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Trouble has been a household name in the rap game for over a decade. Born Mariel Orr, the Atlanta native has established his place in the A and worked with every major artist you can think of. His records are hits, while his lyrics recount his real-life experiences coming out the trenches.
In 2018, the 32-year-old released his critically acclaimed album titled Edgewood, which was produced entirely by Mike WiLL Made-It. The 16-track project saw rare features from music elites Drake, The Weeknd, and Boosie Badazz. In fact, Trouble reveals he and Boosie have enough records for a whole tape. When it comes to the label “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper,” Trouble rises to the forefront.
Last summer, he also began his #GunsDownWaterGunsUp initiative with the intent to spread love and positivity to combat violence.
REVOLT caught up with Trouble to chat about his new album Thug Luv, fatherhood, collaborating with Jeezy on “Medusa,” and more!
How’s quarantine life treating you?
I don’t know anything about no quarantine. I haven’t tried it yet, hell nah.
Atlanta is opening up again. That’s crazy.
It’s supposed to be opening up this weekend. Being real, nothing has really stopped. When they shut the businesses down, you couldn’t do the clubs and restaurants, of course. But folks haven’t really been on that.
So, you’re still living your normal life?
Basically. Besides going around the rap business like the shows, you can’t do that tip. Other than that, my motion hasn’t stopped.
You’ve been in the game for a minute. You’ve been rapping since the age of 14.
Nah, not on no real s**t. Some people get that misconstrued when I say that. Everybody was rapping when they’re 14, s**t we do when the block might be slow and everybody’s outside. Lil n**gas get to beatboxing on their chest, beating on the walls, whatever they can. We get in a circle and everybody’s going, talking about what’s going on. That’s when I first started adapting a flow and being able to put the words together.
At what point did you think music could be a career for you?
When I came home from prison. When I came home December 17, 2010; the first time like, “I’ma try this s**t, f**k it.”
Were you able to just pick it up?
Yeah, because I was still freestyling from time to time. I had a few songs I recorded before I went in, but never to the point where I was pushing it. It was never about me. When I was getting ready to come home, that’s when the OG in the streets said, “Dawg, you gon’ have the bag. The streets f**king with you, they know your resume. If you put them stories on these beats and jump into this rap s**t, this s**t’s going to be three sweet.” They’re like, “What you on when you come home?” At first, I’m assuming I’m finna jump back on the same bulls**t for real. But, they gave me a way out, I’m like, “Bet, let’s do it.” As soon as I dropped — my first song was “Bussin.” Soon as I put that b**ch out, everybody’s bussin’ for real.
How long were you locked up for?
I ended up doing two years off of seven. They gave me a seven-year sentence and I did two straight.
What was the biggest lesson you learned when behind bars?
Be a little more patient. A lot of things wouldn’t be your outcome if you’d slow your roll a little bit. We want it all so fast and so used to moving how we move, trying to get it all right then and there. You’re not trying to hear nothing at all, not even having any type of vision of what you’re going to do for yourself or how you’re going to make it. Anybody who came across the board, you’re ready to take that s**t out.
You’ve been through a lot in your life. How has music been a coping mechanism for you?
It’s been working on both ends. It works for me and it works for people who are in the turf. They can actually move around and feel like they’re safe now because if I wasn’t doing the music, a lot of motherf**kers wouldn’t be safe.
Do you believe in therapy?
I don’t know about that, but it’s so crazy you said that. The other night, sometimes, I feel like I need to lay down [on] one of them couches and holla at somebody. I got plenty of s**t, but at the same time, there’s certain s**t I’m thinking about. I be trippin’. What made you ask me that though?
I was thinking about G Herbo’s album PTSD and knowing that you’ve been through a lot, experienced a lot. You guys could actually really benefit off therapy, but a lot of people don’t necessarily entertain that option.
I feel it. I f**k [with] Herbo, I know he’s been through some s**t. But, when it comes to a lot of rappers saying that s**t, it’s the popular thing to say right now. Rappers in general, I don’t go for all that PTSD ass s**t. There’s nothing wrong with you, boy. You got a red tab on your mailbox and a big ass house with eight bedrooms, you have no problems.
Right, but at the same time, you don’t know what they all go through behind the scenes.
No, I don’t know every single person’s personal lives. For the ones that I do, who portrays that image, c’mon man. People like to make their own stories, to be able to have something to say to go along with it. I sit back, spectate, and watch. Study the game for real.
“Popped” with Quavo is a banger!
“Popped” is poppin’ in the streets. Wait ‘til the doors open back up. When everyone back out live, you’ll be able to hear me seven, eight times in a row. We’re coming like that.
Best memory from the video shoot?
The video shoot was live all the way around. I’m a real live boy, so anytime you’re actually with me in person, it’s litty. I don’t have any stale s**t. I’m down there with the folks the whole time, giving the girls shots, chopping it up, telling different stories. They’re telling me about themselves on some real kickin’ it s**t. I don’t be with all that go hide in the bathroom, wait ‘til it’s time to film. Folks can even feel me out. Nah, I want to feel you, too.
What have you learned from fatherhood?
Every moment, period. No moment is better than the last, I cherish it all. I love that s**t. A lot of folks don’t know, but I’ve been trying to have kids since I was 17. Real s**t, I was being selfish. I realized I didn’t give a f**k about certain females. I was to the point where I wanted kids so bad, I jumped straight up in that pool. No outfit on. Thank God I came out of there safe, but nope. It happened when it needed to because the ones I do have kids with, we’re at peace. We have a mutual understanding.
What made you want to have kids so bad? Were your peers having kids?
