About every few months there seems to be a particular city that produces game-changing artists and the industry begins to hone in on. Sometimes it just takes longer for the world to catch on. With the lack of major outlets in some of these cities, it takes an artist from these areas a little bit longer to get noticed. What’s beginning to happen now is that you’re having people from these cities that or particular county’s in cities helping to push these artists into the spotlight. Some of these people are videographers, promoters, and even some blog outlets, for example, HalfPintFilmz whose name I’m sure you heard before shoots a lot of the videos for the majority of the up and coming rappers hailing from Dallas and the neighboring cities. That’s not to say he doesn’t shoot videos for other artist but his main focus is within his city. Another person is Shawn Cotton who has the Say Cheese platform. He started off only spotlighting Dallas artist but now he has expanded to also supporting artists from other cities now.

Troy & Brandon

Now let’s take a trip to South Florida and let me introduce you to the collective Hidden Ruby who were the first people to bring XXXTENTACION on stage to perform and helped the rise of one of the most polarizing artist in the last decade. The collective was founded by Broward County native Troy Campbell and Brandon McGee. Before starting Hidden Ruby Troy spent his time managing a nightclub that his father owned in Broward County where Troy would work with numerous promoters to bring in talent to the club, this is where he would find his true calling.

“After dealing with so many promoters some successful and some unsuccessful, I started to realize I can do it myself. I spoke with one of my cousins and he was into music as well as I was and we just put it together and we took off from there.”

While sometimes you have promoters who focus on bringing the largest acts from out of town to their city, Troy chose to focus on bubbling talent within his own city and outside of it and give them a platform to perform within South Florida. Him and his team were the first people to bring Playboi Carti, Pouya, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yatchy and Post Malone to headline shows in South Florida before they became the stars they are today.

Troy, 21 Savage & Brandon

In the Summer of 2013 Troy would throw his first Hidden Ruby show. For his first ever event he had booked Young Roddy of JetLife, Isaiah Rashard, Pouya, and the host for the concert was DC YoungFly. He also held an afterparty for the event which was DJed by Metro Boomin and had Key! aka FATMANKEY as the performing artist. Being that this was his first event and that nobody really knew the name Hidden Ruby the turn out was very low and as Troy would put it “it was a flop” but the afterparty had a decent turnout.

“It definitely did not pay off financially, but even though we didn’t have a big crowd we brought out all the artist that we promised. People realized the brand is maybe new but at least we are credible. There are so many promoters out there who book an artist and when things don’t go well they cancel the show.”

Enter XXXTENTACION 

Troy knew XXXTENTACION since the tender age of 8 because his girlfriend at the time used to babysit X. Now lets fast forward to Halloween 2015.  Former DJ now turned producer Rojas who Troy had worked with previously wanted to throw an event but just needed a space to throw it. Since Troy was already throwing shows of his own he agreed to find the venue as long as he could be apart of the creative process and booking the talent. At the time 21 Savage was booked as the headline but Troy wanted to add some local talent to the lineup that wouldn’t mind selling some tickets. On the fateful night Rojas and Troy would be in the car discussing local acts that would be a good look for the city and Rojas mentioned that he has a few artists in mind whose music he loved but wasn’t sure if they were big enough to perform. Since he trusted Rojas ear for music he told him to have the artists he had in mind come through.

XXXTENTACION & Ski Mask The Slump God

“So I tell him to have them come through and they hop in the backseat of the car. It’s dark and I’m talking to these guys and the kid sitting directly behind me is telling me he never did any shows anywhere he just put out music. To conclude the conversation I ask them if they want to smoke and the kid behind me says he’s on probation he can’t smoke. I get out the car turn around and it’s Jahseh (XXXTENTACION) and we just embraced each other.”


The show finally comes around and the lineup includes Yung Bans, Uno The Activist and 21 Savage as the headline. Even though at the time XXXTENTACION had less than 1,000 followers on Instagram Troy had him along with Ski Mask The Slump God perform right before 21 Savage and the rest is history!

“He performs and he blows it out of the water and everybody is going crazy to his music. I wasn’t really hip to his music yet. After he gets off the stage he comes straight to me and says “You wasn’t expecting that, I impressed you, huh.” I told him straight up anytime we do a show your welcome to be on it. From there every time we did a show after that I let him be the co-headliner. Every time we had a show he would perform right before the main act and he would kill it every time.”

"Performance From Lil Uzi Vert & Lil Yachty Show"
Troy and Hidden Ruby’s next big performance with XXXTENTACION was his first concert that he had a few weeks after he was released from jail in April of 2017. The morning of the show X hit Troy up and told him he wants to throw a show that night, I’m not sure how many readers know this but to throw a show the day of and have a good turn out is pretty difficult especially when you aren’t a high caliber artist which XXXTENTACION wasn’t yet at this point. So from 3 pm to 6 pm Troy’s team and XXX’s team put everything together and from 6 pm to 9 pm they promoted the show. That’s only 6 hours total!

“When I got to the venue at 8:30 there was over 300 people in line. Midway through the event X had performed 1 song the Fire Marshall comes in saying it’s over capacity and they have to shut it down. The venue capacity was 800 and we have 1,000 people inside and like another 1,000 outside. So X says “All these people are here for a show I’m going to give them a show.” He takes off his jacket, his shirt, his pants he had some shorts and he runs down the stairs runs outside jumps on top of a car and just starts performing on top of a car. There is probably 2,000 people outside blocking off the street in Wynwood and he’s performing on top of a car.”

The last time Troy would work with X before his untimely passing was the finale of the Revenge Tour which was held in Broward County. After spending the past 5 years throwing shows, promoting and putting some of the hottest rappers on stage months before they would blow, Troy and the rest of the Hidden Ruby are ready to take things to the next level which is creating there own label.
“Now we are making sure we can provide all the other amenities for the artist to be able to put them on shows, give them a space to record their music, and having news outlets and blog to push these artists out. Just building out all the things a label would have to propel any artist. We are just looking for people here within our community that we think have the talent.”
Keep up with Troy and the rest of the Hidden Ruby collective @HiddenRubyTroy and @HiddenRubyLive especially if you are from South Florida!