By Rob Markman
Music is therapy. After Trae Tha Truth’s friend Money Clip D was fatally shot last Thanksgiving, the Houston MC went through a range of emotions. At first Trae shut down, but after grieving, the street king headed back into the studio to record his last mixtape King of the Streets: Freestyles, which he released in January.
“What makes this mixtape special to me is my brother Clip was murdered Thanksgiving night. I kinda went back in that shell, I got back in that zone where it was, ’Eff the world.’ I didn’t wanna be bothered, I didn’t wanna look at nobody. It was straight mobbin’,” Trae told Mixtape Daily while in Orlando, Florida, for NBA All-Star Weekend. “I had to vent; my form of venting is through my music. I kinda just started to think about how I know he’d want me to keep it pushing, we grinded so hard to get to where we are now. I jumped in that zone, got in there a couple of days and me and Don Cannon, we made it happen.”
King of the Streets: Freestyles comes less than a year after Trae’s Street King album and further cements the ABN general’s place in rap’s underground. As a member of the legendary Screwed Up Click, Trae built his career crafting unforgettable freestyles over other artists’ beats, and he’s keeping up the tradition. Over Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin’,” Trae raps of heavy artillery and his own paranoia in the face of haters, but he switches his grim outlook to boast of his diamonds and women on “You Don’t Know Nothin.”
Most rappers would get lost rhyming over tracks like Tyga’s “Rack City” or Meek Mill’s “Ima Boss,” but not Trae. With one of the most unique voices in rap, Trae stands out on any beat he gets on. With “Shot Caller,” Trae makes the Harry Fraud-produced French Montana hit his own and closes things out properly on “R.I.P. Clip.”
Trae pours his heart out over Drake’s “Look What You’ve Done” and eulogizes his fallen friend. “Tears falling slow, I don’t know where to go, I need to see a reverend/ They say the real gotta leave, but still I gotta know do Gs go to heaven?/ I’m here sittin’ feelin’ hurt like abandoned children ’cause I’m all alone/ My brother left Thanksgiving night, walked out the crib, but never made it home.”
Death is never easy, but over the course of 20-tracks Trae tha Truth proves that music can provide some form of therapy.