Lil’ Troy: Ballin’ Outta Control

efore anyone cared who Mike Jones was or how Chamillionaire was riding, there was Lil’ Troy. One of the first rappers out of H-Town, Lil Troy has been in the game for nearly 20 years. Oddly enough though, Troy quickly asserts that he’s long been more of a businessman than an MC. Still, the man’s […]

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efore anyone cared who Mike Jones was or how Chamillionaire was riding, there was Lil’ Troy. One of the first rappers out of H-Town, Lil Troy has been in the game for nearly 20 years. Oddly enough though, Troy quickly asserts that he’s long been more of a businessman than an MC. Still, the man’s grind’s been strong in three different decades, though the pinnacle came in 1999’s “Wanna Be a Baller,” a H-Town local hit turned crossover anthem.

That was seven years ago. Since, Troy has been battling another Houston veteran, Scarface, in court and on wax. Disputes over copyright led to a $225,000 lawsuit amidst Troy’s successes. Then, more recently, Scarface labeled Troy on a snitch on The Geto Boys’ “G-Code” last year. With his documentary, Paperwork, Lil’ Troy pulled a Michael Moore in retaliation. The film alleges that ‘Face is a police-informant himself, and has some weighty cosigns to prove it. Troy, however, says that his film is being ignored – a product of an industry blackball.

Unstopped, Lil’ Troy and Short Stop Records surge onward. With an album slated for autumn release before distribution is even secured, Troy continues to show his hustler ambition. Catch up on the H-Town baller that seemingly taught Chamillionaire a thing or two about catchy choruses… For those who don’t know, tell me a little about the history of Houston rap and where you fit in?

Lil’ Troy: Houston rap goes back to the early ‘80s. We were all listening to Sugar Hill Gang and all that and then when the gangsta rap came out in like ‘88 or ’89. I put the rapper, Scarface out. There were only like two or three other companies in Houston that were making moves. There was Southpark Coalition and the people on the North Side: Rap–A–Lot. There weren’t a bunch of people out here putting music down. What do you mean by “put Scarface out”?

Lil’ Troy: I had Scarface when he was 16 years old. I was the first person to put an album out on Scarface. The song [“Scarface”] that y’all all hear and like, “I started a small time dope game cocaine/ pushing rocks on the block and never broke man,” Lil’ Troy put that out in 1988. Lil’ Troy is the one that gave him his persona. His rap name at the time was Akshen. I gave him the name Scarface. So what happened with you two? He went on to something else?

Lil’ Troy: Yeah, he went on to become the new Geto Boy with Rap-A-lot. Were you part of the legendary Screwed Up Click?

Lil’ Troy: Nah, but I had songs on some of their projects. I started the Houston rap scene. I was the first person on the South Side…in H-Town period, to put out a rap album. There was no one putting out rap records at the time except Short Stop [Records], which I own, and Rap-A-Lot. I was the first person to put a Scarface song on the radio, in the club or anywhere. And that was in ‘88. I started the rap scene. And the Screwed Up Click, they all from my neighborhood. Those boys are all under me. I raised half those boys up. You ask them and they’ll tell you, “Yeah, Lil’ Troy is a real pioneer, he started it around here.” Would you say that you paved the way for other Houston rappers like Paul Wall, Chamillionaire and Mike Jones?

Lil’ Troy: I helped pave the way, from the beginning, by putting the rap scene down in Houston to now. When I came out with “Wanna Be a Baller,” that really opened the door and put a lot of light on Houston. And at the time I had a lot of local guys on my album and they got national attention. That helped the Houston scene so I gotta say that I’m a big influence. I’m glad that those boys took advantage of it and got the door open which allows me to come back and drop an album. It takes all of us to build a city like this. That record was on Sittin’ Fat Down South in 1999. For those that don’t know, what have you been doing since then?

