Troy Carter is born in West Philadelphia to Gilda Carter, who cleans surgical instruments at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His parents divorce when he is two years old. Carter grows up on 52d Street and Larchwood Avenue, in a two-bedroom apartment with kerosene heat and sometimes no running water. His mother says her three boys always had hot meals, love, and high expectations, however she often has to scrape change for bus fare.
You know, we were broke. You can, as a kid, kind of recognize the pain in your mother’s face.
He spends much of his time around the corner with his grandmother, who recalls him writing that he wanted to be a millionaire by age 25, and his granduncle, the owner of a popular shoeshine store who gives him encouragement. Grandmother:
Troy always had a composition book and pen, jotting down what he had in mind to do.
He attends Huey Elementary and Sayre Middle School.
I was always the kid in the front of the line because I was the smallest. and [my fifth grade teacher] used to call me ‘The Big Guy.’ Just by the way she would talk to me, she gave me the sense that I could do anything.
He tests well but prefers the nearby public library.
I read every single thing about the music business.