Troy Hudson: Running with Wolves

When you’re ballin’ out of control, both literally and figuratively, it’s probably pretty easy to lose your focus. Although most of us may never know what it’s like to be in the highest tax brackets, we have done everything within Hip-Hop culture to swagger ourselves into that image. Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard Troy Hudson, a.k.a. […]

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you’re ballin’ out of control, both literally and figuratively, it’s

probably pretty easy to lose your focus. Although most of us may never

know what it’s like to be in the highest tax brackets, we have done

everything within Hip-Hop culture to swagger ourselves into that image.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard Troy Hudson, a.k.a. T-Hud, has been

working for years to stay as grounded as possible through his music,

despite the five-million-plus per year salary he earns.

Through his travels, Illinois native T-Hud has met up with some of the best and brightest in today’s music scene. His new album Undrafted

includes guest spots from the likes of Three 6 Mafia, UGK and Ray J,

but he has kept the production relatively low key by utilizing

newcomers to attain his own unique sound. It’s all about being

relatable to his fans for Troy, even in doing fun things… like giving

away his $50,000 chain on his Myspace page.

We took a trip out to Minneapolis to meet up with T-Hud and his

NuttyBoyz Entertainment team at their state of the art studio.

Ironically, that night the T’Wolves played against the NBA’s first

platinum rapper Shaquille O’Neal and his Miami Heat team. After the

glitz of the game, we had a quiet conversation with T-Hud about his

mission to keep it real in his music, and why there’s more to his life

than ballin’. People joke that ballplayers shouldn’t rap ever since Shaq-Fu. What do you say to that critique?

Troy Hudson: First of all Shaq-Fu did two million,

[laughs] so that’s pretty successful – but I think in today’s world

that Hip-Hop has gone a different direction. I think Hip-Hop still has

its street edge, but I also think Hip-Hop is very image driven. I think

that Hip-Hop and athletics ties in, whether the athlete himself is

rapping or the athlete has a crew of cats who are rapping, because most

athletes into professional sports [like] football, basketball or

baseball is from the inner city.

In the inner city, one of the main outlets in today’s world is Hip-Hop.

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, either you were a great athlete or you had a

great education. You were a lawyer, doctor, baseball player or

basketball player; you had a chance to make it. From the late ‘80s into

the new millennium now it’s either you have a great education, [you’re

a] basketball player, lawyer, doctor, or into Hip-Hop. I believe that

now most athletes have crews of guys who really can really rap, whether

it’s themselves or their crew. I think you’re gonna be able to see in

the near future that Hip-Hop is gonna be driven from an athletic

entertainment base. It goes hand in hand.

I can say, for one, Cam’ron had a chance to be a great Division 1

player. He didn’t have the grades or whatever, I don’t know what the

actual thing was. He went to one of the number one junior colleges in

the country to play basketball. You have a lot of guys who were great

at basketball, football or whatever that just didn’t [make it] whatever

it was [due to] grades, their attitude or whatever. They didn’t have a

chance to make it in the athletic sport world, but they come from the

inner city and they find a niche in rap.

I wanna be that guy who really steps forward and really makes the

blueprint for athletes on how to do it. Most athletes have the dream

and the focus, but they don’t know how to do it. I’ve been doing this

for 15 years – even before I got in the NBA – because coming from a

small city and a small school I knew I wouldn’t get drafted. I didn’t

want to put all of my eggs in one basket. This is something I really

attached myself to as like, “This is a way to help my family too, and

make it out the hood. I’m gonna jump into this too.” I just never lost

track of that. What do you offer to Hip-Hop that might be missing right now?

