The Music Biz: Entrepreneur works to put up a unified rap business front

Monday, June 23, 2008 at 2:59am
Troy Moore (right) started a company to help aspiring rappers such as Young Mannie (left) break into and navigate the music business as well as build Nashville’s reputation in the rap world. Matthew Williams/The City Paper

Before Troy Moore formed his current operations Five Star Media and Armored Truck Management, he was an avid rap fan. His favorites included Run-DMC, Whodini, L.L. Cool J — “practically the whole Def Jam Company,” Moore jokes.

But rather than try his skills at performing, composing rhymes or producing beats, Moore decided that he wanted to help rappers in other areas of the business, something he felt could in turn help make Nashville more of a national factor in the rap game.

“I don’t live very far from Music Row and you can see the multiple record labels, the publishing houses, and all the different companies and enterprises,” Moore said. “The resources are definitely here in terms of the musical infrastructure, but in a lot of cases the rap community isn’t taking advantage of it.”

Moore’s feeling is that rappers here aren’t unified enough.

“Everyone, myself included, has to work harder at improving what they do, perfecting their sound and making music that will appeal to audiences nationally, rather than just be satisfied with having some local impact,” he said. “I’m seeing lots of performers now who want to do that, so I’m encouraged, but we all still have a lot of work to do.”

Toward that end, Moore’s Five Star Media and Armored Truck Management offer a diversified amount of services for their clients.

These range from marketing and promotion to audio or video recording, plus helping clients find the right financial advisors, distributors for their product and even image building and consultation.

One of Moore’s most satisfied clients is the rapper Young Mannie, who raves about the assistance that he’s received since becoming affiliated with Moore’s companies.

“I’ve been around the Nashville rap scene almost 14 years and in terms of someone really helping me with the information that I needed, this is the best advice and assistance I’ve ever gotten from anyone,” Mannie said. “Whether it’s financial, emotional, professional, his company knows what to do, knows how to find the people that you need in any situation and he gets you together with them and the work gets done.”

Young Mannie’s next CD will be Fresh From the Black Three, which has already been available online, but will now be going into various retail outlets through a deal arranged by Moore’s company.

Both businesses are an outgrowth of a coalition of rappers, producers and promoters Moore previously established called The Famm. He was involved in about 13 projects during his tenure with this organization, and he established connections and links during his time with them.

Still, family ties were the catalyst that turned the 30-year-old Moore, a native Nashvillian, from just an exuberant fan on the sidelines to an active participant in rap circles.

“I had three cousins about six years ago who all had different crews and were trying to do something in rap music,” Moore said. “From watching the things that happened to them and seeing some of the barriers and obstacles that they faced, I got an understanding of just what’s involved with any new artist trying to get started, especially when it comes to rap.

“I’ve also seen the struggles that you have in trying to get the music out there, find an outlet that will play it, get some publicity for it. That’s what I’m trying to do with Five Star Media and Armored Truck, make it easier for quality performers to get exposure and help them build their careers.”

Moore said he’s now in negotiations with about six other aspiring rappers to join his companies, and cites DJ Whitey as another mainstay on the roster alongside Young Mannie. Both artists have their own MySpace pages, and both have developed their reputations in the local and regional mixtape markets.

While he’s currently building his artist line and steadily developing his businesses, Moore’s quite specific about the qualities that he wants from his clients.

“One thing that I do with any potential client is give them a background check,” Moore said. “Character is very important in this business, because unfortunately some artists will say things and then it turns out that what they’ve told you isn’t the truth. If you can’t trust what someone tells you, there’s no way you can work with them.”

Moore considers work ethic to be very important. He said an artist has to be willing to self-promote, have charisma and a desire to be successful.

“If you don’t believe in yourself, then there’s not a lot that anyone else can do in terms of enhancing your image,” he said. “But if you do believe in yourself, and are willing to work hard and take constructive criticism, we can help open doors for you.”

Finally, it’s good, quality music will be what ultimately determines Nashville’s status in terms of rap, Moore said.

“It’s unfortunate that we lost one of the few radio stations that would air rap by local artists [the former Blazin’ 106.7FM] because it does make it hard when you have product and it’s not aired on the radio. But that’s just one obstacle. I’m hearing more performers who are conscious of expanding their appeal and trying to be part of a national rather than just a block or community dialog,” he said. “As we develop a Nashville rap sound, that in turn will make it easier to market more of our rappers. There’s a lot of talent here. We all just have to work harder to make sure it gets fair treatment and the necessary exposure to really make these people major players.”

To contact Troy Moore or inquire about the services of Five Star Media or Armored Truck Management, email

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