Video captures shooting in Irving Plaza green room

  Stray Shots: The Downfall Of Troy Ave

Controversy seems to follow Troy Ave everywhere he goes. The fallout from his sophomore album Major Without a Deal became social media meme fodder after first week sales were released. Meanwhile, he lost much respect within the culture for a below-the-belt diss to Joey Bada$$ alongside calling the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper weirdos as an insult. For a city like New York fighting desperately for relevance in the internet era of constant content, he sounded like the aggressive street emcee many from the area turned for. In another episode of “when keeping it real goes wrong,” the “Doo Doo” rapper got caught up in a shooting Wednesday night at a T.I. the concert that left three people wounded and one dead who eventually was revealed to be Troy’s close associate Banga. Facing illegal weapon possession and attempted murder charges, this may be the end of a shaky yet, interesting case study regarding The Big Apple’s Hip Hop scene. Taking time to discusses current events, HipHopDX Editor-In-Chief Justin Hunte, Managing Editor Trent Clark, Senior Features Editor Ural Garrett and contributing writer Marcel Williams give their thoughts on the most disappointing rap moment of 2016 so far.

Is This The End Of The Troy Ave Saga?

Trent: May 26th, 2016, a pretty exciting but also a big bummer day for Hip Hop. Gucci Mane is releasing new music as a free man but the breaking news is Troy Ave as of has been charged with attempted murder and criminal possession of a firearm from the events yesterday at Irving Hall. There’s still no details of who he was shooting at, they say it was Maino and Maino just released that statement so we’ll see what prosecutors say but as far as we know he accidentally killed his friend. Allegedly. Officially, dude is done. I think he’s done. It's a wrap. What about as far as street cred raps? He’s probably looking at some time but what about his bars and his career being one of the sensations?

Ural: I think it's interesting you asked that question because it happened the same day Gucci got out of jail right? So, he’s free and there’s a big celebration when technically his road to jail was probably on par with Troy Ave. You know Gucci socked a chick on camera, hit a veteran over the head with a bottle and threw a chick out of his car at 80 miles per hours because she wouldn't suck his dick. I think there are two key differences between Gucci and Troy Ave. One is that he has a solid body of work that on a street level people revere. But, also I think that within Atlanta, he’s essentially the nucleus of what we have in new Atlanta today. As opposed to Troy Ave who’s had a subpar at best output and has unsuccessfully beefed with some heavy hitters. So, it’s like the unifier like Gucci or the guy who destroyed these bridges in New York. But, the reality is that Troy Ave and this weird fucked up thing about people celebrating on social media is because he’s built himself as this bully and now his chickens have come home to roost.

Marcel: Yeah, I mean I think when you look at the differences between Gucci and Troy Ave, you have to go along the lines of his street cred being built up. Yeah, that's awesome, but you can’t really record an album from Rikers for the next 30 years. So that's great you have street cred but now, you have no career, no stream of income coming in and you have nothing. You have your street cred I guess. But, even if you look at it compared to a Bobby Shmurda, at least Bobby Shmurda had one popping song before; granted he snitched on himself in the song and that's why he is where he is, but at some point he’s going to get out and he’s going to have a chance to make one more good song.

Ural: Plus, the thing about Shmurda is that he was so new in his career to where he didn't make any enemies and he made enough friends. I think people like the character of Bobby Shmurda enough. At this point, I feel like you’re not really important as a rapper if you go to jail unless somebody has a hashtag free whoever movement. I don't see Troy Ave getting that 'Free Troy Ave' treatment anytime soon. More like memes.

Trent: So, is there stupidity in street cred? Because from seeing this video and hearing all the facts that we know so far, in my opinion, it looks pretty stupid. It's a concert, there may be an altercation and obviously, he wasn't there alone, but it just shows him busting off his gun like what does he think is going to happen in that situation? Is he thinking, being stupid or is he being a product of the street and defending himself in the best way he knew how?

Marcel: There’s definitely a fine line between street cred and stupidity. To question Troy's street cred, I don't know what he has or hasn't done, but I do know where I’m from. Real street dudes don't have to go to those lengths to prove themselves. They are who they are. Their “rep” is solidified. They don't have to walk up into a concert with people and lick shots at somebody just to prove their street cred or their toughness. They pick and choose their battles. They got beef if it’s Maino all right, I’ll see you outside because he has to come outside at some point. They never put themselves in those stupid situations to where you don't even have the last laugh. You’re not going to attempted murder rep in New York. Let’s take away the illegal gun charge because that's probably like five years on its own. Plus he’s on video discharging it, so that's probably another 10 to 15 years just for reckless endangerment of everybody around him. Then if they hit him with inciting the violence, which is probably what the attempted murder is, I’m no lawyer but…

Ural: Even with the video, there’s no real context to what is happening in the video is anyway. So, I can’t say that now but the reality is he was caught on camera discharging a gun. So even if you take that footage compared to the infamous C-Murder footage of him lighting up a club when he was doing the Gears of War blind fire type shit, I think from a media standpoint, it looks bad because all we know was that he shot himself in the leg and maybe shot first. Maybe it was just some street niggas trying to test him. There’s no real great context to what happened. And I think we’ll probably be debating this for years to come, but I think with how Troy Ave built himself up to this point by calling Kendrick Lamar and Kanye weirdos, his alleged situation with Maino or the whole disses to Capital Steez made cases against him. And then you add the whole sales situation with Major Without a Deal, and if people don't like you, all they need is something to put the nail in the coffin and this was it.



