By Adedayo Laketu
We had a lot a lot to cover, no time for chit chat.
We’re both warriors fighting for the things that oppose the future of Africa.
He’s D-Truce, full name Dustin Truce a rapper from Lagos, Nigeria signed to X3M music filled with a lot of knowledge to prepare a mind for conscious Africa.
We’re that future, our discussion was detailed, elaborate and raw.
Stay focused on your screen as we begin.
Adedayo Laketu : What does hip-hop mean to you ?
D-Truce : Hip-hop is generally an expression of self and your immediate environment. Hip Hop like I said is an expression of self born from the influence of one’s environment. Which is why the pattern of music, most times can be re-interpreted as conversations, this is very prominent in my music. Most of my songs are just random conversations that’s why they’re easily relatable, others are spin off conversations and experiences. For some one my age I’ve actually seen and been through a lot.
Adedayo Laketu : Why do you create music ?
D-Truce : Initially I started writing as a means to get away from depression cause I suffered a lot of it as a child due to my mom and dad separating and how he treated us growing up.
Eventually, I made some friends in school who were into music and they used to slide me songs to listen to, majorly rap songs. Overtime I started writing these angry depressed thoughts into rap verses, but the moment I actually said to myself “bro I can rap” was when I heard MI’s cover of ‘Mogbona Feli Feli’ by D’Banj cause I was a big fan of D’Banj in them MoHits days. Bought all their projects with my saved up lunch money. So back to the topic, I heard MI go on D’Banj’s beat, then I went to look for the free beat which was a bonus track on the entertainer album by D’Banj and I wrote to it, rapped the verse to my mom and she thought it was dope. I performed it at my secondary school social weekend we organised at the hostel and people liked it. I went ahead to start thinking up musical creations in my head and writing out the songs, a lot of the songs on TTSFY are jams that stayed tormenting my mind from high school cause I made that tape when I was 18 which was two years after high school. Sadly I never really got to recording until 2011, one year after high school met a guy named Obiechina from America and he showed me the ropes. He produced for me, showed me how to hustle links online. I won’t be lying if I said I owe a great deal of what I know today to him, he made me realise I could actually do this music thing and touch a lot of people. That’s become the major reason why I create music, to tell my story and also reach out to people that might be in similar or parallel situations. When I create I try to tell a collective story.
Adedayo Laketu : How would you define your music ?
D-Truce : My music is basically one word, “Sincere” because I speak not from the brain but from the heart. When I make happy go lucky songs I try to keep it honest, I won’t tell you I own a Ferrari cause I really don’t
(Na my hand me down Mitsubishi from my mama I still dey push.) and I feel like being sincere is what gets you the real fans.
Point in case: J. Cole, he’s pretty much my business model. He did a lot of ground work, taking the music to the people first before trying to get on the charts because plugs and connections can get you up there, only the fans can keep you up there. These fans are mere humans like us the musicians, they go through what we go through.
If you speak from their perspective, they’re more likely to fuck with you. You feel me?
Adedayo Laketu : How important is sincerity in one’s art, craft and dream ? And how has creating sincere music shaped the way your sound and views ?
D-Truce : Sincererity transcends space and time, It’s why Tuface will forever be a Legend.
One is more obliged to appreciate artistes once it is more sincere, even the means of experimenting (which I do a lot) I happen to maintain a certain form of consistency because I’m not trying to put up a gimmick or trying to be a different person on my records. My moods and personality comes through in every piece of music I make, I rap almost how I talk, my views on the records are my actual views in real life. That’s why no two people sound, act or behave exactly the same and sincerity breeds originality. Everyone in their most sincere form is different from the next man, that alone has helped me remain original. As I grow and mature the music does so naturally because it’s more or less and extension of me.
Adedayo Laketu : You’ve used your music as a personal tool to help you grow and you’ve shared that journey in your Sounds. Do you want your music to have the same effect on the listeners ? To create an atmosphere where the audience listen to your sounds cause they relate with your truth ?
D-Truce : Yes, definitely that’s the entire idea of sharing my journey is to help inspire theirs. One of the major reason why people don’t believe I am 23 is because of the amount of growth, I’ve been able to achieve something far, most think it’s too much for my age, I on the other hand feel like I should be doing more.
By extension anyone that follows me closely should also feel like they can do more, they can be better. Either by aspiration Or inspiration.
