Trae Tha Truth puts on for his city. The H-Town emcee who frequently raps at near-whisper has been independently building an empire for over a decade. In doing so, Trae has worked with about everybody you can imagine. As his circle has grown to include close associations with Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne and Game, it's still very much about the hometown sound.
In honor of his just-released Street King album, HipHopDX asked Trae to compile a list of his 10 biggest moments for Houston Hip Hop. The ABN leader provided some interesting choices from across the spectrum, and they're in no particular order whatsover (according to Trae).
DJ Screw Founds Screw Music
"[The moment] when the world accepted my homeboy’s legacy; my brother’s legacy, DJ Screw and the world became a part of the Screw music. The day that they accepted that music to the rest of the world was a real big moment for us, just coming from where we come from. You’ve got to [realize] that our whole culture came from Screw. So when you hear people talk about anything pertaining to the "lean" to whatever, it’s because of Screw. Screwed Up Records and Tapes is still standing right now. And the reason memories I remember begins with Screw is because of me being right in there with Screw. He made us who we are today. For you to see that unravel, that’s more personal. Being in his house, sitting there playing the game and watching him do his thing. Screw is like a brother for me."
J. Prince Founds Rap-A-Lot Records in 1986
"You’ve to understand that J. [Prince] paved the way for everybody. I call him my pops. He’s like my old man. He’s my ace."
Geto Boys Get The Source Cover
"When The Geto Boys got the cover of The Source, that was real big for the city. “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” was super big for the city. It was on [their 1991 album] We Can’t Be Stopped. It wasn’t easy to be accepted let alone coming from Houston. For that to be accepted and come out on top, that was amazing. Most definitely, man."
UGK Releases Ridin' Dirty in 1996
"It was perfect timing. I remember when [UGK] were on Bigtyme Records. Ridin' Dirty is when they started getting credit that they deserved."
Mayor Bill White Dedicates July 22, 2008 As “Trae Day” In Houston
"The first rapper to receive the honor in the city - I’m the kind of person that never likes to speak on himself when people ask stuff like that, but that was most definitely real big. That was big for the streets in general, not just me and not just Houston. That was big because it gives motivation to know that cats like us who’ve been through what we’ve been through and come from where we come from can accomplish something like that. That’s a real big one. It came from me being in the community. I tell people that when you come from the bottom, sometimes you look for help and never know which way it’s going to come from and you have nobody to call -- that’s a hard feeling. So with me coming up feeling like that, I decided to be in the community and give them the big homie they can talk to and do everything with, you know what I’m saying."
Pimp C Released From Jail
"When Pimp C came home, that was definitely a memorable moment because he came out the gates and let the world know he was back. It was like Pimp everywhere. It was a good feeling to know that he came from the concrete jungle and back to being on top. I was devastated when I heard he’d passed. It was one of those situations where you keep asking yourself, “Are they sure? Is it true?” It was like one of those situations that you don’t want to accept. When Screw passed it was the same way. That was crazy."
Big Hawk's 2006 Death
"That was another fellow member from Screwed Up Click. When he got murdered, that was crazy. I was actually the last...I actually stayed...I think it was me and maybe one or two other people -- we was the last people to leave the crime scene. We actually was out there picking up some of bro’s blood. That was crazy. That was definitely crazy."
Jay-Z & UGK Collaborate On “Big Pimpin’”
"That was real big. That was real big because [Bun B] went the fuck off on the song. I liked his verse way more than I liked Jay-Z’s verse. I still remember the lyrics: “Big southern rap impresario / Coming straight up on the black barrio.” You know what I’m saying? That’s what it was."
When the World Accepted A.B.N. (Assholes By Nature)
"Back then, they wouldn’t accept shit like that. They accepted us because they ain’t have no choice. It was mandatory. We are some of the few cats that can actually go around where ever without having any problems. People actually give us genuine love and we give them genuine love back. It’s a lot of cats that don’t show genuine love and then when they show up somewhere they have world’s of trouble 24/7. They’re not accepted. When people were trying to be a part of the movement -- from when there was forty niggas in every hood just running with each other to the world and everybody trying to a part of [A.B.N.] People with tattoos. People trying to get chains made. People with hats. That was big."
Houston Artists Collaborating With the World
"I think another important Houston Hip Hop memory was when they seen somebody who came from where I come from and really being nothing in a nobody way back then to being able to do music with Lupe [Fiasco], Wyclef [Jean], Lil Wayne and everybody else. That was real big. I believe me and Wayne had one of the biggest first features from Houston as far as one of the ones that everybody accepted. “Screwed Up” was real big. Just the fact that people, other major artists are actually reaching out to where we can collab and do different stuff.
As Told To The Company Man.