|Artist:||Trae The Truth|
|Next Project:||Life Goes On (Sept '07)|
|Twitter:||Trae The Truth on Twitter|
|Website:||Trae The Truth's Website|
His name is Trae the Truth for a reason. A product of Houston, Texas’ inner city streets, Trae’s lyrics come from real experiences, feelings and emotions; never fabricated, embellished or fake. An underground favorite Down South for many years, Trae’s name started to achieve notoriety after his last album, “Restless,” was released. Now more than a year later Trae looks to continue to tell his story on his follow up album, “Life Goes On.” During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Trae explains how he used his sadness, from the deaths of Screwed Up Clique members Hawk and his brother Fat Pat, as motivation to make his new album, why he isn’t looking to compete with fellow Houstonian Chamillionaire, and how H-Town can continue to thrive as a Hip-Hop hot spot in the years to come.
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Trae The Truth Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a Houston MC who is ready to pronounce that life goes on. An artist who speaks the truth and reports straight from the streets, Trae. How you doin?
Trae: Cool, cool, man. You know, I’m just happy that I’m livin’.
DJ Booth: Me too, and I’m happy I’m on the phone with you. So what’s been worse: the inconsistent weather in Houston, Texas, or the decline in album sales over the past year or so? What’s worse?
Trae: Both. If you’re tryin’ to sell and the weather messes stuff up out here.
DJ Booth: If you could have guaranteed good weather for one year or guaranteed good sales for one year, what would you take?
Trae: Guaranteed sales. I’m used to bein’ in the rain anyways. You know, I live a real life.
DJ Booth: That, and then you could just move somewhere else so that you’d have the sales and the nice weather, so there you go…
Trae: Yeah, but I’d rather be in Houston; I’m used to it, man.
DJ Booth: Trae, since last we spoke, fellow Screwed Up Clique members Hawk and your brother Fat Pat were both sadly killed at the hands of a gunman. How have you dealt with both tragedies and transferred that into your music?
Trae: They were rough times and rough issues, but at the same time no matter how bad it was and how messed up I know it really is, life still goes on, and man I wanna be strong and carry them home. That’s what kind of took part in with the title, “Life Goes On,” too.
DJ Booth: The song, “Smile,” off your upcoming album, brings up an interesting topic in hip hop and that’s reality. Most artists refuse to paint a picture that isn’t full of glitz and glamour, and when you look at the success that you’ve had and can continue to have in the industry, is there just simply no way to forget about your personal issues and the sadness that you’ve dealt with?
Trae: Naw. If I forget about it bro, I wouldn’t be me, and I wouldn’t be being real to the roots that I’ve dealt with in life. I love most of the people who I lost; you know what I’m sayin’? So it’s like, why would I forget about it? And man, there’s still a lot of youth growin’ up and a lot of older people– I saved a lot of people from doing a lot of crazy stuff, listening to my music, and I feel like, everything goin’ the same circle all the time, so I need to keep doin’ this, because might be somebody who I haven’t reached who need to be touched.
DJ Booth: A lot of artists forget what’s important to them and they forget what they need to put into their music to make it be expressive of themselves. Do you think that music like your own, where you’re expressing reality, your frustrations, your life, your sadness, your happiness – do you think that is something that people want to hear?
Trae: Maybe to those who never been through a real life they might not wanna hear, but the majority, who have had a better life and now they startin’ to go through reality life, they totally want to hear it ‘cause it’s something that they goin’ through. It’s a lot of more people who go through what I go through than it is who out here and rich, and never had a more perfect life.
DJ Booth: What’s more gratifying for you in the aftermath: to know that people who listen to your music have a true appreciation for you and what you’ve gone through, or if you were to see sales after the first few weeks and the numbers were sky-high?
Trae: I mean, it’s moreso, the more the reason I do it is to touch people, so even if I never sell a million records bro, I always gonna be cool because Im gonna get my job done right. So it’s definitely going to go with the second – the people, you know? That’s what make my day.
