Discography Check: True God

By @CherchezLaPorsh 

What I love about hip hop and rap is every now and then you stumble upon rappers who bring a level of ingenuity, wisdom, intelligence and creativity to their art. Normally, most of them are signed to big labels, have a ton of promotion, hype and are on everyone’s radar. However, what about the part of hip hop that doesn’t involve labels or mass marketing or hundreds of thousands of dollars pumped into promotion? I’m talking about the indie world, although initially I didn’t know much about any rappers who fit that bill, Team DAR and specifically True God would change that. What I value the most and place the most importance on is what some independent artists give us: brilliant lyrics, incredible wisdom and impeccable flow much like True God does album after album. Let’s take a closer look at the solo albums that make up True’s catalog and essentially led me to rank him alongside some legendary rappers.

*Soul Revival 1 (November 3, 2011)

-Released in 2011, this would be the debut album. It truly has everything from the symbolism of the album cover art, to snippets and samples, to beats, all the way to True's impeccable lyrics and flow. “Soul Revival 1” really addresses African American cultural pride and each track is infused with this hopeful message. "Power And The Black Fist" and "Original Kings" are incredibly powerful and challenge the mainstream mindset. "Must've Been Angels", "God, Religion and Women" and "If I Die" are your connectivity pieces that are perfectly put together with complimentary vocal samples. Is this the album I go to for emotions and rawness? No, but for inspiration, motivation and hope, this is the only album I go to. If I had to sum this up, I'd say “Soul Revival 1” is the 2011 version of Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation Of Millions...." with a dash of KRS-One and Nas. Lyrically and conceptually, True nails this! We'll touch on exactly why in a bit.

Favorite Lyrics:
"Hold up, are you hearing me/ Running from all the tyranny/ Lyrically/ 
Moving waters, just know the devil ain't scaring me/
Fear in me/ 
Don't exist/
I clearly walk through the mist/ Endearing me with the gifts/
That was given, punching my fist/"
-"Everything Changes"

*D.O.A. (July 12, 2012)

-Less than a year later, True releases his second album. To me this album is where we start to see an entirely different side of True, although the beginning of this album still follows the same momentum and energy of “Soul Revival 1”. However, about 1/4 of the way through the album, listeners experience a rawness and emotion we hadn’t heard up until this point. What True does best is lyrics without a doubt, but added emotion and rawness takes it all up a notch. “Everyday Emotion” alludes to the expectancy of a daughter; “Flesh And Blood” touches on True’s family dynamic and relationship with his father; at the album’s midway point “Modern Day Woman” is a vivid explanation and appreciation of the woman in his life and the very last track “Z”, which features Stephen Joseph, sort of leaves me wide eyed and at a loss for words, as the lyrics here are descriptive, honest and insightful. What we don’t know yet is that this track would be a foreshadow of True’s next release, and in essence, this is absolutely brilliant. I do have to mention Speed On The Beat is the sole producer to thank for the production on this album, as his beat variation is done flawlessly and each one compliments the tone and feel of the entire album. This is definitely the album that serves as a precursor to the rest of the catalog.

Favorite Lyrics:
"I started out as embryo evolved to a man/
Grew into a God, then evolved through his plan/
The supreme and majestic/
I seem to profess it/
The best of the best, building dreams through these records/
Describe many scenes, hope the queens can digest it/"
-"Best of the Best"

*Soul Revival 2 (October 1, 2013)

