy because I see Troy’s on his grind.” Envy adds that he witnessed Troy show up, one week later, at another strip club without “a bag.” Troy explains his understanding of the situation, as DJ Envy admits that he has not played a Troy Ave record in a reported two years. The hosts then ask Troy Ave if his arrogance towards some of the Rap industry has hurt him, and the rapper weighs in.
Elsewhere in the interview, Troy says that while people are judging him for problems with “wishy-washy” members of Banga’s family, he put up Banga’s bail while others did not. The artist also boasts that he had a Mercedes-Benz and Rolex watch long before his Rap career, and how selling CDs from the trunk of his luxury car is what jump-started his music career.