Bar Exam: Da’ T.R.U.T.H. – Vet (EP)
A One Listen Review
The last time we heard from Da T.R.U.T.H. was two years ago. “It’s Complicated” was layered with teaching moments from theologian Ravi Zacharias and was a different approach for listeners. Here we are now with an 8 track EP, entitled “Vet.” He lead into this project with a couple singles, and seems to be as poised as ever to keep his game up. I’m excited to dissect this project.
The Prologue – Airy vocals lure us into the bed of horns. “Truth.. where you been at”… are the first words we hear from the veteran artist. He’s honest, full of candor and heart. It’s a mellow instrumental, but his flow is quite in-your-face. It’s thoughtful and razor sharp. “I ain’t knocking the hustle I just wanna go back to a time when it wasn’t about the numbers…” It’s a pointed and challenging opening track. Ahji poses the questions of “who am I supposed to be” up next to “who do I want the world to see.” I feel a depth to this right off the bat. I’m hoping that we get more “show” than “tell.”
Long Time – This song fades in underneath a sound byte that says “You gotta know the truth because the truth will set you free.” We’re all the sudden thrown into an acoustic performance, Greg Cox here has a bit of a crackle to his voice, and the guitar is playing at an upbeat pace. Curious to hear how TRUTH adds a flow to this. Never mind, the whirr of the tables brings in a different texture and pretty much a totally different song. It has a bit of a Rob Thomas “Smooth” vibe to it, but the bass here is slapping. “I still got the juice, I got the moves, I cannot lose” becomes the hook over this catchy tune. This part feels great, it just took awhile to get here. The way the music layers in behind TRUTH reminiscing over his humble beginnings.. It’s uplifting and momentous. He lists a lot about his past and where he’s been, but explains it’s not to brag. He just feels like he needs to reintroduce himself to the culture. The beat switches once more to a brash and bass heavy trap vibe, where TRUTH absolutely blazes it up. Welcome. Back.
Everything – Here we’re met by a choir supplying some oohs to the airwaves. That vibe switches without any warning to a performance from KJ Scriven over a bass lick. This performance is fabulous, and the beat drops behind this with a step – clap feel. There’s some remarkable simplicity to the tracks TRUTH decides to spit on. He may as well just come at us a cappella. One thing for sure is that he’s got something to say.
“Money power respect/fame and fortune/make a fortune/vain award shows/fashion week athletes/blame the culture/walk in the hall of fame where they hang the portraits/some of the wealthiest men got some of the darkest pasts/to keep the secrets/they walk the path/the demons speakin’/it’s all for cash/egregious weakness/it’s hard to grasp/I want more/I need more/the more that I get it/the greed forms”
There’s so much that we try to fill ourselves with. This is a fresh way for TRUTH to come at this topic. The beat is dope, the performance is excellent.
There’s some strange moments so far for me sonically. The direction seems a little scattered. Track two felt like it was three different songs that failed to weave together, and then the intro to track three wasn’t connected to anything there either. However, besides those head scratching choices, there’s a lot to appreciate.
Brand New – The intro sounds like a guitar riff in reverse. “It’s all good cuz I’m feeling brand new” is sung while the beat drops in. TRUTH comes in with a melody laden flow that hands off well into the hook. This is a well done, easy and laid back track here in the middle of the EP.
Would You Love Me – Another similar instrumental greets us at the beginning of this track. There’s some sort of effect on a guitar riff that’s being repeated, and then Greg Cox comes in once again with his introduction to the Chorus. These songs are becoming formulaic, but the raps are so good.
“Presumptuous prenuptial agreement love is/ Keep function we judging them on they keepings and we/We keep shuffling ski jumping on all the questions they keep/they keep coming like will he love us without condition to leave/uh I need a yes or no I got a wrestle in my soul so best unknown/I got a question that is pressing and I promise I won’t rest until I know”
Da TRUTH has a talent of putting words together that sound like percussion coming out of his mouth. His enunciation and the intention he puts on spitting out the consonants enhance each line he brings. While this song had a formula to it, it’s one of the stronger ones on the project to this point.
Legacy – If you’re keeping count, this is TRUTH’s second song in his catalog entitled “Legacy.” The first one was a response to the Columbine shootings. This one seems to be a personal testament from TRUTH that also caused him to bring in a couple features from friends. I’ve gotta check out Greg Cox’s work. He’s been laying down some really nice vocals on this project. Alright here we go… this beat doesn’t implement any guitars, it’s got some movement to this bass line, and some spacey sounds on the top end. TRUTH comes in for the first verse, praying that he’s remembered as someone who walks with God and stood for a greater cause. Bizzle brings the second verse and he’s twisting. It’s fire. Might be one of my favorite Bizzle features ever. Yo and Datin is hot too. Great track.
Last Time – Greg Cox brings in a hook at the top and he’s not singing this time. Let’s go get a W. It’s a short track. The flows are easy, the hook is the strongest part here.
The Epilogue (For Me) – We close out the project with TRUTH sharing from his heart and his story once again. He talks about depression, and throws out reminders for us that it doesn’t matter what other people think. “Music is what I do it’s not who I am.” There’s deep wisdom found in the bars here just like what we started with in the prologue. The instrumental here is terrific. Man he really wrapped up the EP in a bow.
I have so many mixed emotions about this EP. There’s some amazing bright spots throughout this project. This might be the best rapping, bar for bar, that I’ve heard from TRUTH in years. I’m still awestruck by that Bizzle verse, and some of these instrumentals were thumping. The hard part is that it’s all to be digested as a complete project. There were flaws to it for me. I think the order of the songs could have been switched and would have probably taken away my slump. If that “Legacy” track would have been placed two or three songs earlier it would have broken up the spot when I noticed the formula of the guitar driven songs. The creative direction was a bit catastrophic for me early on as well. I think with all things considered, we land somewhere in the middle. Not great, not bad, just okay.