Adedayo Laketu : Conscious Rap ? I’ll say your music has this vibe to it where you lay down truth and really thought provocative realities.. What’s the direction and how do you relate that to your environment where every other sound is more fun and baseless.
D-Truce : Well, if you call my music “conscious” you won’t be too far from the truth, because it literally mirrors our reality as we currently know it (or mine at least).
This reality is our environment, this reality is waking up and having no light, no water, no money to buy fuel, This reality is having your heart broken or wanting something or someone you can never have. Relating my music to my environment is a task that is solved daily because I simply borrow from environmental experiences. The beauty of this entire thing is I am proof that conscious music doesn’t have to be boring and scrawny. I’m giving vibes and giving you facts and yarns at the same time, fulfilling the purpose of making you feel good and still passing a message across.
Adedayo Laketu : Can you tell us some of the challenges being faced pushing conscious music and how the industry can grow with above them ?
D-Truce : It’s not a problem with conscious music alone, generally we younger artistes find it difficult to break into the “mainstream circle” because the generation before us tightened it up. A lot of veteran artistes that came before this class never thought of expanding or growing the culture, all they are/were interested in is blowing up and doing it for themselves. That way they skewed the media subconsciously leaving them uninterested in watering the ground for new talent while celebrating old/present stars, It’s why most radio and TV stations in Nigeria would spend time on the jnternet looking for the newest new cats in the UK and America and play for free then ask a man like me to pay for airplay, forgetting that playing me instead of those guys is helping grow our own culture and narrative as a society. If you think about it, most established acts over there always expand. Start a company, put more artistes on, plug in publishing with majors. If it’s to only sign acts from their tri state area, (example Gucci Mane and what he did for migos and half the trap niggas blowing up right now) or Drake (notice all his acts are strictly Canadian?) they’re putting their culture on the map.
But down here, everyone is greedy and selfish and forget that no one reigns forever. One day no one would give a shit about your music, and you would be too old to perform, When that time comes… What happens to you?
Adedayo Laketu : You’ve mentioned how important it for the power to be given back to the new generation.
A term I use is “New Age Africa” an Africa comprised of these young generations that are ready to shape the new age, that are ready to challenge the status quo and be more.
This new age is really powerful in all mediums from filmmaking to art, to music, in music you see minds like Ozzy b, nonso going global from home. How do you feel about this new age Africa and how do you hope your music plays a more important role in the growth of the new age ?
D-Truce : I just hope people pay more attention and the principalities that be to do what they have to, to make sure this shit works cause in the end the gate keepers have to open the doors. Only way to speed up the process, we could break in ourselves but that would take much longer.
Adedayo Laketu : There’s been some sort of acceptance, especially globally don’t you feel that could help ?
D-Truce : Global acceptance can help well alright but it’s a lot better to be king down here first because them guys can kick you out of their industry at any time and if you haven’t developed a cult following at home then you have no numbers to leverage on, home numbers are what Wizkid and Davido leverage on, home number are what got them their “sweet deals”. Winning at home first increases your cultural impact cause your own people hold you in higher accord than any foreign man can, if you do right by them. What I love about New Age Africa is we’re all pushing our local narrative, so is Odunsi, so is 3rty and the hundreds of other Young Nigerians doing their thing. There’s no longer pressure to write trash music, or to try sound American and what not.
Of course our music is influenced by sounds from the other side but we’ve able to fuse it properly and bring it home, I’m telling my story, from the perspective of a young boy loving and breathing Lagos. Hence the genre AfroFusion (big shout outs to Burna boy.. The father of that sound, even thought a lot of people fail to give him the credit he deserves.)
Adedayo Laketu : Like you’ve said, there needs to be a longing for our own companies created from Africa and this has begun with brands like MonsterBoys, Euphonic Music Company, VI Music, ChaseMusicNg, Kimani-Moore Ents and others.
How important is it for minds to believe in this structures ?
D-Truce : It’s very important, structures play a vital role, movements play another role as well.
There’s strength in numbers with benefits that every member can feed off. Big ups to the guys that have movements/music companies started off. Hopefully, they follow through and make them into organisations and do the right things to see through that the kids after us have a solid structure cause operations would rather invest in companies than one man entities.
