Troy Ave is still incarcerated following a shooting that took place on May 25th inside New York City's Irving Plaza, during which one of his B$B crew members, 33-year-old Ronald "Banga" McPhatter, was shot in the abdomen and later pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital. Despite the tragedy, it hasn't stopped the Brooklyn rapper (who was charged with attempted murder) and his camp from releasing new music via a mixtape appropriately titled Free Troy Ave. In his lyrics and messages, Troy Ave proclaims his innocence and speaks on the heartbreaking and shocking death of his friend.
“You in a better place, but I'm sad and enraged/ Trying not to let tears fall on the page,” Troy raps with a heavy heart on the Intro track titled "Troy Ave Speaks," which sounds like it was recorded over a jailhouse telephone. He later declares his innocence, spitting, "I'm innocent, it ain't the end, just the beginning/ Innocent, unless they charging me with being real from the very beginning/ That's a fact, though."
Elsewhere, on "Intermission," Troy continues:
"I lost my best friend, and the sad part about it is I didn't realize he was my best friend until I lost him, and that shit hurt worse than these bullets when I got shot," followed by another heartfelt speech on the "Outro: Troy Ave Speaks," which finds the rhyme spitter thanking everyone that's supported him during this trying time before closing with the words, "This shit fucked up, this shit hurt… RIP Banga."
In between, tracks like the piano-laden "Thank You Jesus," the boastful, slow-tempo'ed "Right Now" and "Mama Tears," with its looping production, all appear on the tape. The album ends with the fitting bonus, "Bonus: Banga (RIP) – Grind," which finds the late Banga eerily rapping: "I ain't sleep in a couple of days in the same fucking clothes/ You don't grind, you don't shine, you don't hustle, you don't eat/ Trust no one, keep a small circle, the code of the streets."
Troy Ave was arrested on May 27th, following a backstage altercation during a T.I. concert that left not only McPhatter dead, but three others hurt, including the Brooklyn native himself. The arrest came after surveillance video surfaced in which someone who appears to be Troy Ave is seen, gun-in-hand, shooting into a crowd in the VIP section as concertgoers are seen running for cover.
Despites reports the dispute involved fellow Brooklyn rapper Maino, who was also on the bill to perform that night, Maino, born Jermaine Coleman, has since taken to social media to deny all involvement.
Click here to download Free Troy Ave and check back with REVOLT for more on this developing story.