-Another year, another release and thank God for this one. “Soul Revival 2” is truly a lyrical masterpiece and a classic. This is definitely one of my favorite albums for two reasons: Lyrics and storytelling. With each album, True reveals another strength he has as an artist. We hadn’t heard storytelling quite like this, after leaving us with a slight introduction to what was going on with True personally in the “D.O.A.” album, “Soul Revival 2” picks up where that album left off (the foreshadowing we can see in hindsight). The rawness in emotion, the honesty, the depth, track placement, everything about this fits perfectly together. “Lost Love (Pt. 1-3)”, “Piece Of Me”, and “Zuri’s Song” are definitely your go to tracks for emotion. “Reset”, “Dreams of..”, and “American Ghetto” are explicitly honest and “Written In Eternity”, “Black Martyr” and “Vital Signs” are your go to tracks for depth. Now, you might be curious as to where do you get the lyrical masterpiece and gems, right? It is in every single track! Verse after verse and bar after bar, True delivers the caliber of lyrics that leaves you thirsty for more. That “brilliant” concept I talked about a little bit ago, “Soul Revival” was a perfect platform to address everything that makes up who True is on a personal level, everything that affects the soul and causes a shift in mindset. (Word on the street is that Soul Revival 3 will be coming out sometime in 2016 and I can’t wait).

Favorite Lyrics: 
"Is this a heartbreak, maybe it isn't known/
It's probably karma, I dished out a couple heartbreaks of my own/ So, before you leave and before we create issues/
Here...there's a piece of my soul you can take with you/"
-"Piece of Me"

*Three7One (April 30, 2014)

-Once again, True proves to be a genius conceptually and you may be wondering why is Three7One significant? Because this album is a story told during a three hundred and seventy one day time period. The events, thought processes, circumstances, all of it is encompassed within a 371 day time period. This is still a continuation of the emotional rawness we would have heard in “Soul Revival 2”, but what True gifts us with here is a bit more range. His lyrics always remain on point, the imagery is intact and the Nas-like storytelling skills are refined, but on this album, he also reminds me of Common. Check out “You Are Everything” and pay attention to verse three, as well as “Mind Of A Genius”, as they are dope examples. “Bitter Pill” is another one of my favorite tracks, as well as “Gambling Problem” and “Black Gods Rising”, and to be honest it is like that on pretty much all the tracks. Unlike the previous albums, I wouldn’t say this is perfect, but it has perfect elements that come together to make it another great addition to an already amazing discography.

Favorite Lyrics:
"A genius with words, images to uphold/
I guess that's why they say the streets can take a part of your soul/
I was spiraling, I really couldn't keep my control/
She said "you're way too good to live your life playing a role/"
-"You Are Everything"

*Eyes On the Ring Vol. 1 (July 21, 2014)

-Allow me, True God himself, to step in for a moment. For those who know me, you know I'm a wrestling fan. I've loved wrestling for years, and after working with Wrestling Heads, Wrestling Heels, and PWX Wrestling, I felt compelled to make a hip hop album based around wrestling. Myself and Speed On The Beat worked tirelessly over a 2 week period to make a 12 song project that is another example of what Porsha says is my storytelling. An album that starts with me rapping over the Wyatt Family theme asking would you rather be a hero (babyface) or a heel, which is the ultimate choice in wrestling. By the end of the album, I showcase how being a hero could backfire and get stale, forcing the evil and the heel to come out. It was in many ways the first hint of Root For The Villain, and as I rapped over the Hulk Hogan's Real American sample, before turning on the fans and becoming a heel rapping over the NWO theme, I realized I had created a journey. From the Fandango sampled track, where I speak about trying out a dead end gimmick, or the strategically placed Bryan Danielson and CM Punk sampled songs which show me making my way through the indie circuit of the business very early on in the album. I think some people get lost in the fact that this is a wrestling hip hop album and miss the story, as well as the journey within it. It is a great listen.

