Everyone knows the track “Wanna Be Baller” that was released in 1998 off Lil Troy’s album Sitting Fat Down South. But what motivated Lil Troy to get involved in music and how was he able to release a single that made over a million dollars. I had the opportunity to interview Lil Troy on how he got started on his music career.
Lil Troy fell in love with hip-hop because of his parents. His parents use to play in a band and he would support them. As Lil Troy went to school he joined the local band, where he would play the saxophone and guitar. Then by the time he was 20 years old, he switched over to playing with synthesizers and beat machines. This is where he began to craft his sound and developed his own independent label Short Stop Records. He would do his own distribution by selling records out the trunk of his car and by placing his records in music stores on consignment.
As Lil Troy said, “This is the true meaning of being Independent. I would sell my records wearing the same jewelry and driving the same the car as what was shown on my album cover so that people would know it was me.” Lil Troy was truly branding himself and creating the connection with his fanbase that the Rolex he has on is really his Rolex.
In 1998, Lil Troy released his album Sitting Fat Down South his single Wanna Be Baller was a major hit. “I purchased ads on the local radio station to play the first verse of my song “Wanna Be Baller” then it would say Lil Troy new album out now” says Lil Troy. Radio commercials aka marketing was key for Lil Troy to push his own album. “At that time I already had so many copies sold. Then the next thing Universal Records called me and flew me out to New York the next day.” Universal Records gave Lil Troy a record deal by re-releasing his album under Universal, giving him worldwide distribution and a budget. Universal Records also bought all his albums that he previously placed at the record store at the same dollar amount that Lil Troy placed them for. In 45 days his album went Gold and is now certified Platinum. Universal Records gave Lil Troy his budget to do his music video for “Wanna Be Baller” and placed it on major networks such as MTV, BET, etc. Basically Universal Records was the vehicle that gave him the visibility to be internationally known.
However, right after the video was out Lil Troy was pending a case and was sent to Prison to do an 11 month bid. As Lil Troy states, “I was sitting in prison in the dayroom watching my video get played.” Once Lil Troy was released from prison, he recorded another album and told Universal the day that he wanted it released. Universal wanted to bring in an A&R to help execute the project. Lil Troy explained to Universal “I’m my own A & R, you all trusted me the first time.” Unfortunately Lil Troy’s album was shelved.
Lil Troy is smart about the game and made sure he put in his record deal contract a clause that states pay or play meaning if the record company does not release his album on a certain day that they have to pay him $150,000. Lil Troy got paid his fee and he asked the VP of Universal a release from his contract in which they granted.
This time Lil Troy went to Koch Records in which they gave him a deal split of 40/60, which he would keep the 60% of proceeds. His album was set to release on 9/11 but as you know the twin towers were hit that day and it was a very unfortunate day in history. Other albums that were set to be released that day were Jay-Z and a few other artists. His single, “We Gon Lean’” featured Lil Flip and was actually Lil Flip’s first video. From there Lil Flip started his career on a major label.
Lil Troy used the monies he received from the success of his album “Sitting Fat Down South” to buy a large 5 bedroom home and help him finance other business endeavors. He released a DVD called the Paperwork which features Scarface… Just so you all know Lil Troy was the first person to put out Scarface’s music back in 1988.
Lil Troy has two independent movies and a book called The Heat in the Kitchen: How to make a million dollars off one record. His son T2 is releasing a mixtape called Judgment Day on Friday June 27th, 2014. “Right now I am just working on producing my son’s music” says Lil Troy. A lot of gems that Lil Troy shared and to this day he is still collecting a check from “Wanna Be Baller” the single that made him over a million dollars. Life is good.