Screwed Up Click rapper and A**hole By Nature, Trae from Houston, Texas, has undergone some significant changes in his career. He started recording official releases under G-Maab Entertainment (named after his group Guerrilla Maab), jumped to Rap-A-Lot, then began his ABN Ent. enterprise and is currently in T.I.’s Hustle Gang aka Grand Hustle. Elongating his stage name to Trae Tha Truth in 2010, the rapper born Frazier Thompson has perhaps not experienced a change more pivotal than that reflected in the self-developmental Tha Truth, his seventh studio LP. Considered a hip hop veteran as of late, Trae has been active since well before 2003 so it’s a little surprising that he’s still relatively young for rap (thirty-five years old), but on his new album, he is showing a great deal of refreshing maturity.
With enough hot and wild action for equilibrium’s sake (songs like “Tricken Every Car I Get,” “I Don’t Give A F*ck,” “Late Night King” and “Yeah H*e” basically explain themselves), Tha Truth and Trae, it seems, are mainly concerned with growing up, looking at the world from a realistic, adult perspective and helping others. “Why,” “Children of Men” and “Book of Life” shed a tear for the ghetto and express disapproval of the self-destructive evils that its men do, and the remorseful “Never Knew” prays for forgiveness. As if to move on, “Doin’ Me” and “I Can’t Feel You” emphasize self-reliance and minding one’s own business while other various parts commit themselves to hard truths, words of empowerment and optimism (“Determined” is the ultimate example of this hopeful outlook).
Smooth beats with ambiance, some light drill, but mostly traditional, authentic production signatures give the sounds here pleasantly mild flavor. They probably won’t age extremely well, but that’s ok. Nothing is in any way aversive. Trae’s features include some very big names, Future, Rick Ross, J. Cole, T.I., Dej Loaf for example, but it feels like Trae has enlisted them out of respect and not to exploit their current popularity. The respect feels mutual, and he could have pulled more big hitters, but he hasn’t. There are just as many other guests with smaller notoriety here, Don Primo, Ink, Que, Lil Duval, Lil Boss, etc. Lyrically, Trae is virtually flawless and brings out some very good wordplay without experimenting much mechanically or technique-wise. The aptly titled Tha Truth may not be a standout classic, but the support it gives to hip hop via artist exposure and powerful messages is truly wonderful.