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Trae tha Truth – WWTD (What Would Trae Do?)

Words + Interview By Tyrone Davis

I heard Trae tha Truth’s music for the first time when I was in college around 2004. I had just become a huge fan of the Houston rap scene a few years prior so I was interested in any artist coming out of the city and the surrounding areas during that time. He is one of my favorites artists from that era and I have been actively following his career ever since.

Aside from his extremely long catalogue of music, Trae is well-known for his activism, charities, relationships and overall business savvy, which he has demonstrated time and time again. When does he have time to take a break? I’m not sure. 

This interview made me reflect on quite a bit, not only about Trae himself and his journey but also about my own life and journey. I learned a lot about myself while attending college and that time frame is when I decided to pursue the entertainment business and become an entrepreneur. It has been a long road.

Life is funny. I went from listening to this man’s music in my dorm room to crossing paths with him a few times over the years with the first time being during Twenty4Seven Magazine’s first year in business at an event in Miami over 10 years ago. 

Now, his is one of our cover stories. In this interview, we spoke about seeking justice for Breonna Taylor, the Capitol riots, Reparations, black empowerment and his latest joint album with NYC’s Mysonne, “If You’re Scared Stay Inside”. Check it out.

How did partnering with Mysonne and his organization “Until Freedom” originally come about?
It started when we were on the road. George (Floyd) was one of my partners and when I went to Minnesota, Mysonne picked me up from the airport. We were there standing for the cause and after that, we never looked back because after that we started working with stuff for Breonna Taylor and we ended up moving to Louisville to fight for her.

When you say you moved to Louisville to seek justice for Breonna Taylor, what all did that entail and what was life like on a daily basis during the process?
I moved out there with Until Freedom. We did everything and became a part of the whole city and community from protests, feeding the community, assisting and doing anything that we could as if that was the town we were from. We even went to jail a few times.

Is there a particular method to protesting, a certain protocol to go by, etc.? How do you pull off a peaceful protest without emotions running high and things spiraling out of control?
It goes different ways like the protest in Houston with 80,000 people. Emotions definitely always run its course in these type of situations because you never know how hurt someone is, what they may be going through or what they are feeling at the time. So, you have to be compassionate and considerate of that but at the same time, you can’t lose sight of what we are out here to do. I think it balances out in the areas that it is supposed to balance out but some of them, there has to be chaos.

You guys were arrested twice at some point during the protests. What were the charges and outcomes? Also, do you take arrests like those less serious when you are being arrested for a cause or being arrested as a collective?
They gave me 2 felonies. We got felonies…I don’t even remember exactly what the charges were. We dealt with it…It was for a cause. When you stand for what you stand for, you gotta be prepared for everything that comes with it.

Break down your fight for “virtual funerals” within the prison system.
There is a crazy story with that. So what happened was, George Floyd’s nephew was locked up and there was no way that we could get him out in time for George’s funeral. So, I called and pulled some strings and was put in touch with the head sheriff in the county and he arranged for them to put him in a private room so that he could see the funeral live. From there, we never looked back. It is a good thing because they know I fight for the people and the inmates and allowed me to seal that.

During the Capitol riot, we heard a lot of, “If they were black/Black Lives Matter (fill in the blank)”.  Do you think we are stating the obvious at this point? Why or why not? 
I think that was something that we have seen. All walks of life, all races and all classes of people got to see America for what it really is. We were uncomfortable in general and that made a lot of people who normally feel comfortable feel uncomfortable.  It was an opportunity for people to see what really happens in America.

What is your take on Reparations? Do you think we will ever get them?
I feel we need them. Do I think we will ever get them? It is hard to say. They spend money on everything else but I don’t think they will want to make us a priority.

One of the big talking points when discussing reparations or anything that should benefit black people directly, it seems that “people of color” get thrown in the mix and black people never seem to actually benefit from any policies on a major scale as a means to rectify what we’ve specifically been subjected to in this country as a people. What say you?
That is why I say it is important for us to vote. Even though we are doing what we do, we are not voting the right people in place that will make those polices go for our benefit. None of them are for us right now so it becomes a situation where we have to vote to get the right people in place and hold people accountable for these policies. We are in the same fucked up position that we were before…maybe less or maybe more, only time will tell. He (Joe Biden) did what he had to do to get in there and after that he kept it pushing. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been several people who have spoken out on social media about being mistreated by doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff when visiting the hospital. Also, it is often said that our people don’t like hospitals based on our history. As someone who has been in a similar predicament after being shot, what are your thoughts on the matter? Also, break down the story for those who aren’t familiar. 
I healed myself.  I left the hospital and went home, applied pressure, cleaned the blood from around the wound and I thugged it out, you know? It was kind of like the movie shit when you see people heal their own wound….that is exactly what happened. Even when I took the bullet out years later, I didn’t go to the hospital. I did it on my own.

How are you keeping safe and staying productive during COVID-19 when there are so many people being affected by it, especially when in large groups? 
I was affected at the beginning so after that I kind of weeded the rest of it out. I have been out so much, I believe my antibodies have built up to the point that they walk right across it.

At its core, where do your activism and philanthropy stem from? Can you remember the earliest moment in your life when you decided that would be one of your life’s missions? 
Well no, I never said that I was a philanthropist. I just always give to people in general but I’ve been like that since I was young. It is so crazy because I see the same in my sons. My son does it too. I have to get on him sometimes because he will get something and share it with everybody.  Sometimes I be like, “Bruh, I just got that shit for you” and he be done gave it away.  It has just always been there.

With that being said, tell us about your joint project with Mysonne, “If You’re Scared Stay Inside”. What can people expect who haven’t heard it?
Truth! The realities, the truth and something that is needed for the culture at the present time. The good thing is that we can really rap. The message is historical because we were recording while we were in Louisville.

Which record is your favorite?
All of them! That is determined by my mood. Whatever my mood is.

I’m going to throw a few names out there. Say whatever comes to mind.</b
A. Baby Truth
Boss. Management.
B. Nipsey Hussle
My Brother.
C. Lyric Chanel
Niece. My Heart.
D. Lil Noop
One of the homies.

Lastly, how would you like to be remembered when this is all said and done?
As one of the realist ones left and that everything that I do is for the legacy of my kids.

Follow Trae Tha Truth on Instagram @traeabn.

Photo courtesy of Trea Day PR.

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