Trent: So state your perception of Troy Ave before this. Nobody was thinking about Troy Ave before he made these headlines last night. How does your perception of him previously to this incident affect your outlook on the whole situation now?

Marcel: This whole situation just feeds into the perception that I had of him. It’s dumb. He has a poor team around him, makes poor decisions, makes poor music and this is like the four horsemen of stupidity so it really just feeds into it.

Ural: I think first off, we all know Troy Ave was supposed to be rapper #105 to bring back New York Hip Hop. That's what Troy Ave started off as. And honestly, a lot of his earlier stuff wasn't that bad. I remember Justin saying a few months ago when we had the round table discussion about the Joey Bada$$ and Troy Ave beef. Justin was saying that Troy Ave represented the street-level hustle of rap that a lot of people forgot about for the whole current Internet culture. So, part of that was how he built his core following which was through the barber shops, through passing out mixtapes at Rucker Park park pickup games and stuff like that. And in New York now where they had this identity issue, he represented this whole idea. Now whether that idea actually came to fruition, that's another discussion. I thought the whole weirdo comments about Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper were petty and jealous. That was pretty whack. But, “Doo Doo” was a decent single. I liked "Doo Doo" as a radio song.

Trent: I think as a rapper, no matter what your job, knowing that you’re in the spotlight, knowing you can be sued for the smallest fade, you constantly have to ask yourself. 'Where is the self-control?' Or, is this rapper occupation that you have on these imaginary W2s propel you just to always have this aggression because you need it in the booth and you need it for our competitors?

Ural: Just because you have this aggression and toughness doesn't necessarily mean you’re street. So you might be the type to scrap when there’s beef, but that doesn't also mean you’re trapping out 'tha bando' as well. It could just be that you’re a scrappy young kid and that's from all types of economic and social levels of youth. But I don't think that's really the issue here.

Marcel: I’ve mingled with a lot of people you’d never expect to be a drug dealer. They are some of the most down to earth people and you don't have to have that fake tough guy persona to be 'in tha bando' trapping or “street.” At the end of the day, it's a façade. And it’s unfortunate when people get trapped in their own façade to the point where they go out and do stupid shit and now they’re facing attempted murder and shooting themselves in the leg like Cheddar Bob 2016.

Ural: I think Troy Ave’s façade was like he was going to be the next 50 Cent, and we know that even if 50 Cent himself is feeling the late career effects of all the beef and stuff that's propelled him up to superstar status in the first place. The difference between Troy Ave and 50, is 50 had hit after hit after hit. So 50 Cent had it to the point of you fuck with me, or you stay the fuck away from me. Troy Ave didn't have enough social collateral to do that wild shit.

Marcel: Even compared to before Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and hit after hit, he had banging mixtape after classic mixtape and a body of work to where from 98-02 he had a great output and really good music. With Troy Ave, I honestly can’t name you one Troy Ave song off the top of my head. “Doo Doo?” I honestly think in five minutes, I would not remember the name of that song.

Ural: I also think that Troy Ave as a person wasn't really too interesting at all. I don't think he had a mythology and story built around him. And let's hypothetically say he got shot five times yesterday, he didn't discharge a weapon, he miraculously survived and came out with a dope, groundbreaking body of work that would be an amazing story.

Marcel:If Troy Ave got shot five times yesterday and made it out alive, there would be Jordan crying memes all over his pictures. Major Without a Deal was already the embodiment of a Jordan crying meme.

Trent: Wrapping up, is there anything Troy Ave can do musically to save face at this point?

Marcel: Not suck. But, to avoid what he’s facing, music should be the last thing on his mind. God bless that dude. I hope he gets through it but, music at this point should be the last thing on his mind. He’s looking at so much more he has to deal with in the short term and the long term.

Ural: The reality is he’s not going to do some Gucci shit and have like 24 mixtapes in the span of three years. That's not going to happen. Nobody is going to care about his music like that. Plus, going back to what I said about Gucci who essentially is the nucleus of everything coming out of Atlanta from Young Thug to Migos to Peewee Longway to countless others. Troy Ave hasn't put anybody on like that.

Justin: I agree that the last thing he should be thinking about is his music career. Freedom should be at the forefront of his mind. This is tragic. I’m a Troy Ave fan. I think Major Without a Deal was one of the better New York albums. It was a New York album with New York rap legends on it. You've got everybody from Fat Joe to Swizz Beatz on that shit. I like what he stands for and I like his attitude. I thought it was tacky what happened with Joey Bada$$ but I don't think anybody can look at this story and not see the seriousness in this case. I want to know what happened in that room because he came out ready. I’ve seen a lot of people saying this is karma for that Capital Steez thing.

Ural: I don't think it was just Capital Steez, I think it was an accumulation of a lot of shit.

Justin: Is it karma when you’re the dude who pulled the trigger? I feel like when you’re the actual the guy in the middle of it, you have a second to think. He spends a lot of time talking about his condos and his cars, how successful he is, and his family. I don't think that's something that goes away with a blink if something really severe just went down in that room.

Ural: I think also there’s a big blowback against Troy Ave because the overarching ramifications of this event and New York Hip Hop. In smaller markets, I know there are a lot of venues that refuse to hold rap artists because of the preconceived notions of violence and drugs. And clearly Irving Plaza is going to be shut down for a bit. Even if its shut down for a month, that means that's a month where a rapper from out of town or in New York isn't going to be able to perform there. That’s money lost. Now, there’s a possibility that some performance venues are not going to want rappers there anymore. It doesn't matter what’s the type, we don't want rappers here because look what happens.