EXCLUSIVE: Trouble exemplifies "Real Is Rare" with every move.
Last year marked the arrival of Trouble's debut album Edgewood. An instant Trap Music classic, packed with dark instrumentation and unfiltered reflections of self. At times bleak, packed with striking visuals of the witching hour and those that thrive within it. A harrowing and occasionally uncomfortable journey into the titular Atlanta projects, Trouble's unsung masterpiece made for one of the 2018's most compelling listens from start to finish. It's no surprise given all that its creator has experienced in life, and with Mike WiLL at the helm, each chapter was realized with brutal efficacy and impeccable musical chemistry.
Never failing to carry himself with unapologetic authenticity, Big Troub is layered and complex in his artistry. Although he has lived through his share of nightmarish circumstances, the joyous nature of his spirit remains intact. The product of the streets, yet genuinely hilarious in a conversational setting, there's plenty to be gained from breaking bread with the newly appointed OG. And now, following the biggest year of his career, Trouble's sights are set for the future. Read our full conversation below.
Image via Def Jam
HNHH: Hey, how you doing Trouble?
Trouble: Not bad dawg, what’s poppin’ homie?
Not too much, how’s your day going so far?
Just now gettin’ that muthafucka started. All is well though!
Before we get started, I wanted to say that it’s very inspirational to see you buy your mother a house. Very solid move. I wanted to let you know that was very cool to see.
I appreciate that man. I’d do it the same way if I had to all over again, man. That was the whole purpose of that shit. Hold your family down.
I respect that. How’s she liking it?
She loving it! She ain’t gotta do shit! She very appreciative too though, she my dawg. She a real one for sho, fo sho. She deserves that shit dawg, all is well, my bro.
When did you start to realize you were starting to become an OG in the game? When people started looking up to you like a role model.
Oh shit, on some real shit, probably this year. It ain’t even been that long for real since I’ve really been coming to grips with that shit. I started paying attention to the different conversations with the young n***as and the old heads. A lot of the old heads, who I might call OGs, they started calling upon me for advice. Just having to talk to them about real-life shit. Get them on a good path.
I ain’t ever go out my way to tell nobody ‘hey man I’m OG now,” none of that shit. I’m always bool with Skoob, Troub, Trouble, however they call me. Just out the blue, every time I pull around, n***as start being like “OG! Yo OG!”! Just from the conversations I’m having with folks, and them just following everything I do, and being with it from the youngins to everyone on up, I started thinking it’s taking a different turn.
Are you finding it hard to get used to?
It ain’t hard to get used to, cause at the end of the day, I just be being myself fo real, fo real. I’m a realist so I can teach myself the same way I can teach anybody else. I think that’s what’s most different than what everybody else be doing. Cause everybody really be all for themself and shit. I always speak my truth on everything that I see, how I really feel. No matter how someone might end up perceiving me as after the fact. That’s where the respect comes from, for them to even humble themselves enough to want advice from me.
“Real recognize real” holds true, as I see it. On another note, this year has been all about “She’s A Winner” and “Buy Yo Traphouse.” Two great tracks. Are they part of a new album you’re working on?
I’m going to drop an album in November. I ain’t put it out there to the public yet. I’m going to have to drop my new album in November. It’s dope to me too though cause I wasn’t even thinking about it like that. I really be in my own world. So like, the team, Mike WiLL end up in there, and the label--I fuck with Def Jam, they really be pushing the button. They everything I feel a label is, they really play their part. They came to me like “when you wanna drop the album?” I was like, damn, this dope as fuck, bro!
I really wasn’t thinking like that. They was like, “you haven’t put out anything in a year and some change.” I mean, we had one single out, “Traphouse” was out at the time. I was like, damn, that is all the way right. I see people all the time in the comments, all type of shit, in my phone, like “you need to put something out, we need someone to talk for us, someone speaking for the streets.” They know I’m going to speak on all layers of things. I was like hell yeah. I told them I already got three-albums ready, locked and cocked, that’s gon’ take shit into a new plateau I believe.
I’m gon’ put that motherfucka out this November.
