Published in The Pulse of The Twin Cities
Take a listenby Kandis Knight
Many of us only know one side of Troy Hudson and that is as a basketball player for The Minnesota Timberwolves. I recently sat down with Mr. Hudson in hopes of learning as much as I could about his other side, the side that is set to debut in July 2004 when he will be releasing his first album, The Stress of Both Worlds. Sure we talked a little basketball (our interview took place in the midst of the T-Wolves playoff drive on May 20), however, due to his ankle injury and the excitement this superstar had about his album we dove head first into the business of his music business.
Kandis: So what was the highlight of the game for you last night [the T-Wolves game No. 7 Western Conference Semi-Final victory over the Sacramento Kings]?
Troy Hudson: The highlight of the game, we were up by four points the game was going back and forth. We were making a run and KG hits the three pointer over two people, puts us up by seven. I think that was when the momentum of the game changed. It gave us an edge.
Kandis: You’re an extremely driven person, what was your childhood like?
Hudson: Poverty, but not to the point where I couldn’t eat. I’m not going to say I had a great upbringing but my family was always behind me. My mom was always there, my grandmother. I had the things I needed, not the things I wanted. I didn’t have as much as a lot of kids had. That’s why I worked so hard to get them out of the projects as well as myself. Everything wasn’t always easy.
Kandis: What lessons have you learned from your ankle injury?
Hudson: I learned that one day it can be here and the next day it can be gone. When you’re coming up coaches always tell you to get your education because you never know when you could break your leg and never play again and that never happened to me until now. My ankle is healing now but it is still not a guarantee that it’s going to heal completely. The doctors say I will be fine, but it’s all up to God in the end. You just learn to take advantage of the blessings and the opportunities that God gives you and always look forward to seeing each day. With this ankle injury I wake up every day and I want to play in the next game [but I can’t] and it’s tough. You learn that on a day to day basis when you’re healthy you take a lot of things for granted.
Kandis: What were your thoughts when KG was elbowed [referring to the flagrant foul by Sacramento’s Anthony Peeler, a former Timberwolves player for six seasons, in game 6]?
Hudson: What was I thinking? Well I had just watched the Roy Jones fight the night before so I was kinda impressed that KG didn’t go down. He has a stronger jaw then Roy Jones but I thought that would really fire KG up. He’s the type of guy that gets fired up off of stuff like that. I really thought we had a stronger chance of winning that game, I thought he was going to come out and hit like 40 points in the next quarter.
Kandis: What was the overall mental journey like finishing this CD? I know it takes a lot out of an artist to put out that much creativity.
Hudson: It takes a lot out of you, a lot of time a lot of effort. You know finishing the album was great for me because you might do 60 or 70 tracks and you have your album completed until you turn on BET and you see a song and you’re like, “Man, I need a song with that type of feel on my album!” So you go back to the studio and try to create a song with that type of feel. It takes awhile until you’re satisfied with your album. It’s a relief that I have it all done.
Kandis: Are all of the tracks complete, mixed and mastered?
Hudson: They’re all complete besides the two tracks left that need to be mastered. I’m saying that’s it right now, I don’t want to listen to another track. You keep getting tracks from producers and you listen to them and you start thinking, “Man this would be hot on my album!” I don’t want to listen to any more tracks I want to be satisfied with the album.
Kandis: How many tracks are there?Hudson: There are 18.Verb: What type of feedback did you receive when you initially told people that you wanted to put out an album?
Hudson: What was their feedback? Their feedback was “Uh do you think you can be successful? Kobe tried it, Shaq tried it, a lot of athletes tried it.” All that feedback did was fuel me. That fueled me to the point where I was like I’m gonna prove them wrong. I’m going to prove that an athlete can do more than one thing if he has the love for something, and I have the love for music. That is what I set out to do was prove people wrong and at the same time prove to myself that I can make a successful album, you know, make something that sounds real good.
Kandis: What label are you signed to?
Hudson: I have my own independent label, NuttyBoyz Entertainment, a label that I started because I didn’t want to be in a long contract where they are taking all my money out of my pockets. I had the money and the finances to do it myself, that’s the way I wanted to do it, you know, so I could reap the benefits.
