Troy Ave isn't busy trying to be someone that he's not. While many New York rappers have co-opted other regional sounds into their music, the Brooklyn MC plans to stay true to his hometown on his upcoming independent debut, New York City: The Album, out in November.
In fact, the album's first single, "New York City," unites Troy with veteran New York giants Raekwon, N.O.R.E. and Mobb Deep. "This record 'New York City' is the title track on the album, and it fits into the larger scheme of the album because it gives you that classic feel. It sets the tone. This record shows you I'm not playing," Troy told MTV News from the Brooklyn set of the song's video.
The track which was produced by newcomer John Scino, features two different generations of New York MCs over a soulful, but dark thump. As Troy shot scenes inspired by Craig Mack's classic 1994 "Flava In Ya Ear" remix video, Raekwon sat back observing the younger MC in action.
"It's what I see in him that I see in myself. To me, Troy Ave is like a  baby and don't probably know that," the Wu-Tang spitter said, alluding to Troy's crack-era street glow. " '86 for me, that was the energy I had, it's what he's bringing to the table. So I see myself in him, in many different ways."
New York City is universally recognized as rap's birthplace, and in the 1990s, it spawned a number of acts with a distinct Big Apple feel. Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, C-N-N and the Notorious B.I.G. were just a few of the acts that reigned supreme in the musical era which most directly influenced Troy. Nowadays hip-hop is less centralized, as evidenced by NYC rappers like A$AP Rocky and French Montana, who have made notable hits with sounds from the Midwest and South. It's a road that Troy doesn't want to travel.
"N.O.R.E., Raekwon, Prodigy, I admire them n---as. They do what I aspire to do. I don't wanna spit no chuck," he said, noting that he doesn't intend to deliver any disposable music. "I want to spit it and I want you to feel it... New York set the trends, fashion, music, everything and we gotta bring it back to that."
Raekwon is definite a fan. "He has the potential to grow, I feel like he's gonna grow even more because he understands his history," the well-regarded wordsmith said. "As long as he stay hard working and doin' what he gotta do, it's on, he gonna get it."