Favorite Lyrics:
"Arms that I'm bearing, my nigga I'm just raising em/ 
Until the day the team's on stage, rocking at stadiums/"
-"Heels or Heroes"

*Pursuing Happiness(November 3, 2014)

-I’ve been waiting to talk about this one as it is definitely one of my favorites. It’s different from anything we’ve heard thus far as it’s filled with positivity, optimism and has such a hopeful “feel” to it. I absolutely love the way it starts, as “The Pursuit” is the first track on this album (and my favorite) and it finds a way to reference “Three7One” and “Soul Revival 2”. I always appreciate and praise artists that can reference their previous projects, songs, lyrics, and bring everything together full circle. In so many ways, this is what True did here. Incorporating an Outkast sample is brilliant for "Stimulate and Activate", and it’s fresh, it’s different and maintains the positive vibe. The song “Co-Parenting” is key on this album, as it speaks to change, growth and his daughter’s voice being sampled on it once again gives us the emotional depth we have come to expect. The lyrics are gems, the beats are brilliant, the track list phenomenal, the album near perfection. Once again True nails it.

Favorite Lyrics: 
"Bringing a revolution to help them weed out the ignorant/
And this will change my fate, it's a simple form of deliverance/"
-"The Pursuit"

*Root For The Villain(September 7, 2015)

-I don’t know any other album in hip hop that is executed quite like this. I’ve said this before, this is easily the best “cinematic” album. What do I mean by that? Root For The Villain is like an audio movie. It’s the only way to describe it. True shines with vivid lyrics that solidify the concept and story. Snippets and samples from the hollywood villains we know and love reiterate the point, provide flawless imagery and set the stage. Perfect track placement is to thank for the journey, and through the eyes of the villain, we get the theme, character development, and a point of view, which is everything that makes a movie a movie. After having gone through yet another change/shift in life circumstances, this is the polar opposite of True’s previous release “Pursuing Happiness”. This one is dark, it’s apathetic, it’s detached yet somehow manages to be very personal and emotionally captivating. The last track “Zuri Summer” is where we see True at his most candid and honest, and that is the track that defines and solidifies the concept. Ultimately the listener, without even realizing it sometimes, is “rooting” for the villain to prosper. This is truly 15 tracks of solid lyrics, immaculate wordplay and incredible beats, sounds and samples. This is unquestionably a masterpiece and a perfect album.

Favorite Lyrics:
"This chapter's just reality/
My demons taking over, fuck morality/
Cause my optics done seen enough fatalities/
This world is just a fallacy/"
-"Reality Is Grim"

*The Road To SR3(February 27, 2016)

-As most of us know, and as I mentioned, True is working on releasing “Soul Revival 3”, which would make the Revival Series a complete trilogy, so this album is appropriately titled. I have no idea what to expect from the next release, but if this is any indication, I can’t wait. This is approximately 31 minutes of True’s lyrical genius and insights on wax for pure enjoyment and entertainment. Is there a story in this? I don’t know. If there is, I haven’t picked up on it yet, but each track is enjoyable no doubt. There is definite variation and throughout there are definite bits and pieces of each of the Revival albums which makes “the road” a tangible concept. “Death Penalty” is reminiscent of Soul Revival 1, while “Better Than This” has a Soul Revival 2 feel, and of course, tracks like “Foreign Soil” is one that seems like the new approach. Like I said, this is short, sweet, to the point and has enough variation to keep you engaged.

Favorite Lyrics:
"Business is the enemy, shit, rather be an artist/
Release music that I want instead of trying to tap the market/
It's a hard road, a thankless/
Job, the God's anxious/
Mirror image telling you leave how do I paint this/"
-"Love Of The Game"

Five years, 8 solo albums/projects (soon to be 9) and a few separate collaboration projects(like the two DAR albums and the two HS albums with Shokus Apollo), True God brings his catalog a very “golden era” feel. He’s perfected what I love most about hip hop and rap, which of course are lyrical depth and flow. I can’t ever speak enough about the lyrics, and his insight, intelligence, wisdom, emotion and relatability is impressive. His out of the box concepts and delivery of each project through flawless storytelling and smooth intonations makes him unmatched by current artists. On the production side, the beat selection and track placement is flawless. Everything works together to create a perfect catalog. How would I describe True? The most accurate way I know how, as ”a hidden gem”, who is in some way a hybrid of Nas, Common and KRS with a dash of Outkast. Absolutely brilliant.



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