"Before I even start this interview, I'ma say 'Free Wayne!' Not only is that my brother, but I'm gonna make that a movement. The lil' nigga doin' his thing, and I fucks with him heavy. Free Wayne!" That's how Houston veteran Trae Tha Truth began Tuesday afternoon's conversation with HipHopDX.
The leader of ABN (Asshole By Nature) has opted to premier the Lil Wayne and Rick Ross-assisted single "Inkredible" from his forthcoming album The Incredible Truth. Having released records with the Screwed Up Click dating back to 1998, Trae feels this new star-powered record may represent a new career plateau. "It most definitely feels like one of the biggest songs of my career, just from the momentum and the situations that I've been going through at this time in my life. I was kind of against all odds working on [The Incredible Truth]. So when ['Inkredible'] came with me, [Lil] Wayne and [Rick] Ross, everything in it was perfect. The record was so perfect, we didn't even need to do a God damn hook to it," said the Guerrilla Maab founder with a chuckle. "When you're against all odds, and it's your time to strike against people, that's a wonderful feeling." As the video was recorded in Wayne's final weeks as a free man, Trae added that he seized this opportunity. "Even if this wasn't one of the bigger songs on my album, I damn sure was tryin' to make it one of them. That's why I feel like the video and everything came together for a reason."
The collaboration marks one of Texas' bigger acts alligning with the most successful New Orleans emcee of the '00s as well as Miami's. With the connect, Trae reminded new fans that this is nothing new to him or his catalogue. "To the rest of the world, it might be something new. For us, it's what we're used to, 'cause me and Wayne been doin' records, me and Ross been doin' records, and them two been doin' records. I think what it was is when you put the three formulas together, it ends up makin' something real incredible." The former Rap-A-Lot Records artist whose Twitter name is @TraeABN, continued, "We always work together, man. Mark my words, this ain't the first and this ain't the last."
With the new "Director's Cut" version premiering on HipHopDX, Trae explained why his video differs from last week's leak, presently in heavy rotation on MTV Jams. "The ['Inkredible' video version] that was on TV and all that, it still was good, but you know, they [bleeped] out a lot of stuff, a lot of the language. When you do that [in 2010], it kind of takes away from the video." "We didn't do no ridiculous shit like pull guns out." [Laughs] "It's still so much of the same video, just with the lyrics and [without] stuff blurred out."
The video was shot during Super Bowl weekend in Miami, along with Wayne's reportedly nine-video run. "I actually stayed out there for a week with Wayne and the Young Money family. We were actually working on a lot of videos that y'all will see at some point in time," said Trae. With this kind of attention, The Incredible Truth may mark Trae's biggest album to date. "It's most definitely gonna be bigger than other albums," he admitted, pointing to a "XL" XXL magazine review rating. "I've never been on a major or had videos [in rotation]." The forthcoming album on the ABN imprint features Scarface, Ludacris, Game, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, among others.
One of those "others" may surprise fans. It's none other than Lupe Fiasco, a Chicago artist with a strong relationship to Texas Rap. "You gotta understand, anybody I deal with, on my music...these are like family members. I don't go find people 'cause they're hot," explained Trae. "When I'm around Lupe, we be laughin', jokin', be on some other shit. Most definitely, it's kind of easy when it comes time to do records with each other. We're already family." Trae added that Lupe personally approved his "I'm Beamin' (Reloaded)" remix to Lu's '09 hit.
On the subject of other emcees, Trae reacted to this morning's announcements of Gang Starr emcee Guru's tragic death to cancer. With DJ Premier being a Texas native, Trae reminisced, "I used to listen to [Gang Starr], I used to listen to Kool G. Rap, N.W.A., all them. Most definitely, they're a part of me coming up, being involved with the music. As far as outside of the rappin' thing, I gotta tip my hat and say may he rest in peace. At the end of the day, we live a real life out here. Any loss hurts. I can only say a prayer for [Guru's] family."