TRAE THE TRUTH – 28 Questions with TRAE

by: Todd Davis

Since dropping his Rap-A-Lot/Asylum album Restless, reviews and word-of-mouth have made Trae an artist to watch. While his music is not mainstream, the pain and passion behind Trae’s vivid storytelling make everything he drops compelling listening. Live, he is without rival. No frills here folks, just Trae Tha Truth! The much anticipated follow-up to Restless, Life Goes On is set to drop in September.

You titled your new record, Life Goes On — Why?

Trae: Because in every life situation, whether good or bad, at the end of the day, life has to go on, and when it does, you have to be that soldier. 

How do you feel that your fourth solo record either differs and/or compares to your other three previous efforts?

Trae: I’m more experienced and mature. 

As far as the production, who did you work with this time around? And, how much input do you actually have when it comes to a Trae track?

Trae: All creativity is me. I’m my executive producer. Some of the producers are; Mr. Rogers, Q-Stone, Nova, Nitti, Mr.Lee, Tha Unit and more.

From a lyrical perspective where do you draw your inspiration(s) from?

Trae: Everything I represent.

I notice that there is a pretty heavy guest roster {Lil’ Wayne , Styles P & Jadakiss, Yung Joc, Juelz Santana, etc.} on your new LP — So tell me, how were you able to make some of these stellar collabos happen?

Trae: It’s just real nigga sh*t. 

One real gem is the track, ’Against All Odds,’ with 2Pac — How did this song come to fruition?

Trae: It was a vibe I was on, and (Young) Noble of the Outlawz pointed me in the right direction. 

When did music first enter into your life?

Trae: I got started by being a part of these streets and witnessing a lot of stuff. Every once in a while, you run into a real nigga, and I was one of them. I found that music was a way to express things. My brother got locked up and I got locked up. He went that route, so I did it too. I only became interested (in music) ‘cause my brother, Dinkie, asked me to do music instead of ending up in prison like everybody else. So, I saw a lot of things growing up. 

Coming from a group situation with the whole Guerilla Maab thing — Initially, what prompted your decision to branch out and go solo? Or, was that just always in your plans?

Trae: I just know how to work hard for myself. 

Growing up in Houston, Texas, who was your biggest musical influence?

Trae: My older brother Dinkie. (I also listened to) ‘Pac, Bone (Thugs N Harmony), (the) Outlawz, Spice 1, (but) mainly (it was) my brother. I’m young, but come from the old school. 

How long have you known that you’d eventually pursue music professionally?
Trae: (Ever) since I was twelve, and my brother, Dinkie, planted the seed. 

How did you end up signed to Asylum/Rap-A-Lot Records?
Trae: I was hollerin’ at labels, and they were moving slow, but I came to Rap-A-Lot and kept my label (G-Maab Entertainment), and got distribution (for it). 

Have you always been known as Trae?
Trae: (Yep,) it’s always been me.

What is the most accurate way to describe your music?

Trae: (It’s) street and versatile, and (it’s) my life.

What has been the key to your longevity in music?

Trae: Hard work. I’m a hustla, (and) I’ll maintain. 

What do your future goals and plans entail?

Trae: (Doing) movies and voiceovers is something I would like to get into. 

Tell me about Guerilla Maab Entertainment… 

Trae: I’m the CEO, along with my manager, Chris Johnson — It’s me, Slab, Oh, and Dallas & Shine, who are R&B singers. Q-Stone is our producer. (We’re) making noise — It’s what we do.

What are your true feelings about today’s Hip-Hop music? And, more importantly, what about southern rap in general now that it really seems to be on a serious decline…. 
Trae: First off, we spit for the streets, (so) we ain’t Hip-Hop. And, as far as the decline, we soldiers so we’ll be okay. 

With that being said, what do you think about the South and where Southern Hip-Hop is right now?
Trae: I’m from the south, (and) I’m not gonna say anything negative. I feel I’m bringing something new. If you prefer crunk, u got it. Ballin’ music, you got that (too). Happy, you got that. We got a different perspective. You got different cats doing different things here. 

What do you enjoy doing in your off-time, completely away from music?
Trae: I’m in (the) streets and taking care of my son. I’m in these streets, (and) I like to take time out with my niggas in the hood. I go out to the clubs, too. You gotta keep your people focused. If you turn your back on (your) people, they will fall down. I’m doing me, (and) if that means being disrespectful sometimes, then I’m disrespectful. 

What is your favorite movie(s) and why?
Trae: City of Glass, New Jack City, State Property, Paper Soldiers, Menace II Society, Juice — I liked everything about those movies. 

And, what is your favorite television show — Either past or present?
Trae: Chappelle’s Show, and (The) Boondocks. Those are my little mu’fuckas, they got me dying. You gotta catch the subliminal messages. Matter of fact, they need to use some of (my) music.

I hear you’re an avid DVD collector — What are your favorite movies from your collection?
Trae: (The) Sopranos, Chappelle’s Show, (and) Ghetto Fight bootleg tapes. 

With the anniversary of 09/11 quickly approaching, what memories do you have of this fateful day in American history?
Trae: I was in my house (and) I woke up and saw the TV. But, you know everything happens for a reason, (and) I can’t say why that happened, but everything happens for a reason. 

Tell me a secret…

Trae: I’m the truth — You’ll find that out once you come across me.

What does your future hold?

Trae: It’s hard to say, but I’ll be into something. 

As for your former group, Guerilla Maab — Do you all still remain in touch? When was the last time you all spoke? Are there any future reunion plans in store?

Trae: I talk to Dougie all the time — We focused on our solo (stuff) right now.

Finally, A.B.N. is another off shoot collective that you started — What is going on with this whole new movement in southern rap? Is there an A.B.N. <Assholes by Nature> project in the works?

Trae: No, they don’t all rap. We’re mostly on some street sh*t, and street unity. And, the movement is ‘Respect real niggaz, and get this money; If u disrespect what we doing, be prepared fo’ whateva!!’ 

Any parting words?
Trae: Life Goes On in stores October 16th!! The truth is Trae. Trae is the streetz; R.I.P. (DJ) Screw, R.I.P. (Fat) Pat and (Big) H.A.W.K.. I’m one of the youngest out here. They ain’t seen my side yet. I promise you won’t skip over my music. Every track you’ll listen to, I’m all the way around. I rap, (and) I sing. This is probably one of the most serious and jaminest albums out there. A lot of people follow a fad, (but) I’m doing my own thing. Sometimes you gotta understand, this sh*t is for real. My sh*t might be too far over their heads. My fans get more than what they pay for. I’m reppin’ the truth, and the streets