TROY AVE – WHITE CHRISTMAS 8
Troy Ave was mentioned as a “SUPER-Indie” in our “Navagating The Music Industry In The New Decade” article earlier this month. Artists like Troy Ave and Young M.A haven’t even been rumored to be associated with labels, and it’s not from lack of interest or talent. [Yes, I’m aware that Ave signed a single deal with Butch Lewis‘ imprint Voicez Music Group that went through Def Jam 15 years ago. You did not hear “Rep It With My Heart” or “Bk Bk” in 2006. Stop.]
‘Dope Boy Troy’ has been continuing his annual tradition, dropping an installment of the “White Christmas“ series on annually (sans one year) since 12/25/2012. Collaborating with DJ Holiday for the original and DJ Drama for part two, Troy Ave has since taken the reigns with later versions being more album/EP-like. ‘Harry Powder’ has a few great series, including the latest “Troy Ave”, also “BSB”, “Bricks In My Backpack“, and it looks like we’ll be getting a “New York City: The Album” sequel. “White Christmas”, if not the most successful, is the most recognizable. From a marketing standpoint, Ave struck gold with “WC”. Like Uncle Murda with the “Rap-Up“, Troy Ave has accomplished associating a major holiday with new music from them. With all of that being said, let’s dig into “WC8”.
“Sweet revenge is the only emotion that I feel“, the ‘BSB’ boss spits on the opening track “Tears To My Eyes” produced by Sag Live. As the song progresses, some of that initial aggression dissolves as Ave asks “Who you gon’ blame when the murder is cancer?“. A great hook, and a soothing beat help bring this track home as the highlight “WC8”. This is top form Troy Ave. “The Angela Story”, Troy proclaims is a “Preview of NYC: The Album 2″ in its opening line. While rappers often call back to their classics for the fake-hype and nostalgia, this truly feels like it could have legit been on the original. Working with frequent collaborator, producer Yankee, helps with this notion, I’m sure. Not the greatest story you’ll ever hear, but a solid add-on and “album track” to any LP.
The album has some drawbacks, however. WC8 continues the extended talks and long skits that its predecessors set the way for. Not a problem for everyone, I’m sure, but one can see how it’d be annoying to a more casual fan. Pastor Rema is the typical long-winded prayer leader on “God Bless You” (we love Pastor Rema, though). The other interlude “New Year New Money” runs over 5 minutes, equipped with updates on “The Facto Show” podcast he hosts and business opportunities for fans (RNS btw). “Walk To The Light” produced by Butterfly / Childreamer is a definite lowlight with its repetitive hook (“Walk to the light, walk to the light light light light light light“) and somewhat pop-like instrumentation. The title track “White Christmas 8” also feels a bit mid. He has lines like “I ain’t have a verse, it was me versus the pot/Project kitchen, whippin’ whippin’ til that sucka locked“, but overall it feels uninspired.
Other notable tracks are “Miami To New York” and “Assanova 2X“. The former is a VERY unique track produced by Team Nova Boyz, that is quite literally a day in the life of Troy Ave. The details, like the uncalled for Blac Chyna airport spotting, make the story seem as real as it likely was. “Gave y’all a story ’bout me travelin’, who doin that?” Nobody. Dope. On the latter, he let’s go a barrage of scathing lyrics that instantly take us back to “Lower Level #Nutsax” from “Major Without A Deal Reloaded“. “Signed to 3 labels and suck dick for 20,000 in sales“. Not a full-on Casanova diss track, but he does have some accusations for the Brooklyn Emcee “Assonova, Assonova, he a 2 time snitch”. Joe Budden and co-host on “JBP”, Rory even catch a stray “I’ll never jerk my dogs, I ain’t junky Joseph Budden/Roof-less like my ‘Rari“. Sheesh.
Overall, this is a solid project and great to ride to on a short trip. Troy Ave has built a reputation with his fans for consistency in both, quality and quantity. “White Christmas 8” is another stripe on on Ave’s uniform. The always inspirational, effortlessly entertaining Dope Boy Troy Ave strikes again. Most importantly, another W for the SUPER-Indie’s.
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