youre ballin out of control, both literally and figuratively, its
probably pretty easy to lose your focus. Although most of us may never
know what its like to be in the highest tax brackets, we have done
everything within Hip-Hop culture to swagger ourselves into that image.
Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Troy Hudson, a.k.a. T-Hud, has been
working for years to stay as grounded as possible through his music,
despite the five-million-plus per year salary he earns.
Through his travels, Illinois native T-Hud has met up with some of the best and brightest in todays music scene. His new album Undrafted
includes guest spots from the likes of Three 6 Mafia, UGK and Ray J,
but he has kept the production relatively low key by utilizing
newcomers to attain his own unique sound. Its all about being
relatable to his fans for Troy, even in doing fun things like giving
away his $50,000 chain on his Myspace page.
We took a trip out to Minneapolis to meet up with T-Hud and his
NuttyBoyz Entertainment team at their state of the art studio.
Ironically, that night the TWolves played against the NBAs first
platinum rapper Shaquille ONeal and his Miami Heat team. After the
glitz of the game, we had a quiet conversation with T-Hud about his
mission to keep it real in his music, and why theres more to his life
AllHipHop.com: People joke that ballplayers shouldnt rap ever since Shaq-Fu. What do you say to that critique?
Troy Hudson: First of all Shaq-Fu did two million,
[laughs] so thats pretty successful – but I think in todays world
that Hip-Hop has gone a different direction. I think Hip-Hop still has
its street edge, but I also think Hip-Hop is very image driven. I think
that Hip-Hop and athletics ties in, whether the athlete himself is
rapping or the athlete has a crew of cats who are rapping, because most
athletes into professional sports [like] football, basketball or
baseball is from the inner city.
In the inner city, one of the main outlets in todays world is Hip-Hop.
Back in the 50s and 60s, either you were a great athlete or you had a
great education. You were a lawyer, doctor, baseball player or
basketball player; you had a chance to make it. From the late 80s into
the new millennium now its either you have a great education, [youre
a] basketball player, lawyer, doctor, or into Hip-Hop. I believe that
now most athletes have crews of guys who really can really rap, whether
its themselves or their crew. I think youre gonna be able to see in
the near future that Hip-Hop is gonna be driven from an athletic
entertainment base. It goes hand in hand.
I can say, for one, Camron had a chance to be a great Division 1
player. He didnt have the grades or whatever, I dont know what the
actual thing was. He went to one of the number one junior colleges in
the country to play basketball. You have a lot of guys who were great
at basketball, football or whatever that just didnt [make it] whatever
it was [due to] grades, their attitude or whatever. They didnt have a
chance to make it in the athletic sport world, but they come from the
inner city and they find a niche in rap.
I wanna be that guy who really steps forward and really makes the
blueprint for athletes on how to do it. Most athletes have the dream
and the focus, but they dont know how to do it. Ive been doing this
for 15 years – even before I got in the NBA – because coming from a
small city and a small school I knew I wouldnt get drafted. I didnt
want to put all of my eggs in one basket. This is something I really
attached myself to as like, This is a way to help my family too, and
make it out the hood. Im gonna jump into this too. I just never lost
track of that.
AllHipHop.com: What do you offer to Hip-Hop that might be missing right now?
T-Hud: I think I offer a well-rounded album. I think I offer a
well-rounded sense of Hip-Hop, studying Hip-Hop is a lost art. I think
most people dont study Hip-Hop, I know for me, I studied 2Pac, Biggie,
Jay-Z, Nas, Master Ps business savvy. I really studied Hip-Hop. I
think a lot of people go with whats hot today and thats why you get a
lot of one hit wonders. Im very fortunate and blessed to not have any
gimmick records on my album. It was tempting to be like Man, this
banging in the club. Im a gonna make something just like this. But
when I really checked myself like Is this really you? If it aint you
dont do it, I didnt do it and Im really blessed to have a album
full of me.
AllHipHop.com: How important is it for you to bring people in, give them jobs and teach them how to be independent themselves?
T-Hud: Its very important, because for me Im a guy who looks into the
African-American community and says, Hip-Hop is another way. A lot of
people outside of the inner city look at it and say, Hip-Hop is
violent. My thought on it is, would you rather a rapper being on TV
saying this stuff in your home, or would you rather a rapper being in
your home doing what hes saying? For me, Hip-Hop is no more than
Hollywood on audio, its no more than that. For me its an opportunity
for young African-Americans, its another avenue where we can prosper
I dont see anything wrong with us really expressing what weve been
through in life. Its nothing more than old ritual slave hymns. We just
talking about what weve been through. I really wanna give guys an
opportunity who [are from] the streets, because everybody can do this.
It gives people the opportunity to come in and put their creative input
into something they really stand for. That can really help our culture.
AllHipHop.com: How do you protect yourself financially, realizing people might latch on to you because of your money?
T-Hud: Thats a tough one, because a lot of times, people count your
money. Ive been burned many times, people look at what I make from
basketball. They dont look at what I make from music. At this point
right now, I havent made much from music, I made most of my money from
basketball, thats going out there and working every night. I work for
what I have right now, so its tough. But at the same time you have to
teach young guys that when you see those videos on TV thats not their
cars, house, or jewelry. Them guys make 15-cents an album, this is how
you could make your money. Stick in there, do what you need to do and
one day you can be a boss like me but you have to take the steps. Its
all about teach rather than show.
AllHipHop.com: When you look down the road five years from now, where do you see your label and your music going?
T-Hud: I wanna bring something to the forefront thats never
really been there, and thats Midwest. When you look at it you never
see the Midwest as a whole. You have your soul artists and great
producers such as Kanye and R. Kelly in the R&B world, you have
Nelly, Coo Coo Cal, Common, Twista, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die. All
those guys who are running together individually, but youve never had
a label. Youve never had your Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella, Murda Inc., and
thats what I want NuttyBoyz to be.
AllHipHop.com: Tell us about the album and the process behind [putting it together].
T-Hud: I wanted to make a well rounded album, but I also wanted to be
me. I studied 2Pac, Biggie, [Three 6] Mafia, UGK, 8Ball and MJG, Snoop
Dogg. That gave me south, east, west, a well rounded view of Hip-Hop.
Thats how I wanted to make my album. I dont want to be labeled as a
Midwest artist, Im from the Midwest, but I dont want people to say
Hes a Midwest artist, a South artist, a East Coast or West Coast
artist. I want people to say Thats a nice album, I can feel that. I
dont care where Im at or where Im from, I like that album.
AllHipHop.com: In marketing, do you feel its important to
assert that youre a ballplayer, or do you want to let the music speak
T-Hud: Im gonna take the odds on this, I want everybody to
know Im a ballplayer. I cant disguise that and thats one of the
challenges Im accepting because I want people to know its a new day
and age. Ballplayers is about to put it down in this entertainment
business. Not only music, movies [as well]; Baron Davis has a film
company. I want people to understand that just because I play
basketball dont mean that I didnt have dreams of being the next
big-time entertainer, on the music level, the film level or whatever.
Im taking that challenge, I want that challenge. I want people to say
Hes a basketball player and he did it. He drew the blueprint up. He
perfected it, put it out there and he was successful in it, he put it
out there. Hes the first one to do it.
[Editors note: Thought we were kidding about the chain? See for yourself at myspace.com/thudthatnuttyboy]