“Disloyal ass niggaz ran and left me fighting for my life. I was down to die for them niggaz. They was ten feet behind me when shit popped off. You wanna talk about ‘We left cause, we ain’t know what was going on.’ Nigga you ain’t come to find out what the fuck was going on. Niggaz owe me more than that.”

Troy Ave’s rant at the end of “Mafia,” the opening track of “Dope Boy Troy,” is almost longer than the song itself. It’s certainly more memorable than the song itself. I can only assume Ave is this irate because the album came out in 2017 and he was arrested for a shooting in 2016 at a T.I. concert where his friend and bodyguard Ronald “Banga” McPhatter died. Footage from the incident showed he was one of several shooters involved, but a rival named Taxstone was convicted last year and sentenced to 35 years in prison. He didn’t get off scot-free though as Troy (real name Roland Collins) got a one year sentence in exchange for testifying against Taxstone.

I’m telling you all of this to explain Troy Ave’s obsessions on “Dope Boy Troy,” not just in the opening track but in the twelve minute long “Amazing Grace.” It’s not even a song. It has a piano instrumental in the background, but it’s just Troy Ave recounting his memories of the fateful events of the day, testifying just as surely as if he was in court talking about the incident. I understand his burning desire to explain his side of the story, but this takes up 30% of an album that’s 40 minutes in total. Without this track the album would be under a half hour in length, and it feels like something better served as a podcast than as part of this album.

The drama could have been avoided. Taxstone and Troy Ave had been in an escalating war of words for years but threats on wax turned into real life violence. One man died, multiple people including Troy himself got shot, and jail bids were handed out over it all around. The beef isn’t even over yet as Ave has been celebrating Taxstone’s lengthy sentence, undoubtedly feeling vindicated by the verdict while also knowing Tax can do little to retaliate. Now while Troy Ave is much higher profile than Taxstone, to the point I had never even heard of Taxstone before shit literally popped off between them, it feels like poking a sleeping bear to me. If Tax hated Troy so much he was willing to do 35 years for attempted murder, is he going to hate Mr. Collins less for mocking him? People behind bars have a longer reach than you’d think and unfortunately the history of rap music has shown that beefs don’t die easily.

“Haters don’t want me to breathe” quips Troy on “Donald Pump,” and he’s right about that. It’s time to tell an unfortunate truth though — all of the drama is more intriguing than “Dope Boy Troy” is itself. The escalation of violence surrounding Troy Ave proves he’s right about his haters, but he spends so much time talking about them that even the aforementioned song gets bogged down at the end with it. As credibility goes I give Mr. Collins an absolute 10 out of 10. He’s not making this shit up. He talks it, he lives it, he’s been shot over it, and the legal system is taking their pound of flesh from everything related to it. It’s strange to call it boring then, but this isn’t a “hater” talking. This album provides very little worthy of repeated playback aside from “Freaks Only.”

If Mr. Collins spent more time making catchy upbeat anthems like this one on the album… well it still wouldn’t be a classic, but it would be a whole lot better. I just find myself weary by the end of 40 minutes. I’m weary of hearing how real he is, how much everyone hates him, and his incessant desire to respond to all of his critics. The best response to a critic or a hater though isn’t to talk back to them on your album. You could be having fun and your audience could be having fun instead. “Dope Boy Troy” has a few moments that shine and a lot that are tarnished by a lack of focus on rapping. We don’t need your credentials Troy. We do believe you, and you don’t need more people. To quote a famous line from a movie, Lighten up Francis.”

Troy Ave :: Dope Boy Troy
5Overall Score