Pursuing Happiness with True God: An Interview

In the second interview of the week, during a studio session with True God for some newer tracks, I asked some questions (some of which were submitted by awesome readers, most of who didn’t leave any return information. Hooray for anonymity) about the recently-released Pursuing Happiness (review here), family life, Ferguson, and more. 

SOTB: Why now? I mean, after a ton of albums which spoke on the human condition and, you know, black power in-depth, why did you pick Pursing Happiness to be your most introspective album—while still letting it be less about you?

TG: At this point, nothing else would be right. As an artist, I definitely felt the need to move in a different direction. My previous albums were about the struggle, the personal pain and drama I had seen. It gets taxing on you as an artist and as a man, period. I wanted to talk about a new path. A new day. I’ve been down. Been out. I spoke my worst times into existence through the prophecy in the music. Why not speak the positive. Life and death is of the tongue, they say. So, I’m starting a journey to happiness. This album is the beginning. It’s a new era, man.

SOTB: What really inspired the title and the songs on the album?

TG: The title comes from the true to life journey that I’m on right now. The songs all come from a real place. Whether its having to deal with the pressure of co-parenting through non-cordial times, finding love, dealing with stress, staking your claim and starting your legacy, etc. The songs, as always, reflect where I am personally. It just so happens that I’m in a better space mentally and emotionally than I have been in years. It’s great.

SOTB: “Rejuvenated” is a track that strays from the True God formula a bit. Why the change?

TG: It’s not really that much of a change I’d say, its just the beat is more bass heavy (laughs)

SOTB: Fair. First time I heard that, I had the screwface on over the bass levels. 

TG: I mean, look at the sample, the celebratory element to it–it’s a familiar theme. It was executed beautifully. I got the beat, just let the verses flow, a simple hook that was catchy, and boom. It wasn’t as thought out as other songs may have been, but it was infectious. It signaled a new era for True God, in so many ways, I think.

SOTB: I’m assuming this is the beginning of something new from you, musically and otherwise, with the new era talk.

TG: Exactly. It’s been a rough time for me and with my music being so raw, so full of emotion and pain, I think now is the time to stake my claim, finish my legacy, and have more fun. Five albums in now and I’m an indie music legend. They won’t give me that title, because I’m not in the media doing antics, but musically? I’ve got 5 albums and at least two, three classics out of that. So, this is a great time for me.

SOTB: This is now the second album you’ve done without some of the older influences and accomplices. How does it feel? Are things any different now?

TG: Things aren’t different, really. The people who were influences and accomplices in the past aren’t around because they weren’t meant to be. The team is stronger, my circle doesn’t have unnecessary people or people who are using me. This is family now only. I prefer it this way.

SOTB: How are things going on the (outside of DAR) family side of things?

TG: Rough, but I have a belief that all things will work out in the end. My moms is in weaker health, but I see her strength coming back daily. My daughter is away from me and I’m on bad terms with her mom, but that’s not even by a doing of my own. It’s all stupid, but it’ll work out, brother. 

I lost some cousins who were vital to me since the last interview, but that’s life. You just have to keep pushing. I’ve adjusting to being alone more. Its really a test of strength. When you have no one there for you anymore, and you become the one that has to look out for the few pieces you still have, it makes you stronger. And that strength pushes great men to greater things.

SOTB: So on “Beauty is She,” what inspired that whole thing? Especially, like, the conversation section at the end?

TG: The reality is…love is a beautiful thing. The song comes from a place of honest and is the natural progression from “When We Find Each Other” in the narrative. The song describes everything I see my queen beginning. I spoke on it in my verse from Genesis on “Since You Came In My Life,” and even mentioned that my verse was preemptive. From there, “Beauty Is She” is the next step. 

My whole catalog is a story. A musical autobiography with chapters, moments, thoughts, changes, et cetera. It’s great to have that as an artist.

As far as the conversation, I’ll be candid. There was a female who I’d been really close to for a while and she said she would help me by being on the album. I wanted to add a skit or something at the end of the song for realism. And at that time, back in early August, she was the female I was closest to. That’s changed since then, but it’d be phony of me to have left that conversation off or take her off because it was an actual real moment in my life. I wish her the best in the future as well.

SOTB: So, with that said, is there a “lady in your life” these days? I mean, of course, other than your daughter—she’s always a given.

TG: Yes, there is. I’m currently in a relationship, which is going on about 3 months now or so. She’s someone who I’ve interacted with for over 2 years, and we are drawn to each other very much, so despite distance at the moment, it works for me. She’s someone who is my type, but can also enlighten me and help me grow. And vice versa. We’ll see where it goes in the future. I mentioned her on “Rejuvenated” in the third verse. At this point, you know, I’m not getting into a relationship for something momentary, I’m looking for long term things, or else I could keep playing in this game out here, you know? So, I have high hopes for us. Future could be great to us.

SOTB: OK, serious talk now, brother (laughs). But, for real, what are your thoughts on some of the happenings in the world these days (Mike Brown, Ray Rice, Anonymous hacking the KKK Twitter, the fact that there is a KKK Twitter, etc.)?

TG: About the Ray Rice thing, I feel like that was unfortunate on multiple levels. What Ray did was wrong, irresponsible, and I’m sure he knows that anyways. What made it worse to me, was the NFL and their response and how they had to play “clean up” for something that had been known about. Then ,the media judging the Rice family while our own families have similar issues at times. It’s easy to judge from afar–especially when the person judged is a celebrity, I guess.

But, the Mike Brown situation? Ferguson? It’s tough. It’s not surprising. We’ve known these things go on for decades. Blacks murdered by police in cold blood, beaten, et cetera. But, it took this to awaken something. It’s been building. I feel for Mike Brown’s parents. It’s rough seeing parents bury their children, and even more disheartening under those circumstances. I respect and love what the people of Ferguson have done. The media attempted to spin it to make it seem like they were destructive criminals, looters, and all that. But, look on the news now. Is it being talked about? No. 

But search Ferguson on Twitter. You’ll see it’s an everyday thing. Cops and the government don’t give a shit about us. It’s always been evident–just much more obvious now. I pray for all the brothers and sisters in Ferguson, St. Louis, and all around. The problem is everywhere.

I don’t give energy to the KKK. I was in SC, NC, and drove by their bases, areas they “ran” and it didn’t bother me. They are around and will be as we progress or attempt to progress greater as a people. When I was in SC and NC, I was the only black male around, and amongst rednecks and probably some KKK members. I command respect and got it in person. They can call me whatever when I’m not around, that’s not going to stop, and I can’t change their ignorance. As far as Anon, I mean…that’s what they do. Props to them, I guess.

SOTB: How does your music define a revolution, since, you know, that is the agreed-upon meaning being “D.A.R.?” I know, you know, the team knows, and people who follow the team know, but there are probably still those out there who are confused on it.

TG: The music is always current. Referencing what’s necessary to help our people and each other progress. The music speaks for itself. At this point, if you don’t know, just listen. Closely. You might miss some gems, so listen closely. This is music that could inspire a generation.

SOTB: So, a question I’m not sure that I’ve ever asked: top five songs? I mean artists other than yourself and DAR, of course.

TG: Of all time? That’s too tough (laughs). Right now? All I’m listening to is Big K.R.I.T. and DAR music. I hear everything. I LISTEN to K.R.I.T and DAR.

SOTB: Any last thoughts, shoutouts—you know the deal.
TG: The whole team, all the fans, the people, everyone. I appreciate y’all. Love y’all. Peace and Blessings from the True God.
Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on speedonthebeat.com. Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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