T-Hud: I think I offer a well-rounded album. I think I offer a

well-rounded sense of Hip-Hop, studying Hip-Hop is a lost art. I think

most people don’t study Hip-Hop, I know for me, I studied 2Pac, Biggie,

Jay-Z, Nas, Master P’s business savvy. I really studied Hip-Hop. I

think a lot of people go with what’s hot today and that’s why you get a

lot of one hit wonders. I’m very fortunate and blessed to not have any

gimmick records on my album. It was tempting to be like “Man, this

banging in the club. I’m a gonna make something just like this.” But

when I really checked myself like “Is this really you? If it aint you

don’t do it”, I didn’t do it and I’m really blessed to have a album

full of me. How important is it for you to bring people in, give them jobs and teach them how to be independent themselves?

T-Hud: It’s very important, because for me I’m a guy who looks into the

African-American community and says, “Hip-Hop is another way.” A lot of

people outside of the inner city look at it and say, “Hip-Hop is

violent.” My thought on it is, would you rather a rapper being on TV

saying this stuff in your home, or would you rather a rapper being in

your home doing what he’s saying? For me, Hip-Hop is no more than

Hollywood on audio, it’s no more than that. For me it’s an opportunity

for young African-Americans, it’s another avenue where we can prosper

in life.

I don’t see anything wrong with us really expressing what we’ve been

through in life. It’s nothing more than old ritual slave hymns. We just

talking about what we’ve been through. I really wanna give guys an

opportunity who [are from] the streets, because everybody can do this.

It gives people the opportunity to come in and put their creative input

into something they really stand for. That can really help our culture. How do you protect yourself financially, realizing people might latch on to you because of your money?

T-Hud: That’s a tough one, because a lot of times, people count your

money. I’ve been burned many times, people look at what I make from

basketball. They don’t look at what I make from music. At this point

right now, I haven’t made much from music, I made most of my money from

basketball, that’s going out there and working every night. I work for

what I have right now, so it’s tough. But at the same time you have to

teach young guys that when you see those videos on TV that’s not their

cars, house, or jewelry. Them guys make 15-cents an album, this is how

you could make your money. Stick in there, do what you need to do and

one day you can be a boss like me but you have to take the steps. It’s

all about teach rather than show. When you look down the road five years from now, where do you see your label and your music going?

T-Hud: I wanna bring something to the forefront that’s never

really been there, and that’s Midwest. When you look at it you never

see the Midwest as a whole. You have your soul artists and great

producers such as Kanye and R. Kelly in the R&B world, you have

Nelly, Coo Coo Cal, Common, Twista, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die. All

those guys who are running together individually, but you’ve never had

a label. You’ve never had your Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella, Murda Inc., and

that’s what I want NuttyBoyz to be. Tell us about the album and the process behind [putting it together].

T-Hud: I wanted to make a well rounded album, but I also wanted to be

me. I studied 2Pac, Biggie, [Three 6] Mafia, UGK, 8Ball and MJG, Snoop

Dogg. That gave me south, east, west, a well rounded view of Hip-Hop.

That’s how I wanted to make my album. I don’t want to be labeled as a

Midwest artist, I’m from the Midwest, but I don’t want people to say

“He’s a Midwest artist, a South artist, a East Coast or West Coast

artist.” I want people to say “That’s a nice album, I can feel that. I

don’t care where I’m at or where I’m from, I like that album.” In marketing, do you feel it’s important to

assert that you’re a ballplayer, or do you want to let the music speak

for itself?

T-Hud: I’m gonna take the odds on this, I want everybody to

know I’m a ballplayer. I can’t disguise that and that’s one of the

challenges I’m accepting because I want people to know it’s a new day

and age. Ballplayers is about to put it down in this entertainment

business. Not only music, movies [as well]; Baron Davis has a film

company. I want people to understand that just because I play

basketball don’t mean that I didn’t have dreams of being the next

big-time entertainer, on the music level, the film level or whatever.

I’m taking that challenge, I want that challenge. I want people to say

“He’s a basketball player and he did it. He drew the blueprint up. He

perfected it, put it out there and he was successful in it, he put it

out there. He’s the first one to do it.”

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