DJ Booth: Let’s talk about that success for a second. You’ve achieved a lot on the independent level and you very easily could have garnered a major label record deal. Why have you chosen to stay with Rap-A-Lot?
Trae: For those who didn’t know, I’m not signed to Rap-A-Lot. I’m signed to my label, but I’m distributed through Rap-A-Lot and Asylum, so it’s like I’m still free to do whatever I need to do. I still got the backup of Rap-A-Lot and got the backup of Warner Bros.
DJ Booth: Trae, on previous albums you’ve collaborated mostly with Houston artists, but on, “Life Goes On,” that’s changed. I know on board you have Lil’ Wayne, Jadakiss, Lloyd, Rich Boy. Who have you enjoyed working with the most out of that bunch?
Trae: Each one of them. I like each one of them, you know? I don’t really enjoy one more than the other. I appreciate all of their music, so, I’m down with em. People who are on my albums are people who I deal with, it’s not nobody who I’m gonna go meet and just do a song with. They’re people who I deal with – if they need me I’m gonna ride with them. Like if I need someone I can call them.
DJ Booth: You and Chamillionare both drop albums this September, both highly anticipated. If you were to go out right now, interrupt this interview and poll the streets, who do you think is more anticipated: your album or Cham’s?
Trae: You gotta look at it like this: we took two different fan bases, you know what I mean? Neither one of us will really know till that time comes. You know, his fan base generates from the ability to be scene on the wider scale through TV and radio, as opposed to my fan base, which is in the gutter of the hood that some of y’all people will never get to see – the people who come out late at night that you probably never even know exist. It’s just the beings, you know what I’m sayin? At this time – with what he do, he’s one of the best at what he do, and what I do, I’m one of the best at what I do. I’m the street side – we’re like two different fan bases. It’s gonna be a good thing period, ‘cause at the end of the day we both H-Town to the death, so it ain’t nothing like that, you know? I don’t jump out there with an ego-tripper, “Who gonna be better at this?” I just do me.
DJ Booth: Trae, looking back on how little attention the Houston region received in the mid to late 90’s, when you first started recording, did you ever think that, on a New Music Tuesday in 2007 you’d have not one, but two major releases from Houston artists within the same month?
Trae: Never knew, you know? Anything can happen out here.
DJ Booth: Where do you think the city of Houston goes from here? You’ve already achieved a lot of success in a short amount of time – what’s the next step?
Trae: I guess it’s gonna be up on me, Chamillionare, UGK and whoever else bout to drop an album this year, to decide where Houston gonna go.
DJ Booth: A common complaint among people in the industry is that the direction right now is not the same that it used to be because a lot of artists sound the same. But Trae, one of your most distinctive qualities, is your voice. Do you feel that that is the best attribute that you offer, or is it something different?
Trae: You know, funny you ask that, because I never knew I had a voice like that. People say that all the time lately – more lately than ever. But that’s what; my voice is what really attracted people. I never knew that – you know, my lyrics is real music, so I don’t really pay attention to my voice; I just do what I do.
DJ Booth: Well, a lot of artists, they might have the lyrics but they don’t have the ability to get them across a certain way. You got the lyrics and, like I just told you, you got the voice, so from there you’re golden.
Trae: I’m with it!
DJ Booth: Trae, is there a website where all your fans and my listeners can find out more about your upcoming release?
Trae: Of course; they can go to myspace.com/traethatruth.
DJ Booth: Trae, I appreciate your time. I wish you nothing but the best of luck. Of course September 25th, your brand new album, “Life Goes On.”
Trae: “Life Goes On!” It’s gonna be a problem in the streets, I promise you that! I’m right here, man, but you know there’s more love for you to have taken the time, my man. And anybody out there who ride with me, they say y’all pick up every mix tape that you see with me, ‘cause I promise you you gonna be satisfied. Trae the truth, man. H-Town to the death. The streets have arrived!