Houston rap legend Lil’ Troy, known for the classic hit single, “Wanna Be a Baller,” recently survived a life-threatening 18-wheeler truck accident. The rapper born Troy Birklett was traveling from Arkansas to Texas when he noticed smoke rising from underneath the truck’s hood, prompting him to immediately pull over on the interstate and get exit the vehicle to investigate the situation. Shortly after getting out of the truck, the 18-wheeler burst into flames, an experience Troy detailed after the fact with ABC 13.
“Right before I got ready to exit, I started to see fire, flames coming up from the hood,” he recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, I got to get out of this truck.’ You know what I’m saying? It’s fire! It took them a while to put the fire out. While they were there, it went ‘Boom’ again! So, I thank God for the fire department. They came and made sure nobody else got injured at the same time.”
Lil’ Troy also spoke on coming face-to-face with his mortality in ironic fashion, giving particular lyrics from his signature record. “I started thinking about my family and worrying about how they need me. It’s not my time to go right now,” he said, before quoting a line from his hit record. “If you notice, ‘I hit the highway, making money the fly way.’ You know what I’m saying? Truck driving is the new way.”
Lil’ Troy, who transitioned into truck diving following his rap career, shared footage of the fire on Instagram, and says that his close-call has not deterred him from continuing his new career and that he hopes to be back on the road sooner than later.
A looming figure in Houston’s rap scene, Lil’ Troy released his debut album, Sittin’ Fat Down South, in 1998, which was led by the single “Wanna Be a Baller” featuring Fat Pat, Lil’ Will, Big T and H.A.W.K. Reaching No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the success of the song caught the attention of Universal Music Group. The label inked Lil’ Tory to a deal and re-released his Sittin’ Fat Down South nationally in 1999. The album was one of the most commercially successful for a Houston rapper at the time, selling 1.9 million copies. Troy went on to release two additional albums, Back to Ballin in 2001 and Paperwork in 2006.