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Raised in Jamaica Queens, New York, Focus The Truth recently spent two years recording/producing tracks and music videos in London, UK. Fond of cartoons and hip-hop, Focus uses his love of visual and creative arts to recreate lyrical experiences that transcend generations. MC’ing since the age of fourteen, Focus has learned the power of lyrics and how they can be used to deliver a message, rather than present largely untrue tales to reinforce stereotypes like a lot of hip hop these days. His tenacity in the music industry is a force to be reckoned with.
He started out his career battle rapping and writing poetry. “As a kid all I did was freestyle and battle rap on street corners, but after finishing my degree in English in Queens, I decided to take a different route and headed to London to study for an MBA.” Focus then released his “D.U.I. (Discourse Under Influence)” LP, an 11-song project produced mostly by London-based producer, Smoking Indoors in summer of 2012. Fans instantly were drawn to his unique flow and poetic skills.
His work is his play-spending his days and nights writing and performing music and watching music videos. The new generation of hip hop, at least for Focus, has produced a well-rounded intellectual who doesn't just ride the conscious tip, contrary to what people may believe. At the end of the day, his poetic and technical rap just relays the truth.
Focus’s latest 17-song LP, “Berwick Road”, has created a major buzz among the hip-hop heads and music community. “Berwick Road” explores tales of London life and New York memories, nestled alongside odes to the odd night of excess.
With this as a blueprint ‘Trap Simmons’ sees the young MC challenge himself, using a double time flow as he spits social commentary fired by a night out in a club, exploring the male and female dating dynamic. ‘Theatre of the Mind’ acts out a metaphor for the creative process and sees us journey through the imagery as Focus creates music. ‘Life Story’ is a rare segue in topic which discusses Focus’ formative experiences and how he grew up in Queens, New York. Finally, outro ‘Fame’ is a conversation with friends from back home whilst he was in London: “They’re telling me how they see my progress as an artist and pushing me to stay on track and not let it go to my head. Those conversations are important.”
The majority of the production on the album came courtesy of London’s Smoking Indoors, and the pair have cut samples from classic blues like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone, to reggae influences including Barrington Levy, a track featuring Jamaican reggae artist King Soyah, as well as more contemporary samples from the likes of Sia. There’s also a lot of live instrumentation provided by the London based JJ Bounce trio. As far as sequence and the lyrics,
Focus was listening to a lot of Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z when he made the album, and so feels he can’t help but have been influenced by two of the G.O.A.T.
It is not often that music listeners come across a hip-hop artist that exhibits a demeanor as strong and confident as that of Focus the Truth. However, with his poetic diction and his timeless approach to music, this artist’s ability to rise against the standards of what is expected of contemporary hip-hop artists is inspirational.
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