2014 XXL Freshman Troy Ave has been keeping busy since gracing our cover this year. In addition to dropping a new installment to his B$B mixtape series, the Brooklyn rapper is gearing up for his first national tour, which kicks off today in Chicago. Before Troy hit the road, we caught up with him to talk about putting the tour together, his thoughts on Bobby Shmurda blowing up, reuniting Ma$e and Diddy and much more.—Interview By Eric Diep

XXL: Chicago is the first stop and you have more dates planned. How long did it take you to put it together?
Troy Ave: Shit, like a month. How long did it take? Like a month? Hovain (Troy Ave's Manager): Yeah, about a month. About five weeks or something.

Were there any difficulties?
Not really. Everybody was excited for me to come to their city and all that. We just putting it together. It was like, “Yo, we announcing a tour.” More dates came to follow. It’s like my first tour as far as me headlining. Going out on my own. It was real exciting. There wasn’t really no roadblocks. There are a lot of us doing it on our own.

Did you reach out to anybody to help you out?
Nah, we self-made and self-paid. We’ve been doing everything on our own. This is only right. B$B Records it the No. 1 independent label on the East Coast. Now, the tour just solidifies that even more.

You are doing this tour around the same time you just dropped BSB Vol. 5. Are you bringing the whole crew with you?
Yeah, I’m bringing the whole crew out. As soon as we get back from the tour, I’m gonna be announcing my album title. The new album title and probably a date when I get back off tour.

Are you changing your album title from Major Without A Deal?
I think I might change it. I feel like I might change it. I’m on some other shit. Everybody knows I am major without a deal. It’s understood. It don’t gotta be said. It’s just I don’t know. It’s just a bunch of different milestones and accomplishments that’s coming through and happening to me. It’s like shit, I don’t know, I’ll figure some shit out. It might have a new title for them. Fire title.

Have you been working on your second album?
Most definitely. And it’s fire! Look how fire I told you New York City: The Album was? Watch this one. Shake it up, for real. For real.

You also named the tour, “Money, Powder, Respect.” Are you a fan of them?
Yeah, I am a definitely a big fan of The Lox, but I ain’t name it Money, Powder, Respect after them. Just the term “Money, Power, Respect,” it goes with me and my saying. My thing is powder so “Money, Powder, Respect,” felt so fit. My homie Chase N. Cashe, he came up with that or we came up with that together. I can’t remember. Chase N. Cashe had an influence on that.

I was probably drinking champagne and he was probably smoking weed. That’s what he like to do. I was just drinking champagne, and he was smoking weed. I was probably getting my temples rubbed by a young lady and we was playing some beats. Matching our vibe in the studio. We came up with that a while ago. 

What’s the one place you are most excited about stopping in?
I ain’t gonna front, I am excited to go to every single place. If you notice on the tour, we booked all places that we haven’t been before, or the majority of places that I haven’t been before. The East Coast run is gonna be different when I come back I’ma do Boston, Rhode Island, New York. New Jersey. We kept those off purposely to do that one when we came back on the East Coast. I’m excited to do every city, every state. These are all new places I ain’t been. I want to see the reaction is like. “Damn, they feel the shit that I am talking on the East Coast out here on the West Coast.” Just different shit like that. I feel like it’s gonna be real ill.

You’ve had a buzz for a while. Now, you got rappers like Bobby Shmurda and Your Old Droog coming up fast. What do you think of these newer New York rappers?
I think everybody coming out of New York is good for the city. I don’t even really be thinking about other rappers. I’ve been doing my thing for so much. Just focusing on Young Lito and BSB. I just been so busy doing my thing that I don’t even be thinking about other rappers or hearing none of their stuff unless it’s on the radio or whatever. I think everybody doing their thing is good. It’s good for the city.

When you have Atlanta, you have multiple rappers. You have Rich Homie Quan, you got Young Thug. You got Migos. You always got multiple people doing their thing. Even in LA, you got Ty Dolla $ign. Kendrick Lamar. The homie YG. ScHoolboy Q. You always got multiple people doing their thing. Only in New York that they try to make it like a box. You know what I am saying? It’s good. That’s what I want. That’s why I named my album, New York City: The Album. That’s what I said I am restoring the feeling. Growing up, you got Noreaga. DMX. Cam’ron. You had mad different people doing they thing out of the city.

So are you supportive of Shmurda and how he’s come up?
Yeah, I support anybody that’s trying to do their thing, as long as everybody is being straight. I support everybody. I fuck with everybody’s shit. I be doing my own thing so much that it is whatever. I’m focused like a motherfucker.

Do you think Young Lito is the next one to blow?
Yeah, he got his shit next. His tape is coming. His shit is on the way. Watch. As far as anybody else doing their thing, I support that. We fuck with who fuck with us. Everybody supporting us and we fucking with them.

Over the summer, you managed to get Ma$e and Diddy reunited for the first time in years. How did that come together?
Just being hot. Buzzing like a motherfucker. Ma$e actually hit me to get on the remix first before he had anything to do with Puff. I just sent it to Puff after. “Yo, we need you on it.” Puff came through and blessed me. I salute them for that. And you know Tip came through with the heat. I’m not just a rapper. I’m a producer. I got the ear. I be producing shit. I hear this going with this or whatever. The Puff and Ma$e combination, if you don’t hear that, then you fuckin’ crazy. That’s a classic sound.

It felt right. I felt like it was supposed to happen. It’s everything that you worked for. You working mad hard in the gym, training. And you get a championship. You supposed to make big records and you supposed to rock out to them big records and on to the next one. I got some bangers coming on the way. I got some shit. I’m gearing up for the new album.

There was also this talk that you were signing to Grand Hustle. Did that ever pan out?
Everything is still in the works. There’s that. I’m still taking meetings. Like I said, when you be doing your thing so much, I’m not like a regular artist gotta be hurting and suffering or … you know what I am saying? You doing your thing, it’s like you driving a nice car and somebody trying to convince you. “Yo, no, you should get into this Bentley.” Man, I just got this big body Benz. I’m riding with it. It’s going good. You figure it out. I get to it. That option is still open and we still in talks with it. Shout out to T.I. for that. Right now, it’s all about BSB Records and it’s just unbelievable all the things that we are doing independently. From the XXL Freshman cover to Summer Jam to my own national tour. You now what I am saying? It’s crazy.

If you were to sign with Grand Hustle, it’d almost be a partnership.
That’s exactly what it will be if I do, do it. It would a partnership, it wouldn’t be a signing deal with BSB Records. It’d be a signing deal and we’d go for a joint venture. I’m not a regular artist. I am a CEO. I’m a business man. I’m like Jay Z was to Roc-A-Fella. That’s what I am to BSB Records.