HHS: Since this is your first interview with HHS, please introduce yourself to the readers.
TruthLive – TruthLive representing Santa Rosa, CA,currently based out of Los Angeles/Hollywood. Co-founded Interdependent Media with such artists as K’Naan, J*Davey, Tanya Morgan and Finale to name a few. Just trying to carry the tradition of hip-hop music and the stuff that we grew up loving.
HHS: Your album Patience dropped April 20th. Can you talk a little about it?
TruthLive: It’s called Patience because the process required a lot of patience, so there’s nothing deeper to it than that. It was produced entirely by Jake One and it’s an honor and privilege for me to be able to say that. He’s arguably the most in demand producer in indie hip-hop or at least our little niche of indie hip-hop. But yeah, the album features DonWill and Von Pea from Tanya Morgan, Finale, Moe Green (one of our new artists) and Ras Kass.
Truthlive: It’s just a good old fashioned hip-hop album, that’s how I’d describe it. I’m doing the thing that’s frowned upon by a lot of critics; which is rapping about rap. I’m talking about a lot of social issues, I’m talking about girls and really all of the various things I’m into as a person. It’s pretty diverse topically and very cohesive sonically. If you’re familiar Jake, you already know what to expect.
HHS: How’d you hook up with Jake One?
TruthLive: Through ID, the general manager of Interdependent Media. He and Jake have known each other for a long time. And he’s a mutual friend of mine and Jake’s. Jake and I met about 5 years ago and built from there. There was never a point where it was an intentional thing for me to do an album entirely produced by him. We just kept making music and it got to a point where I had enough music to make it happen. It was sort of a beautiful accident (laughs). It’s funny because whenever I see or talk to Jake, we’re usually talking about sports and not music. We’ll argue about the 49ers and the Seahawks. A lot of our relationship doesn’t really even have to do with music. This project just naturally happened.
HHS: Having that kind of relationship makes it better right? It’s not just business and you’re working with a friend.
TruthLive: Yeah, doing business with Jake is kind of out of the norm. We talk about other things and when we get back to talking business, it’s usually wrapped up in about 30 seconds. There’s a lot of posturing with other emcees and producers and people are really calculated about how they want to things as far as business. But when there’s someone that you have trust in personally, you don’t have to have a filter on. You can speak candidly and be direct. It makes things a lot easier.
HHS: When you’re working on music, do you look to make songs for listeners or more for you and the kind of messages that you’re trying to get out there.
TruthLive – It’s a little bit of both. Music is kind of therapeutic for me. Patience is kind of a critical album. It’s critical about hip-hop and the state of the world. The music is make is really a reminder to me about how I can improve. As far as this project, I made a lot of music for myself and the thinking man. I made it for people that are critical thinkers. If I made it for other people, I think it would have gone another route. I’m aware of its shortcomings as far as the commercial aspect of it. But I just wanted to make something that I could stand behind that represents me. I feel confident backing up any of the content on there.
HHS: How does your background contribute to who you are now as an emcee? I know you started out as a DJ and producer.
TruthLive: Having all of those different elements has helped a lot. The DJ background was beneficial because it helped me to understand what would work for DJ’s. I know what’s going to work and not work, so when it comes to production and post production, I can communicate to the engineer. I’m still growing as an emcee and I want to keep improving. I’m also more aware of making songs. Before, I was just rapping just to rap. But the background helped in the creation process.
HHS: I’ve heard a few emcees talk about that; the difference between just rapping and making songs. There’s the whole structure aspect of making sure the lyrics match the hooks or the cuts and having specific timing, it’s really a process.
TruthLive: Yeah exactly. Tanya Morgan is a perfect example of that. They’re capable of just spittin’, but they also make songs. And the songs tie together to make albums. It’s something that I’m aware of and I’m trying to improve. People want to hear songs and not just someone rapping to rap.
HHS: Where would you put yourself now as an emcee with this being your debut album?
TruthLive: I’m very glad to be in the position I’m in. A lot of people come out and think they are already on top of their game. I know I can hold my own with anyone and I feel comfortable in my lane. I’m trying to establish and build my catalog. I’m glad I’m still on the climb.
HHS: How about touring and performing. Where are you with that now?
TruthLive: Right now, I’m doing a lot of spot dates. The touring will pick up lot more at the end of May and through the summer.
HHS: Where can we find the album and your EP The Unlearning?
TruthLive: Unlearning the EP is actually exclusively hosted by DJ Booth.Net. You can basically just google me and find it or get it direct from DJ Booth. It’s a free download. You can also get anything we’re doing from the label website which is; www.imculture.com. We’re trying to push people to purchase from the website just because it’s tough for an artist with very little history to be able to push through distribution. So we want people to get releases from the website or iTunes. So we want to keep up with the times and push people to iTunes, but it can all be purchased from our site as well. We’ve got this cool deluxe package right now for about 20 dollars where you can Patience and The Unlearning plus a TruthLive t-shirt, a sleep mask for our “Stop Sleepin” campaign AND a 45 of me and Donwill on the b-side. So for the price, it’s excellent.
HHS: Any last words?
TruthLive: Yeah, Just want to give a big shout out to Hiphopsite. It was a big influence for me coming up and I’ve always appreciated the quality control with the content. You’ve always reached out to big artists and small artists like me who aren’t as well known, but still give equal treatment and represent the culture and tradition of hip-hop. So big shout out to Hiphopsite.
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