Kandis: What company will distribute your album?
Hudson: A group called BCB out of Houston, Texas, an affiliate of FYE. I’ll have a bunch of stores that will be distributing my album, they gave me a great deal. Like I said, I want to benefit from the hard work that I put into this album.
Kandis: When is the release date set for?
Hudson: July 2004 and the album is called The Stress of Both Worlds.
Kandis: Do you know how many units will be released?
Hudson: I haven’t got to that point yet but I am definitely planning a regional strategy as well as promotion starting with the Midwest area. I feel it is the type of music that will catch on and spread across the country and world. It will catch on in the Midwest region first.
Kandis: How long did the album take to complete?
Hudson: It took probably six months. It took that long because I’m a writer and a performer, not a producer or engineer. I had to book studio time and I had to wait for people to mix my CD. If it was up to me it would have been finished in a month because that is how hard I work. I can write a song in like an hour. I go in, I write the song
Kandis: In addition to Twista and Crucial Conflict do you have any other collaboration on the CD?
Hudson: Yes I worked with Devin the Dude from Rap-A-Lot who has done things with Dr. Dre’ and Jay Z. He is one of those artists they call up for a certain type of song. I have a song with Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs in Harmony, he’s a great artist. I did songs with my artists, Mounique (Philadelphia) and KK (Milwaukee).
Kandis: What’s your favorite track on the album?
Hudson: That’s tough. I can’t really narrow it down to one because I have so much versatility on the album. I have some crunk songs that are really good down South. If I’m riding around and I really want to be in that mood I can do that. I have love songs for the females because I really enjoy that type of music. I have some really serious songs that deal with some serious subjects, it depends on what mood I want to be in.
Kandis: What song will you release first?Hudson: “Killanoiz,” because I’m from Illinois. I’m from Southern Illinois, Carbondale, about five hours south of Chicago. Crucial Conflict, Twista and Belo from Do or Die are on that track. Those are three of the top Illinois acts, and I wanted to put them on it to create an anthem for Illinois.
Kandis: Are there plans being drawn up for a CD release party?
Hudson: Yes we will definitely have one here. We will probably have three parties, one in Illinois.
Kandis: Which producers have you worked with? Hudson: S. Francis, he’s out of Philadelphia and he’s done work for Beanie Segal, State Property. He’s done work with Jigga. I have an in-house producer named Baco, he’s done stuff with Public Announcement and a lot of guys from Chicago. A guy from Minneapolis named Benobi. Naki, The Beat man, he had the evening slot on WGCI radio as well as production.
Kandis: How did you meet Twista?
Hudson: Mounique, one of my artists, did a nation-wide song with Do or Die in 1997 called “Can You Make it Hot Like This?” She had a video to it and the video did well, now she’s signed to my label. She’s originally from Philly but she lived in Chicago for 10 years and she was in the Chicago music scene and she knew Do or Die so we got Belo from Do or Die to come do the track first. Belo knew Crucial Conflict, they came down and showed love. Crucial Conflict knew Twista and they told Twista “Get over here it’s hot!” He came down and he showed love and it was just a blessing that all them guys showed love when they really didn’t have to.
Kandis: What do you hope people learn about you from your music?
Hudson: That it is serious. It is not a hobby. I spend a lot of time doing it. I can really flow. I really put thought into my music. I am a creator. I want people to know that I am a creator. I want people to know that they can come to me and be like “Hey we need a hot hook or we need a hot 16.” This is serious, this is not just a hobby because I’m in the NBA and I got a lot of money to waste, cause I don’t. I want people to know that I am really pursuing a dream, my music.
Kandis: What other types of music do you listen to?
Hudson: I listen to R & B, rock, gospel. My favorite is Blues. I like B.B. King, Bobby Bluebland, Tyrone Davis. I’m real old-fashioned. I don’t listen to new school R & B, I like Luther, Teddy P., Levert. That’s the type of music I listen to cause I have like an old soul.
