In 2008, a year after Playaz Circle’s single hit, Tity Boi stood backstage at Lil Wayne’s I Am Music tour to be interviewed by Nicki Minaj for her video diary. “You the freshest nigga on the tour!” Minaj told him as he demurely slid off a bright red winter coat to better present the luxe browns of his Louis Vuitton scarf and sneakers. “You already know,” she added, crowning him. But three years later, most of the world still does not.
“A lot of my peers been knowing my campaign, but I didn’t wanna feel like I was the mad rapper, that I was just mad,” Tity Boi says. “Cause time is gonna tell you.” And though that Playaz Circle single, “Duffle Bag Boyz,”—the one where Wayne literally sings the chorus—was a runaway success, he’s spent the last few years treading water. But with his sixth and finest solo mixtape Trapavelli 2: The Residue, Tity Boi is emerging as an indomitable solo artist. It’s a standout release in full compliance with the album-disguised-as-mixtape crusade that has leveled the playing field for so many unsigned upstarts. The tape showcases crisp delivery despite the finest of gold-mouthed slick talk and an ear for production so accommodating that Ludacris has expressed interest in Tit A&Ring his next album. “I always could attract women so I’m not [in the club] trynna see how many women I can get,” Tity Boi says. “I just be like, What made her drop it low and scrub the ground just then? What sound made shawty do that?” As his studies continue to pay off, Tit emerges as one of the most reliable voices of the city. “I know I’m different from rappers that I consider my competition,” he says. “TI’s incarcerated, Luda’s doing movies, Jeezy’s working, but whoever else is supposed to be standing up for the ‘A’ ain’t doing it.” Measuring some 6’5″, it’s already impossibly hard to miss Tity Boi. Now he just needs the right look.
Tity Boi is technically still a member of Playaz Circle, but the music he’s been releasing is a means of creating leverage for a bigger solo situation. And in the interim, fans have feasted on more of the deliberately blatant, Walk into the Gucci store, Honey, I’m home! big dawg posturing that once caused rampant accusations of Lil Wayne ghostwriting his lyrics. Arrogance was tailor-made for Tity Boi, and he sounds most at ease stringing together punch lines about how good he makes money look. But the thing about this kind of flexing that escapes so many who lust for their city’s throne is that people are most impressed when it looks like you’re not even trying. Just like getting dressed.