Adedayo Laketu : You’ve spoken about Nigerians getting pretty deals in the aim of going global, and we both know this deals sometimes exploit them.
How important is it for us to grow and control our distribution to have a global impact from Africa without having to sell our music to the white cooperations and how do you feel an artist like yourself can help play a part ?
How would you react to a Sony deal ?
D-Truce : If Sony offered me a deal today I would propose that we have the copywrite terms reviewed to give rights to my own label or whatever local label I’m signed to so once material is put out it has the name of the local labels on it, not theirs but the distribution is through their channels regardless. I’m 100 percent for us developing our own distribution channels that can go global, I feel like we already have a network that can do that I.e Alaba but the right people haven’t stepped in and given it a proper structure and beat it into shape. If the music regulatory bodies like COSON and P-Man really knew their jobs, they’ll be working with them and looking to improve distribution instead of fighting them, faffing and laundering royalties.
Adedayo Laketu : What do you define afrobeats has ?
D-Truce : First off the term “afrobeats” sounds ridiculous to me. The genre invented by from Ghana brought to Nigeria through Fela is “Afrobeat” not Afrobeats and tagging music made by other African artistes as “Afrobeats” sounds like a Joke TBH and then having to put the word “Afro” in front of actual genres as a sub classification under that genre
E.G Afro soul… Afro hip-hop, you don’t hear a British soul singer say “British soul” or “British hip-hop” it either is… Or it’s not.
Regardless of the context of the music which is not even expected to be the same if it’s coming from different parts of the world, the only valid “Afro genre” as far as I’m concerned is “Afro fusion” and the reason is simple, It’s a fusion of all and any style of music but with an African narrative driving it.
Adedayo Laketu : You use your music as a social tool, how important is music in sparking conversations around a new age Africa ?
D-Truce : It’s extremely important. Because Inna’s much as humans are different in race and beliefs and in generational modes of thinking we all. Move to good music, so besides food I think music is a major plug to connect with different people from different backgrounds and get everyone on the same page. To make great things happen.
Adedayo Laketu : As your music as grown what have you noticed your sound has gravitated to ?
D-Truce : Honestly I can’t put a finger to it, I know for certain that my sounds keeps maturing with time, and it is also influenced by the people I come across and work with. For example, 3rty and DJ Xtreme (who happens to be working with me on most of my projects). These guys are left minded in their approach, so when ever I suggest a crazy idea it doesn’t sound crazy to them.
Adedayo Laketu : Tell us about your last two projects Eden and 23ToLife, what they mean to you ? How you’ve grown in certain elements with the release of those two tapes and what you’re currently working on next ?
D-Truce : Well “23 to Life” was impulsive. Literally made it last week (this interview was done on the 10th of May) with DJ Xtreme and thought “fuck it, I’ll drop this on my birthday”. Recorded 23 to life (the one track) on the night before my birthday mixed and mastered all songs with DJ Xtreme that same night. Eden was more pre-meditated, took two months and a week to record. Funny enough, Eden was ready a year before it was released but my label kept pushing back on its release until we finally picked a date which happened to be one year later. it kinda fucked it up for me honestly, I was already partially removed from the project when it dropped but it’s awesome music still. Got two New projects in the tube, A mixtape K made with Bally crim big brother back in December, He’s a producer and DJ and we linked up after EDEN drop to work on a joint project, It’s finished and ready to drop. We’ve picked out my first official single for the year… It should drop by the end of May based on my last feedback from the team at the label and I’m currently working on my debut album which I’m hoping drops by October, just finished making a song for that self currently trying to finish up another one of the songs before I head out to this meeting.
Adedayo Laketu : Wanna talk about the idea for your next studio album ?
D-Truce : Nah, Not yet. I’ll rather talk about it after so people see reference points and can identify the elements I’m putting into it. But there’s going to be a few interesting features, DJ Yin, hopefully Odunsi, 3rty for sure, got one with Falz in the bag as well. Not one to have too many features but those few should suffice because they are unique and specific additions to the songs. And they won’t be on the project if they don’t have to be.
The interview ended here cause D-Truce who just moved into his his apartment got robbed, he lost his laptop and phone with it pretty much all his work and he apologized.
This was clarity from probably the most honest souls in our generation. It was beautiful every moment I had with him was sincere and compound.
This is a journal for anyone searching for his purpose through music as a Nigerian, as an African.