It has been four years since the Meek Mill led film Streets was released on BET, but it was not until the movie was recently added to Netflix that it started to build a serious buzz among urban drama fans. Besides Meek, the Jamal Hill directed flick also featured appearances by Philadelphia area Hip Hop figures Omillio Sparks, Gillie Da Kid, and Jahlil Beats.
Another rapper listed in the credits for Streets is Maryland based entertainer Tray Chaney. While he first gained national attention as Poot on HBO’s classic series The Wire, Chaney has since stepped into the rap realm with singles such as “Dedicated Father,” “Time,” and “I Want To.”
Tray Chaney connected with AllHipHop.com to discuss his turn as Meek Mill’s nemesis Troy in Streets. He provides hints on what other projects are on the horizon as well.
[ALSO READ: AHH Premiere: Tray Chaney – “Open & Honest” EP]
How did you get involved with Streets?
The writer Jamal Hill and the producers Todd Wolfe and Charlie Mack are very good friends of mine, and they were also big fans of The Wire. So when the opportunity was presented to portray the character Troy in the film Streets, I was all for it. I auditioned for the role and landed it on the spot. Philadelphia was always like a second home to me, so it was all love.
Are you surprised by the recent attention on the movie?
The only reason I’m not surprised is because Meek Mill is a huge star and the storyline is dope! Social media is bigger than what it was when we shot the film, and the movie really paints a good picture. Plus Netflix is such a huge platform for the film to be seen. When you have all that attached, of course it’s going to get that attention it needs.
You played a drug dealer on The Wire. But besides the incident with Wallace, your character was not very violent or aggressive. What was it like playing a violent villain in Streets?
I had fun playing the character. I mean, just think, I went from Poot – a low-level drug dealer on The Wire – to Troy, a boss who runs things on Streets. The scene where I slap the dude for talking crazy is classic.
What was it like working with Meek Mill on the film?
Meek was very professional, and the dude is a really good actor.
Because of the connection with Philadelphia area rappers, there have been some comparisons made between Streets and State Property. What are your thoughts on that comparison?
The only comparison is both films had my brother Omillio Sparks in them. [laughs] Both of the films are very different. State Property was definitely during the time of the whole Roc-A-Fella era, and to see all those guys on screen showing that they could handle those lines was amazing.
Streets was definitely different because Meek Mill was on the come up and it was more story driven by tackling a lot of different scenarios. I’m just glad I was able to witness the success of State Property and be part of Streets as an actor.
There’s been talk a sequel is in the works. Have you heard anything about a Streets 2?
No, not at this time.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the Hip Hop stars from the movie like Meek, Jahlil Beats, Omillio Sparks, or Gillie Da Kid?
Gillie Da Kid is the big homie. He is definitely my OG. Anytime I reach out I get a response. Even though everyone is busy, he will take the time to reach back out. Omillio is my dude. We just spoke the other day, and we’re working together on some stuff. Meek and Jahlil are just crazy busy. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen or spoke to them, but I’m sure if we see each other it would be all love. They always gave off good energy.
As an actor, what are your thoughts on the Academy Awards diversity controversy?
I truly feel we have to just keep pushing and continue doing and becoming doers of the work. The crazy thing is deep down inside the Academy knows how much this is a slap in the face. It’s sort of like someone trying to bully you, but we can’t break. We have to continue to push forward and create our own opportunities. We are all kings and queens!
You’ve done a movie with Meek Mill, and you appeared on The Wire along with Method Man. If you could do a movie or TV show with any other rapper at the moment, who would you pick and why?
Real talk, I want to do a film with Wale. I feel me and Wale could really bring some dope art to the TV or movie screen. Just seeing how Wale conducts interviews, how he will spazz at times, brings me to the conclusion it’s something special about this dude. And me being an actor, I know what acting could do for slim. Being able to transform into other characters is therapeutic. So Wale get at me!
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on more music. I have a project called The Barrel I’m filming in DC, and I just got cast for a huge TV show project in Atlanta. I can’t reveal it until a later date but filming has already started, and AllHipHop will be the first to know.
[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Tray Chaney Talks Fatherhood, “The Wire” & Leadership In Hip Hop]
Streets is currently available for streaming on Netflix.
Follow Tray Chaney @traychaney on Twitter and Instagram @mrtraychaney.
Watch the trailer for Streets below.