Nice. Can’t wait for that. Edgewood was one of my favorite last years. I’d safely call that a masterpiece, honestly. It was great from start to finish, super conceptual. I don’t know if you had planned going in to put such a cohesive body of work together, but judging from The Edgewood Movie, it was clear you had a strong vision for that project.
I appreciate that.
When you were working on Edgewood, did you approach it different from other projects you’ve done in the past?
It wasn’t necessarily that I approached it different. It was kind of a whole different mentality I had at that moment. I only got there because of Mike WiLL calling me out the blue. I was in my trap when Mike called me, like ‘bro, what you got going on?’ It was out the wig, I ain’t even talk to him in a minute. I was like, ‘shit I’m in the block bro, I was at my spot working.’
He was like ‘man, fuck all that bro! Block gon’ be there. You too talented, you too hard, you got the respect, the credibility out here. Everybody loves you for real, for you just being you. I just feel like you need to get more dedicated in this shit. And god-damn we can go all the way, so pull up at the studio.”
It was like forty-five minutes away. A studio I don’t even like going to. I love the studio, it’s dope as fuck, but it’s so far it be taking me out my element. That was the moment I was like fuck it. I jumped out my box and went out there. We conversed for like an hour. And then from that moment on, we did like six-seven songs that night which all ended up being on Edgewood. That’s what really just put me into a different zone, a different mentality. Let’s go ahead and go there, fuck the bullshit. It’s like he said - street gon’ be there, but I got a chance to do something different for myself and my family, anybody who ever looked to me for guidance.
When I was listening to Edgewood, I found it was new ground for Mike WiLL instrumentally. He was doing a lot of dark, weird, eerie beats for you. And on “Buy Yo Traphouse,” I know he didn’t produce that, but it was a similar feel. Do you tend to like the spookier beats?
Hell yeah! Hell yeah, truthfully. I always been in a dark space. My whole life been dark as fuck. So that’s what brings out my reality and make it easier for me to speak on what I really be feeling. What I been going through and what I see. Whether it’s my own life, or somebody I’m dealing with out here in the streets. That’s why I don’t ever really have any of the upbeat or the party record type shit. That ain’t really my thing.
Even though n***as know I keep a thousand snacks with me when I’m moving around. I keep a lot of gangsters with me and we party a lot. It be turnt up on our end. But for me, when I’m doing music, I know my base are the motherfuckas who going through it. We already too many n***a who base is to talk about the clothes, the swag, the money. All they songs is always up, up, up. I ain’t never hearing too many motherfuckers I could go to, as far as if one of my partners would have got spent. Or somebody died in my family. I can’t go to their CD and go to no song that will be able to relate to the situation. I gotta talk for the motherfuckas who don’t have no voice in them right now. And myself.
It’s interesting how you can take a song that could be considered a party track - one of my favorites on Edgewood is “Knock It Down - it’s like a dark banger, but you’re rapping about some party vibes too. It’s a cool mix, I really like that style.
You’re into the darker beats, and I’ve seen a few of your interviews now where you mention things like demons, witchcraft, and ghouls. Are you spooked by the supernatural or anything in particular?
Hell nah, I have no fear at all. I live with no fear, and I live with no regrets. Anything that gon happen out this motherfucker, that’s just what time it is. Whenever the Big Dawg call you home, then you finished with your work down here. I have no fear. When I speak on things, it’s about what I be dealing with.
A lot of people don’t know besides someone like my lady, or a family member, or one of the homies that be right there when I’m sleeping. Eight times out of ten I be tweaked out. I still have crazy-ass nightmares. I wake up in cold sweats on a nightly basis. When I be speaking on that type of shit it just be from shit that I done experienced that still be fucking with me.
A lot of people get inspiration from their dreams. Do you ever get inspiration from your nightmares?
I really get my inspiration from my reality and my family. The street.
What would you do if someone who was looking for guidance came to you feeling afraid about something? What kind of advice would you give them?