Kandis: What CD are you bumping in your Range right now?
Hudson: Um mine. Mine. Naw, I might have something like some R. Kelly, some Tupac, some Scarface. I might get criticized later on if I don’t say Jigga. I like all music but if I’m really going to sit down and want to think and want to really listen to some music, I’ll throw in some Tupac. I’ll put on the mix tape and let it ride.
Kandis: Where do you hope to be in five years?
Hudson: A couple platinum albums of my own, platinum albums of the other artists on my label. I want to have a label that doesn’t only consist of rap and R & B, I want a label that has every genre represented. I want to be behind a desk making decisions as CEO, I want to go on tour and make music also, but I also want to be making decisions.
Kandis: Have you worked with any other artists from Minneapolis?
Hudson: I worked with a guy named Jabba, he does Jamaican music, a girl by the name of Timotha Lanae, she’s real jazzy and soulful, and the producer Benobi.
Kandis: Do you know any other professional athletes who are working on albums?
Hudson: I don’t know any that are doing albums but I know a lot of them are really into Hip-Hop. This is a Hip-Hop generation, these guys grew up with Hip-Hop. A lot of the guys coming in now are really talented when it comes to Hip-Hop. I want to be the first person to really kick that door down.
Kandis: What city do you represent most?
Hudson: Illinois. I’m not from Chi-town but I do rep the Chi because it’s part of Illinois. I grew up listening to Do or Die, Crucial Conflict and Twista you know? Chi town is like a second home.
Kandis: Do you battle rap?
Hudson: No, I don’t battle rap. Actually a couple people and me had a discussion about this yesterday. It is great if you can battle rap but the songwriters who can make a hit song can make the money. There are a lot of battle rappers who are real good, they can eat you up, but when it comes to writing a hit song, they can’t do it.
Kandis: Do you have a video completed?
Hudson: I’m working on the storyboard right now for a video for my song “Killanoiz.” I want to be the one who directs my video. I think I have the talent and ability to do everything. If you want to be the head honcho you got to know how to do everything. If it was up to me I would make a video for all 18 tracks.
Kandis: In what ways do you feel your music is groundbreaking?
Hudson: First of all, I’m a professional basketball player so I’m going to bring it like no other. It’s going to be different, Shaq brought it and he went two times platinum, Allen Iverson brought it but it was never released. I think when people hear this they are going to be like, woah, finally a guy who plays sports is bringing it like he is really from the block.
Kandis: How would you describe your style?
Hudson: It changes from track to track. I have let people hear it from outside of my clique and a lot of people love it. Most people don’t know it’s me from track to track because it changes so much.
Kandis: Do you have a website?Hudson: http://www.nuttyboyz.com/ it should be up by the time people read this. You can click on there and learn more about me as a person, a basketball player, a rap artist, the CEO of a label, clothing line all types of things.
Kandis: What’s the clothing line called?
Hudson: I don’t know yet but once people read this it should be up and running. I have so many ideas for a clothing line, I just need to narrow it down to one.
Kandis: What’s your advice to young people interested in careers in the NBA and in Hip-Hop?
Hudson: Keep your dreams alive. Continue to work hard and don’t listen to people who tell you what you can’t do. I came from a small town and I was the first person in my town to ever make it to a professional sport. I was always told “Man, nobody has ever made it out of here.” Cause they had never seen that but I always knew I would make it. I worked hard and I never took no for an answer.
Kandis: What’s a lesson about the Hip-Hop business you wish you would have learned sooner?
Hudson: There are always things you wish you would have learned sooner. I’m still learning, I’m still going to make a lot of mistakes. I’m not going to look back on my mistakes and say I wish I wouldn’t of did that because if you didn’t make a mistake you wouldn’t have learned a lesson. There are always going to be things you can learn from. I’m just learning each step at a time. You never know when you are going to make the wrong decisions. I remember when I first came out I was pressing up posters and doing all types of things months before I knew when my album was going to be released. Not knowing that people are going to forget about that before the album was finally released. I learned lessons like that but you are always going to learn more as you go on.