Lil’ Troy might have been better off not surrendering himself to the fuzz in November 1999, since he wound up serving nine months in federal detention in beachfront Beaumont, Texas, for a 1998 crime. (“Using a communications device to commit a felony,” whatever that means.) An obligatory low-speed car chase down I-45—Troy in his low-riding Escalade, feds in their navy-blue Crown Vics—would’ve made righteous TV and also probably would’ve gone over well with the appropriately acculturated rap audience that has developed a perverse taste for real (read: black) blood spewing from its stars.
Universal had endured 10 years of refrains about Troy’s preeminent stature among Dirty South artists, even though he produced a lot and rapped almost never; the company finally picked up the baller’s Sittin’ Fat Down South for distribution that ominous ’99, then duly separated from him. He is now with Koch, probably the seventh largest label on Mother Earth, but still “independent” (eeee-ya) and—now going against his mellow cool-school rep—gives it up like a cherubic five-foot-four Hammer on a hot tin Roofie. Back to Ballin’ is mostly bitches and club anthems and more bitches moving they asses in all directions (“to the front, to the front”) and Troy stepping out from behind the boards and trying his mouth at rapping, his squeaky voice multi-multi-tracked to sound like at least a half a dozen small woodland creatures cold representin’. All that, and a potential outing of Lil’ Kim (“Lesbian Night,” née Kool and the Gang’s “Ladies’ Night”), too. (Note to Kim: Troy just wants to know why you don’t want dick tonight.)
2 Live Crew at least made one smile the woozy smile of a well-equipped frat boy on Schlitz; Troy, who’s joined on this disc by too many Down South rappers to name, believes in sexual excursion as every self-respecting hoochy’s path to enlightenment so wholeheartedly that the humor never percolates. And the grande dames of Troy’s surreality just take it. Only a rent-a-rapper’s telling some gal she’s “swoll’ right there” actualizes her big can (“Back It Up”). (And this whole time she was thinking she’d go on Slim Fast.) Then the female rappers here go down for Troy’s cause, too, riding his “shit” on “Show Out” “like a Cadillac.” Next stop: Beaumont.