Trae tha Truth
Trae grew up in Houston, Texas. Born and raised a product of it’s south side streets. Among other notable distinctions, he’s a member of the Screwed Up Click and the ABN Gang. Since his first appearance on wax, on his cousin Z-ro’s debut CD, Look What You Did To Me, to this moment today, Trae has been one of the most consistently lyrical, street reporters this region has ever known.
His first official release hit the world in 1999, the classic Guerilla Maab album, Rise. Rise helped set the tone for a whole resurgence in Houston. Back then, Trae, Zro and Dougie D were all about 16 or 17 years old, and their youthful fire showed through on every track. Theirs was a new sound for Houston, harder, more aggressive, yet also smarter and more focused than many who came before them. Not since the Geto Boys released their classic Grip It On That Other Level, ten years earlier, had the city heard such genuinely heartfelt angst.
Rise was recorded and released just after Trae returned from a short stint in jail. That experience taught him to focus on his music, but still he remained in the streets. “I caught an aggravated robbery case by being young and crazy.” Trae remembers, “I was on the streets. It was a blessing. I didn’t do nothing but probably some weeks in jail, but I was on paper for like two years for aggravated robbery. They tried to give me close to 40 years. But it was a blessing man, the DA knew my lawyer and they felt they could give me another chance for me to not mess my life off. Cuz I had been doing music, so I was already known for that. They ended up doing that to where I only got two years deferred, but if I had messed up on that deferred probation then I’d have did the max that I could do on that case.”
That forced focus of sorts has paid off for Trae. From his world famous SLAB mixtapes, to his regional solo releases, Trae’s name is known in Texas as one of the realest to ever spit. His raw emotion and true tales of the ills of the streets are rare in rap today. On a Trae album you won’t find the endless barrage of bling bling. But you will hear some of the most genuine tales of woe and fury ever recorded.
“People always wonder why we be so serious,” Trae reflects, “and I sit back and let ‘em know, we keep a lot of shit we go through inside our chests. We ain’t the type to go talk about our problems to nobody so that’s what make us good at what we do in this music shit. We go through shit on a day to day basis. That’s why we have so much shit to talk about. That’s why I’m glad we go through shit. I hate that it be how we go through it but it’s good that we do go through it because without that, shit, what would we have? Shit, my brother Dinky doing three life sentences, I can’t be there. I don’t even want him there. I gotta do this for him and for me and my whole family.”
The tales of reality don’t come from hearsay or his imagination either. Trae is the rare rapper who really lives the street life every day. Whether he wants it or not, it is a part of him. “Last year I ended up catching a bullshit case being in a shootout that wasn’t even our fault.” He explains, “We ain’t in no fairy tale shit. I’m gonna be consistent till they put me in my grave and hopefully when they put me in my grave it’s still gonna be consistent.”
His solo albums, Losing Composure, Same Thing Different Day, Drama, Return of the Streets, Say Hello to the Asshole, Later Dayz and Restless are all regarded as classics. But it’s his forthcoming release Life Goes On that has had the streets buzzing for the past year. Life Goes On is a collection of some of Trae’s strongest works to date.
His biggest hit to date featured the late Screwed Up Click members Hawk and his brother Fat Pat – both of whom died at the hands of a gunman. “Swang” is a heartfelt tribute to everything that made H-Town what it is, and Trae continues on with that vibe on Life Goes On.
“It’s only right for me to bring my culture and my team.” Trae will always ride for his people. “’Swang,’ that was a term Screwed Up Click used period. That’s just our shit. Pat and Hawk were legends man and with me around they ain’t never gonna fade away. And then Screw, I ain’t gonna let that shit fade away. I brought that shit back because I felt my first impact needed to be what I represent and who the fuck they need to be respecting right now because this man paved the way for everybody.”