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You really can’t ban the truth.

It’s been a long road for ABN soldier Trae Tha Truth, but it’s a battle that he’s always been more than equipped to fight. Already considered a legend by Houston standards, he could have easily just accepted his place as the de facto Underground King of the Streets, yet it seems as if he’s destined for more.

Since bursting out of Texas he’s evolved into an indie favorite; from the East to the West Coast, there’s a damn good chance he’s already worked with your favorite emcee. Now he prepares to deliver a proper introduction with his upcoming album, Tha Truth. Invading Houston’s premiere Wire Road Studios, on July 11 he gave a select audience the chance to preview the project in full as a taste of what’s to come.

In December of 2012 it was T.I. who stood inside of the same studio in anticipation of his Trouble Man, but on this day he was just a phone call away, appearing via FaceTime to deliver a proper introduction for the fellow Grand Hustle member. Getting straight to the point he explained, “I ain’t gone say much, but I thank ya’ll for coming out to support my brother!” He added, “Let’s get to the motherfucking Truth!”

“This was originally supposed to be a mixtape but they talked me into releasing it as an album,” explained Trae.

And thank God that they did, as Tha Truth may prove to be the vehicle that finally drives the Houston OG into the national spotlight. Courting new and old fans alike, it’s a project that packs a punch of star power with appearances from T.I., Boosie, Future, Snootie Wild, Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign and more.

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It’s hard to catch (and keep) the ears of fans, yet it’s an album that’s worth sliding into playback mode. In-studio this was especially true with the Boosie and Future assisted “Tricken Every Car I Get,” a cut which became an immediate crowd favorite, forcing it to be ran back several times throughout the preview.

Other standout tracks include Trae’s own favorite “Book Of Life,” the Nipsey Hussle laced “Doing Me,” “Yeah Hoe” featuring Problem and Lil Boss and the Black Metaphor produced “Real” which finds Trae trading bars with Detroit’s own Dej Loaf. Adding production and a verse, J. Cole and Trae blend together effortlessly on an introspective track called “Children of Men,” setting the bar high.

It’s hard to balance the highs and lows of life, yet for Trae it’s been about providing a soundtrack that speaks to both. Known for being as real as the lyrics he spits, he’s found success by incorporating the streets into his music. Yet despite his intimidating growl he’s also given back to those same streets, so much so that he was honored with his own day in the city appropriately titled “Trae Day.”

It’s this same loyalty that has at times held him back, a fact that friend Charles Hughes alluded to during a track called “I Can’t Feel You” adding, “I’m tired of you keeping it real with everybody bro, Keeping it real with niggas, they aren’t doing the same for you bro…I’m tired of this shit.”

No matter the environment he has a way of putting you at ease, as proven during the preview as he moved smoothly between the fans and media alike. Providing chicken, pasta and more, the vibe was more kickback than stuffy album release, leaving you feel as if you connected with him beyond the music.

With both Tha Truth and “Trae Day” on the way, it’s clear that his time has come.

All Photos: Mike Lee. Catch the full gallery below.

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