To face it. That’s one thing I learned about in life. The more and more you run from it...That’s like if somebody facing a bully. They in school, and there’s a bully always fucking with you. Every time you see him, they see you, you run the other way. That’s gon’ cause him chasing you. The moment you stand tall and say ‘fuck that, I ain’t running no more whether I win lose or draw in that standoff,’ you gain respect for yourself and from the person or thing you was running from.
No matter if they beat you or none of that shit. In their mind, they gon’ be like, ‘n***a stood tall, he facing that shit. The next time you see that bully, he gon’ salute you. He gon’ pound your hand up. He gon’ give you tall love. That’s advice I’d give anybody - just face it.
Reminds me of your saying “Real Is Rare.” What do you constitute as being “real,” in your eyes? Especially in an industry that doesn’t always reward the “real.”
Facts. Real to me is just being yourself bro. A lot of people portray certain things, or try to be something they ain’t. That’s what’s glorified. It’s like a square. You know he ain’t gon’ fight nobody. Ain’t never shot shit or never robbed nothing. Never been in no trap, none of that shit. But it tends to be glorified in today’s world. N***as will put themselves in that box, just so they can be cheered upon by the onlookers.
But you recognize the differences once that n***a has to face some situations. When he ain’t stand tall, it be like maaaaan, I thought this dude was that! At the end of the day, what n***as have to understand is that you ain’t gotta be none of that shit! You ain’t need to have went through what I went through, none of that. You ain’t gotta shoot no n***a, none of that shit. It’s about being true to who you are.
If you been working your whole life, nine-to-five, trying to grind your way on up to take care of yourself and your family, and then you get to a point where you can do that, shed a light on that. Tell people your real truth. It’s a thousand more muthafuckers who done been in that same predicament and did the same things you did. For me, it’s be yourself.
Like the lil dude, YBN Cordae. I don’t know buddy at all, but I got respect for him just from looking at the outside in. He speaks his real life, and look at the numbers he doing. It don’t make him like he know death or none of that shit out here. It ain’t stopped him from getting money. Shorty is in a position to take care of himself and his family from being himself. He posting pictures up, showing folks he goddamn used to be a waiter. The average motherfucka ain’t going to do that cause they think n***as gon’ look at them as lame. But to me, that’s powerful. It’s going to inspire a bunch of muthafuckas who doing that same shit, to be like ‘alright, that’s cool too.” Being real is just being yourself.
Well said. I’m sure you’ve been told this many times, but you’ve got a great sense of humor. I’m sure anyone who follows you is aware of this. Can we expect to see some of your humor coming into your future music? You’re a funny dude.
Yeah. [laughs] Mothafuckas wouldn’t even think that just from looking at me, or hearing stories about shit I done been through. People feel like ‘shit, this n***a a robot. He just a superior Superman type.’ It’s like, I went through what I went through fo’ real, fo’ real. But at the same time, I’m humorous as fuck!
I don’t got no problem showing that side. I like to have fun, I like comedy shows. I’m always joking around. When it’s time to go down, we gon’ go up. But at the same time, I like to kick shit. That shit good for the soul. I don’t be intentionally putting it into my shit, it’s about when I’m doing it, if I’m feeling like that when I’m doing something, then I’ll place that shit in there. I definitely want to do some movie roles, so I can show muthafuckas you don’t gotta be one way. Be yourself, be you.
I gotta ask, what did you say that had Drake laughing like that on your Instagram page?
It was personal, I can’t put that out there! [Laughs]
Say no more!
But even with dawg, while we was trappin’ he was like ‘Troub, I met a lot of muthafuckers bro, but your vibe is just insane. Every time we link, bro. I ain’t ever really met no vibe like yours. How you kick it. You like a real lifer dawg, I fuck with you!’ It go back into what you were saying. When muthafuckas meet me in person, it’s like ‘Trouble one of the boolest n***as walking out this muthafucka.’
Amazing. Look, it’s been a pleasure. I’m a big fan of your music and everything you’re doing. Keep it up, and I can’t wait for that new album.
I appreciate the love my boy. It’s all love. Keep rocking up there, keep going strong. I appreciate you for having me.