Mother. Activist. Singer. Woman. TRU7H is about that life. From reading to her son, to righting wrongs like the recent, tragic death of Alfred Olango, to purposing her music as a platform to share her message with listeners, South East San Diego’s TRU7H shares her truths, our truths, in hopes of effecting change. The songstress has taken a step back from her music to focus on her movement, and is plotting her return, recognizing that progression comes with a price tag. While TRU7H’s solo career has temporarily been put on hold, she has stayed busy both in the studio and in the streets. She has been featured on a bunch of tracks with like-minded San Diego-based artists, and has been involved in activism all over the city. In between mothering the movement and mothering her lil man, TRU7H was kind enough to share her story with us here at SDLovesHipHop. Take a break from all of the lies and fake news circulating on social media to spend time getting to know the TRU7H.
SDLHH: Who is T.R.U.7.H.?
TRU7H: TRU7H is a fearless woman who’s endured a lot of hardships but continues to follow her dream. She a lioness that challenges the norm.
SDLHH: Can you tell SDLHH a story about how hip hop has changed your life?
TRU7H: Hip hop has been a major influence in my life and it influences the music I create. Kendrick Lamar changed my life. When I got wind of him I was addicted. He was a breath a fresh air to me. I appreciated him during that time because he rapped about things that mattered to me, things I could relate to and, most importantly, he was creative. Most of the music that was out was the same flow, same topics, and weak bars. That’s out! He’s also from LA (my birthplace) and the West Coast wasn’t getting much recondition then either… Now we on!
SDLHH: Given your recent activism and the role I believe hip hop plays in culture, let’s start with your community involvement. First, can you tell us about the Reclaiming the Community project you are a part of, and what its aim is?
TRU7H: The Reclaiming the Community CD was a vision Khaild Alexander, founder of Pillars of the Community, had. It was a project that had songs featuring rappers from all over San Diego. Not just any ol’ rappers either, men and women who are well respected, musically and in the streets: Big June, Tiny Doo, Ecay Uno, Odessa Kane, Black Mikey, Silhouette and more.
I got introduced to Pillars of the Community because Big June asked me to sing on the hook. I killed the hook and I’ve been rocking with the Pillars every since.
SDLHH: Second, can you just tell us a bit about the work you do in and for the community, and why you do that selfless, hard work?
TRU7H: I’m an activist. I’m for the betterment of my community. For equity for African Americans. Real freedom for my people. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors and called even more people in Southeast to talk to them about propositions that affect us. I’ve registered people to vote in the SouthEast. I was one of the first people to know when Alfred Olango was killed by the El Cajon police and I’m one of the last people still keeping his story alive. I do what I feel is needed for my community because we deserve better [than the status quo].
SDLHH: How can others get involved?
TRU7H: For now, just follow me on @Tru7h (on all social media sites) and when events are happening PULL UP.
SDLHH: You clearly have a passion to make an impact. What is the role of music in your pursuit of impacting your community and the world?
TRU7H: Music is a universal language. It’s the way I get people to listen to me. It’s a vital tool for me. A true gift that I’m so thankful for. Music is so powerful and it’s needed for the revolution.
SDLHH: Alright, let’s narrow our sights a bit on your art, your music. How long have you been singing? What has been a major highlight of your musical journey so far?
TRU7H: I’ve been singing and writing since I was 7 years old. I always sang in church from a child until about a year ago. Professionally, I’ve been singing for 5 years now. I get paid for features and shows now. A major highlight is the annual, “Wanna be Free” concert we, the Pillars of the Community, put on at Horton Plaza Amphitheater. It was so amazing because the space isn’t normally a space where you see a lot of black and brown people. But the number of people that were there, the lights, live band, stage, being outside, downtown, with my people, was life changing. It felt like the BET awards it was so huge.
Most importantly, I was in a space where i was able to [blend] my music and my activism; at most shows I can’t mix them both due to the crowd I’m catering too.
SDLHH: That’s amazing. Speaking of your musical journey, I’ve been listening to your music on Soundcloud and loving it, especially “Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe” and the TRU7H W.A.S. album. But I noticed that it has been about a year since you’ve released music. Why?
TRU7H: If I was just an artist, I’d probably have more current music out, but I’m not. I’m a mom, and the head of my household. I’ve been going extremely hard for years and I’ve learnt so much business-wise, which won’t allow me to aimlessly put original music out. I’ve been secretly working on my EP and I’m sitting on some dope ass songs but I’m not gonna drop em until my budget is right. I’ll continue to do covers, hooks, performances, and freestyles. I just HAVE to consistently grow so I can’t do what I did with my last project and expect better results. I also can’t rush greatness. But my new project is coming out AMAZING.
SDLHH: Exciting. While your solo music has been on the back burner, you mentioned that you have remained busy doing features with others. Who are some of the artists you’ve been collaborating with? How do you connect with other artists, like the ones you work with, in San Diego?
TRU7H: Yes, I’ve done so many features that I had to start charging people to decipher who was serious and who wasn’t. I’ve co-labbed with Big June, Ecay Uno, WrongKind, Cyco City, Silhouette, Tiny Doo, Lil Kev and soooo many more. I’m gonna put a cd together soon with some of my favorite colabs. 10/10 they hit me up. The only rappers in SD I’ve hit up to work with has been Ryan Anthony and Mitchy Slick. Other than that I ALWAYS get hit up. But, until the budget is right or the opportunity is better than the one I’ve made for myself, I don’t worry. Not to sound cocky, but again, I’m the head of my household so there’s always other things I need to do…. Like laundry or read a book with my kid.
SDLHH: While you have so much going on with your activism and work as a featured artist, I know you’re chomping at the bit to create your art. What’s on the agenda for TRU7H in 2017?
TRU7H: New project, new covers, getting my band together, new videos, and more colabs with artists nationwide.
SDLHH: Let’s transition to putting all of the pieces together. Can you tell SDLHH’s readers a story about any of your recent performances wherein you have seen the positive impact of hip hop culture on the community?
TRU7H: I was just a part of a all female show called “Femme Fest” put on by Writerz Blok, and it was epic. Definitely a crowd I normally wouldn’t sing in front of, not because I don’t want to, but because I haven’t been involved much with that part of the music scene in San Diego. It was in South East, and It was a positive reaction from all the people there.
SDLHH: As we begin bringing the interview to a close, what’s something that you are working on or doing right now that you can’t wait to let people know about?
TRU7H: I’m working on putting a band together…. I love working with live bands!!!
SDLHH: What’s something you’d like to share with San Diego’s hip hop community?
TRU7H: Stay tuned for my new project TRUTH is!
SDLHH: One emphasis of SDLHH is to see a heightened level of unity in the San Diego Hip Hop community. Can you point to some other artists who you see as comrades and who you also see as helping to progress the scene?
TRU7H: the artist I mentioned above are the ones I work closely with.
SDLHH: Finally, where should readers go to connect with you?
TRU7H: Follow me on all social media sites @TRU7H
Peace, Love & Hip Hop,
#SDLovesHipHop exists to carry on a conversation about hip hop music and culture as a catalyst to effect change in individuals’ lives and communities. If any of the artists above, or this article has struck a chord in you, then please leave a comment.