Lil’ Troy: I released an album with Koch Records, Back to Ballin, and I had a video with Lil’ Flip. Before he came out, he was on an album with me. The album came out on September 11th when the planes hit the World Trade Center. I didn’t put anything else out except for this Paperwork DVD that I have out right now. Tell me about the project? It’s getting a lot of controversy…

Lil’ Troy: It’s a brief DVD about the rapper Scarface. Me and Scarface been going at it for a long time. I’ve been letting him get away with a lot of stuff, and now it’s time for me to retaliate. Scarface is on a four page affidavit introducing his friends to the [police] as a cocaine supplier. They call Scarface by his government name, Brad Jordan. The guy who went to federal penitentiary for six years is on my DVD talking about it. And Scarface has misled the people that he’s a real gangsta, hardcore street rapper when he has otherwise violated the G-code. And the public demands to know this. Everyone who’s been calling over to Scarface, he won’t answer any of the allegations. A lot of magazines won’t report this ‘cause they don’t want to think that Scarface is a rat. So this project is all about Scarface?

Lil’ Troy: It’s between me and Scarface ‘cause we got history together. Scarface called me a snitch on “We Don’t Talk to Police” from the last Geto Boys album. He called my name out on that song. Anytime you reference another man as being a snitch and you don’t have no paperwork, then you’re less of a man yourself just for calling somebody out just to make yourself look big. This is my response to Scarface. I got you on a four-page affidavit. I ain’t just call you no name, this is what the government said you did. When did the beef between you and Scarface begin?

Lil’ Troy: The beef first started when he sued me and got $225,000 out of me. Why did he sue you?

Lil’ Troy: Copyright infringement on a song [“Scarface”] that me and him had put together in 1989. I put the same song [“Small Time”] back out in ‘99 on my album with Universal and he sued me for it. But they, Scarface and Rap-A-Lot, had gotten big off of the song when they released the same exact song. I never sued them, but they sued me. How long has this DVD been out?

Lil’ Troy: It came out about three months ago. I’ve been promoting it, and like I said, none of the magazines won’t touch it. They’ll just make a little comment about it. Do you have an album coming out too?

Lil’ Troy: Yes. It’s called Hush. It’ll be out in October on Short Stop Records. What’s the sound of the album?

Lil’ Troy: I’m fittin’ to incorporate a new sound out of Houston. Right now, Houston has that laid back, slow screwed up feel. But I’m gonna incorporate that slowness with a little crunkness and twist it a little bit to give it a Southern feel. And add some guitar and bass back into our music instead of just all drums. I want to reach more than just the little 15-16 year olds. I want to reach the 30 and 35 year olds too. And in order to do that, you gotta have some music, some rhythm up in your songs. What cosigns do you have riding with you on this one? That’s also an important thing in H-Town…

Lil’ Troy: My new single is with the late, great, Fat Pat. He died a little while back, he was on the song “Wanna be a Baller” with me. I have Lil’ KeKe, and my camp The Go-Getters, Cool & Dre, Drew-ski, The Assassins, and I have the East Side Cheddar Boys from Detroit on there. I did some moving around. How have you grown as an MC from your last project?

Lil’ Troy: I haven’t just grown as an MC, ‘cause I ain’t no MC. I’ll go ahead and spit some game and tell you about what’s going on in these streets. That’s what I’m going to tell you. I ain’t never said I was an emcee. I’m a businessman. I make business moves and business decisions. What happened with your distribution deal with Universal?

Lil’ Troy: They didn’t have enough money. I’ve been putting out records independently for years. It’s like going from getting $7.50 a CD to $1.25. They want to put stipulations on when you can release the album and what can be on the album. I’m my own A&R. I don’t need anybody to A&R me. I just need your machine to push it. So now I got off their label so I can find me another situation for an independent distribution deal, that way, we make more money. So you still need distribution for the new album?

Lil’ Troy: Yes. But I’m gonna do like I know to do: Release a single, and make it hot in the streets, and on the radio and then they’ll come and call me like they normally do, “Troy, what can we do? We want to put this album out.” In the past 10 years, you’ve been in and out of jail. What landed you there?

Lil’ Troy: I’m a hustler. I go and get it. I go get it and come back with it, or I don’t come back at all. I got caught up each time for drugs. What does the future hold for Lil’ Troy?

Lil’ Troy: Back on top, back as a household name. Success for my record company, clothing line, and movies. I’m just back at it. It’s like I’ve been given a new birth with this music again.