Pastor Troy
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Pastor Troy is finally starting to feel like a grownup. With three major label albums under his belt and a promising future as an entrepreneur, Troy is ‘Ridin’ Big.’ The rapper, who is one of the founding fathers of Crunk Music, is not content to rest on his laurels. He knows that to stay in the game, you have must stay ahead of the game.

On his new CD, By Any Means Necessary, Troy embraces life and success but not without acknowledging the setbacks and challenges that came with it. In fact, the cover of the CD is a re-creation of the hauntingly famous photo of Malcolm X standing by a window with a gun in his hand. Moreover, much like X, Troy feels that his battle is being waged with those in his own ranks: the hip-hop community and hip-hop music in general.

Having long been on the outskirts of hip-hip, Troy, whose early musical offerings included four independent albums prior to signing with Universal Records, nudged his way into hip-hop’s inner circle with 2001’s Face Off and 2002’s Universal Soldier, which spawned the hit “Are We Cuttin’,” a Timbaland-produced smash that was also featured on the soundtrack of the blockbuster film “XXX.” Troy says his latest CD will complete his merger with the hip-hop community.

Like Troy, the music on By Any Means Necessary is busy, edgy and a bit anxious. It is as if every beat, every rhyme popped directly out of his pores onto the CD. You don’t just hear his words, you hear his voice. You don’t just feel his beats; you feel the rhythm of his heart. His first single, “Ridin’ Big,” produced by DJ Toomp (Lil Jon, T.I.) is, on the surface, a tribute to Troy’s 2004 bright yellow F650 -- a monster truck by anyone’s standards. “This truck is the first one on the road. It’s customized. Nobody has this truck. In the song, I’m talking about how the truck is big and intimidating, how everybody else is down there and we’re up here. Everything has a meaning.” Like his F-650, Troy stands out on hip-hop’s highways.

However, Troy’s not traveling solo on By Any Means Necessary. Riding shotgun on the CD are Chip and Eightball, along with fellow dirty south rappers Lil Pete, DSGB, Lil Will, and Juvenile. For Troy, choosing road dogs is all about respect. “I like people that respect what I do while I respect what they’re doing. For instance, I listened to Eightball when I was in high school. He’s someone I’ve been listening to for over 10 years and now not only did I meet him but also I got to work with him. Then when they look at me and say, ‘Troy you’re doing your thing’ that makes me feel good.”

“Boys to Men,” built around the New Edition classic of the same name, is a perfect meeting place for Troy and Eightball. Juvenile and Lil Pete weigh in on the infectious “Nice Change.”

The most introspective song on the album is “Crazy,” which pairs Troy with Lil Wayne. “It’s just talking about coming up in the music thing,” Troy explains, “how people look at you differently, people who know you and know how you feel about money and how you feel about everything. They just think you’re different, they think that you’re so much holier than thou. It’s not even like that. That’s a song that’s real to me. It’s about friends that I lost that weren’t really my friends.” On songs like this, says Troy, he uses his music as “an outlet.” “Sometimes songs are like conversations that you can’t have with people but that you can have with yourself. I would have to say this is one of the deepest songs I’ve recorded.”

Other tracks on the CD include the crunk-meets-heavy-metal head-banger “Crank Me Up” and “Atlanta,” an ear-catcher whose hook contains an interpolation of the Isley Brothers classic “Voyage to Atlantis.” The song finds a homesick Troy longing for his own stomping grounds: “Sometimes a king can miss his throne,” he raps as he enumerates the challenge and the allure of life as a rap icon. “Off the Chain” is a lustful ode to a fine woman while “Benz” – with its take on Whodini’s 1984 classic “Fri
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