Hell nah. My momma personally, it’s six siblings of us in total. But, my momma’s just me and my little brother. My whole thing is wanting to do something different from how I grew up and how I was raised. I wanted to have my own — be able to show how things should be or what you’re supposed to be doing.
Let’s talk about “Medusa” with Jeezy. Was that the first time that you guys collaborated?
F**k yeah. It was never even a thought in the beginning. I’m excited about doing that together. When I do any song, it’s about how I feel. What I’m seeing, what my day consisted of, that’s how I make my records. When I did this, I did it by myself. I’d slide to the tune. Sometimes you might hear something, “Hell nah, this ain’t it. Scratch that b**ch.” I just heard dawg on that motherf**ker. I heard his voice, it was his vibe. It was a sticky situation. We had already chopped it up previously about old times, but we hadn’t rekindled back into it.
I called him, he picked up. We chopped it up, he’s like, “Send it over, Scoob.” I actually sent him a couple options. He said “‘Medusa,’ send that now!” But, I said, “When you go in, you have to go back to the old Snow. I need those old ad libs” because I’m still in the turf. I know what folks f**k with, what they’re trying to hear. I understand your elevation and your progress. I respect that. On a music level and for a n**ga talking to you from the turf, we want to hear that “yeahhhh!” We want to hear that “chea!” I straight tell him, he went crazy. For him to actually go in there and do it, when he sent that b**ch back, now we’re talking.
What was your reaction when you heard it?
It’s up there. It’s go time. We definitely using that one.
What’s the significance of your new album title Thug Luv?
Really giving my perspective of someone from the turf — for the s**t you don’t hear from a n*gga from the streets. That’s my whole thing. I know they hear the party records like “Poppin,” “Bussin,” “Medusa,” all that. But, I did that intentionally. When clubs were still live, I wanted to put this in here and let them vibe. For the party scene, for folks who are feeling so good right now. At the same time, I never stray away far from what’s me and how I feel. I have love stories on there, I’m talking about how I feel. How a female feels in a situation or in a relationship with n**gas, that n**gas might not admit to because we don’t want to seem too soft or too vulnerable. I’m going into all those layers.
Are we going to get more R&B tracks?
The same time you’re ready to dance and party, you have to be ready to cry. You have to be ready to start looking at your partner a little bit tighter like, “Damn, are you going to be one of them f**k n**gas that Scoop talks about on that ‘Survive’ song’?” S**t like that, you have to be ready for. I’m digging in your soul.
Talk about your relationship with Boosie.
That’s my brother right there, big brother. I talked to him 20 minutes ago, he wanted me to pull up on him tomorrow. He stays out here.
You guys have a whole tape right?
Basically. I was going in, we be recording. Boosie’s just like me, it’s scary as f**k. We’re twins, that’s why we link like that. It’s crazy. It’s far more deeper than the perception people may see. When you actually around him, you don’t even get it. How a lot of people feel like I’m like a robot, he shares it. When you’re with me and I vibe you out, you’re lit and I f**k with you, you’re a good person. Then, it’s a party every time we together.
When we start recording, we do it whenever anybody feels like it. He’ll do some s**t, he’ll send it like, “Trouble, I need you to get on this.” Of course, I’d knock it out. A couple times, we did it right then and there. Some of them, I did by myself and send to him like, “Boo, get on this.” I have a whole bunch of that s**t in a stash box. We don’t have a plan for a project or when we’re going to drop, but we’re going to do it.
I know these are all your homies, but what’s Trouble’s feature price?
They have to call when they’re ready. I don’t say a number. If I tell a n**ga $15K, they’re going to be like, “Man, can you do it for the $7500?” Get your f**k ass on. When you really ready, when you’re dead serious about your business, “Aight bet. We can set it up and figure this s**t out.” I’m not with killing no n**ga. I don’t need $50K or $100K, none of that s**t. I understand someone’s responsibility, how they get their money. People are really out here hustling for that s**t, so I don’t try to kill no n**ga. I f**k with you.
What does your label MMB Records stand for?
Minding My Business. Me and My Brothers. Many Many Bloods. Many Many Bullets...
Talk about signing your first artist GhettoBabies.
You might see a couple n**ga coming out in two-man groups like how City Girls is. It wasn’t even planned from the beginning. They’re my family, these are my young n**gas in real life. I started pushing them into music, same way how the old heads did for me. I put all of them in a group like a Wu-Tang. There’s seven of them. When I first drop them, I’ma do the whole project together with everybody on the same cover. On some Wu-Tang s**t. They’ll have their own single songs on there, some songs together, just spread it out.
Talk about your relationship with Mike WiLL and signing with Ear Drummers.
That’s my person. I forever have love for dawg. That’s my friend for real, my brother besides business partners. Where we come from, when Mike was starting to level up doing all that Future and Gucci s**t, he’s someone who always bigged me up. Him and Zaytoven, they always stayed on my line, seen s**t in me that I didn’t even see in myself. They kept pushing [like], “Bro, come to the studio.”
I’d get so aggravated, I actually blocked them one time for a while. I know when you call me, you’re going to call me about some rap. “You trippin’, you need to come here and rap.” It took me to jump out my comfort zone and go out there that actually got me into the position I’m at right now. We’re still elevated. I forever have love for Mike off the respect he had for me — the drive and the push he gave a n**ga. I f**k with dawg forever.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Thug Luv out now. You don’t see this smile? Man, I’m proud.
What’s your favorite song on the project?
All of them. No one for real because it’s all my life. Everything I’m talking about, each song is s**t that was going on at some point in time.