Get to know Truth, the Queens, New York emcee who conveys his image as representing all aspects of the hip-hop culture while staying true to the hip hop sound. “From Ashes to Kingdom Come” is Truth’s debut album which drops February 26th. The album was produced by PF Cuttin, from Blahzay Blahzay, and has features from Psycho Les, Da Beatminerz, Sean Price and more.
Your album “From Ashes to Kingdom Come” is releasing this month, what inspired the album?
I always wanted to make an album that was true to myself and represented that boom bap sound. I feel like a Hip Hop album should reflect who you are as a person; also containing different concepts which had a particular flow from front to back. I also believe in the DJ’s influence (cuts/scratches) being that they are the back of Hip Hop, which I feel is strongly lacking in Hip Hop today. From Ashes to Kingdom Come is symbolic in the sense representing the essence of Hip Hop. From Ashes to Kingdom Come = from something to nothing (representing the art form, the culture hence the artwork of the album). The cover is more about what Hip Hop represents and what helped mold my sound. A throne – From Ashes to Kingdom Come made up of elements of Hip Hop bringing more of that raw sound back to where it needs to be.
How long have you been working on this album?
I was working on LP, recording, mixing, etc. around 2012 and on… There was a hold on the project too for a while which explains the delay. I am hoping that the next album will be released in a more timely fashion. I’m already starting to record for the next album, so def ready to get into it. I am really happy with what I have been writing, and honestly, feel like I am getting even better.
Back in 2012, you released the song “New Type of Something” with Sean Price, what made you re-release the song?
Around when I recorded the song I released it w/o the album being done and got a deal from it. I told Sean that I got a deal from it, and he was like, really? He laughed and was like cool. I told him that the label would re-release it as well as the video, and he was cool with it being that initially I put it out w/o a publicist, etc…so the label felt that a lot of people never heard the song plus it was on the album that iLL Adrenaline Records was releasing.
How was your relationship with Sean Price? How did the collaboration come along?
It was good. He taught me a lot about the industry and people in general probably without even realizing he did. I made sure I paid attention and listened to him. After his passing, a few people would tell me about some of the good things he said about me which I appreciated and was thankful for. The collaboration came about from PF Cuttin, who was his long time DJ. He was always recording Sean so I would be around him a lot in the studio or at shows, at different events, etc. and we got cool from there. He showed a lot of love and didn’t have to. Once I heard the beat I knew it was for Sean, so I reached out to PF, and he made that happen. He said he would do video whenever I was ready, and he kept his word because that’s who he was.
How has the death of Sean Price affect you, and did it inspire your album?
The album was done already by the time of Sean’s passing. Though, it not only affected me but so many people as well. He was generous in many ways and did a lot of things for people, which he probably didn’t have to. He would often ask if he could help in any way to let me know. The last few times we were around each other he would ask me to let him know when I am ready to do another joint. I got you just let me know. That’s how he was. He didn’t have to, but he did. I appreciated that. Sean was an influence of mine from his Heltah Skeltah days to the present. He didn’t care about making music that people liked but made the music he liked and Hip Hop heads would appreciate. He did things on his terms and Hip Hop benefitted from it. He could have sold out so many times but refused to. I admired that about him a great deal.
When you and PF Cuttin were in the studio producing the album, what’s one good memory you guys shared in the making of the album?
There were so many memories that happened when I was in the studio with PF. Nothing in particular that stands out b/c there was so many memories of being in the studio and working with legends like OC, AG, Sean Price, etc… PF did a lot for me in such a short period and introduced me to so many people. He encouraged me to keep working and making that boom bap sound. He is very easy to work with and knows a lot when it comes to hip-hop, so I learned a lot. I had a lot of fun recording the album. We have a good chemistry, and I feel that it reflects in the sound. As a result, of the music, we became good friends. It was a great experience to work with someone so talented as PF with his production, scratches, recording and mixing ability. It was a pleasure for me to work so closely with someone of his caliber.
Do you see yourself going mainstream, or would you rather stay underground?
To me, I don’t think about that. I just really concentrate on staying true to my sound and making the music that helped shape my upbringing.
How long have you been making music, and how did you start?
I have been emceeing for more than half my life. One of my earliest memories was of a block party, and I saw a guy grab the mic and start to freestyle. I was so amazed how everyone stopped to watch him, the crowd’s reaction was great, and instantly I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Being that you’re from Queens, New York, where a lot of hip hop artist emerged from, who has influenced your sound?
Mobb Deep, Large Pro, RUN DMC, Tragedy, Nas, Kool G Rap, A Tribe Called Quest, Organized Konfusion, etc…..as well as other artists have played a significant role in shaping my sound.
What drives your passion?
The love of the music, culture, and the feeling of creating music drives me.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the rap game, and at this point where do you think it’s going?
They are still quality artists who stay pushing the culture forward, there just a lot harder to find nowadays. Don’t pay attention to the radio or more of the mainstream stuff. I am an MC, so I pay attention to lyricists and those who make that boom bap. I’m hopeful that it will come full circle again.
What do you feel is missing in the rap game?
Artists used to take pride in being different and bringing their style to the table; Nowadays I feel like there is nothing to separate artists from each other and there is no variety.
How can you collaborate to the hip hop scene to leave your impact?
I feel that my sound is faithful to that NYC boom bap Hip Hop sound. You can see the influences in my music but also not sounding like no one in particular. I tried to touch on a variety of subjects from life experiences, concepts while hoping that Hip Hop heads would appreciate the album and the way it was put together. I am getting so much positive feedback from Hip Hop heads and from legends that I looked up to so that in itself is rewarding enough. People can hear my music and decide what they think about me, as long as I know I put my heart and soul into it I’m Okay with that.
Who are some artists that you’re checking for today?
Still checking for artists like DITC, Wu, MOP, etc….more of the golden era sounding type of Hip Hop.
What kind of artist do you consider yourself, and how do you separate yourself from the others?
An MC/lyricist, who stands for something and more or less just being myself that in itself will allow me to separate myself from others.