Brooklyn rapper Troy Ave hogged headlines Thursday (May 26) after being arrested for reckless endangerment, menacing, possession of a weapon and attempted murder following the deadly Irving Plaza shooting that went down during a T.I.-headlining concert on Wednesday night.
News of Troy Ave’s arrest circulated after the New York Police Department released footage of a male suspect firing off a gun in the concert hall’s backstage area, with some reports suggesting the suspect in the video looked like the 30-year-old rapper. The shootout left three injured (including Troy Ave) and left the MC’s 33-year-old bodyguard, Ronald McPhatter, dead.
While Troy Ave has been buzzing around the rap industry for a few years now, the shooting has brought more attention to him than his catalog. Below are nine facts to know about the Brooklyn rep.
1. The independent rapper born Roland Collins took his rap moniker from the street he grew up on in Crown Heights.
2. Troy Ave offered a money-back guarantee on his first LP, 2013’s New York City: The Album, released via his independent label BSB Records and an endorsement deal with Adidas. He explained the guarantee to The Village Voice at the time, saying, “I’m going to show and prove. You can f— 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.” His biggest records, “Your Style” and “All About The Money,” procured him a Sean John deal as well.
3. Last summer, his follow-up effort Major Without a Deal, also released on his independent label BSB Records through a deal with EMPIRE Distribution, was met with poor sales. Considered a flop by social media critics, the set — which included features from Rick Ross, A$AP Ferg and Jeezy — moved approximately 9,000 copies in two sales weeks, as Billboard previously reported. It has sold 13,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen Music.
4. His formal debut as a rapper was “Rep It With My Heart/ BK BK,” which appeared on BET’s Rap City in 2006. Troy Ave was originally signed to Voicez/Universal Def Jam. From 2009 to 2015, he had a string of releases including the I’m In Traffick mixtape, the three-part series Bricks In My Backpack: The Harry Powder Trilogy followed by the triple-release White Christmas and his six-volume BSB tapes. One of his signature phrases is the term “Powder.”
6. In a 2014 interview with HipHopDX, Troy Ave explained why his come-up took some time. “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.”
7. Lately, Troy has been in the headlines for a rap beef with fellow Brooklyn MC Joey Bada$$, with the two trading barbs and bars regarding topics such as the true meaning of “independence” (neither are signed to a major label) and what were deemed Troy’s insensitive comments about the death of Joey’s friend and collaborator Capital Steez. The beef remained on wax.
8. Despite rumors that the shooting at Irving Plaza stemmed from a rap beef between Troy and another BK rapper, Maino, and their respective camps, Troy and Maino have collaborated on several records together, and Troy has worked with other fellow New York rappers such as Raekwon, 50 Cent, Prodigy, N.O.R.E., Tony Yayo, Fat Joe, Cam’ron, Fabolous and Jadakiss, among others.
9. Troy’s BSB Records also has up-and-coming rapper Young Lito on its roster; Lito recently made waves with his mixtape The Future Is Here as well as BSB Vol. 6, which was billed as a Lito tape in the same way that early G-Unit Radio tapes were billed as belonging variously to 50, Yayo, Young Buck, The Game and Lloyd Banks.