After nearly ten years in the game, Leander Hayes (a.k.a. “tRUlEE tHEE eMCee“) is finally preparing to release his full-length debut, coming out early next year. The 26-year-old rapper just dropped some stellar visuals to go along with the project’s lead single, “Sounds of tHEE eMCee,” featuring none other than the legendary Canibus.
I sat down with Trulee at C.C.C. Arthouse’s “Orange County Sesh” event, in order to give One West readers a behind-the-scenes look at the new music video and everything else that the Case Load Crew is working on.
I’ve transcribed some of the highlights from our conversation below:
Aaron: Hey, thanks for doing this bro.
Trulee: No worries, no worries.
Aaron: We have a lot to cover, so we’ll just keep it short, and sweet, but you know… impactful. So, you have something dropping on Friday. Let’s just start right there. What can you tell the people? What’s going on?
Trulee: Yeah, my name is Trulee The Emcee. I’ve got a visual comin’ to YouTube called “Sounds of Thee Emcee,” featuring Canibus. And y’all can stay tuned for that.
Aaron: So, Canibus, that’s kinda where I wanted to—(laughs) How did that happen, bro?
Trulee: Honestly, I’m a big Canibus fan. I’ve always been a big Canibus fan, and a big hip-hop fan. Within my journey […] I found myself aligning with him, you could say. Connecting with him, or finding somebody that knew of him, and I had him bless the album for me, you know.
Aaron: And you just reached out?
Aaron: That’s crazy, bro. ‘Cause, even when [OG Cuicide mentioned it], I was like, ‘Thee Canibus?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah.’ I saw the trailer already, that was sick. So I wanted to ask you […] where was that filmed?
Trulee: Huntington Beach.
Aaron: Okay, so you’re from Huntington, you graduated from Marina High School?
Trulee: I graduated from Marina […] Born in Long Beach, but moved around. But I reside in Huntington.
Aaron: So, how did you meet OG Cuicide, for those who don’t know?
Trulee: I met OG Cuicide as a young buck, through his son, in Buena Park. You know, I used to be his neighbor out there. His son was a young buck like me, and we was runnin’ in the streets; it just so happened, some of our family knew each other.
Aaron: That’s perfect. OG Cuicide’s the man.
Trulee: Yeah, he is.
Aaron: As I was doing the research [for the interview], I was like, ‘Cool, I’ve got a good amount of questions down… I think this is gonna be enough.’ I was about to put my phone away, but then I [decided] to just check your Instagram page, a little further down. Lo and behold, I see you standing there with Bushwick Bill. So, how did that happen?
Trulee: Yeah. I was opening up for Evidence, at the Observatory. And Bushwick Bill was there. I guess he must’ve seen my performance or something, because he came outta nowhere and he asked me: ‘You got an extra large in that “C.L.R.” (Case Load Records)?’
I said: ‘Yeah! I got you, my G!’ He was like: ‘Yeah, yeah, man, y’all go ahead and get a picture.’ So he did the whole thing for me, you know? And the whole night, he was giving me game; he let me know, ‘Stay true. Keep doin’ you.’
Aaron: Hell yeah, bro. That’s amazing. I mean, ‘Mind Playing Tricks on Me’ was one of the first hip-hop songs my dad ever showed me. And I remember exactly where I was when […] it came out that he had died. But then it was a false alarm.
Trulee: Yeah, it was a false alarm.
Aaron: They said he wasn’t dead yet. So, I actually went immediately to the (Rap) Genius profile for Bushwick Bill and added that into his bio. And then, bro, it was not even twelve hours later someone had already re-edited it because he had actually passed. So, that’s tragic, but y’know I guess God has His timing in it all.
Trulee: And it’s all divine. It’s all divine.
Aaron: And you got to meet him man, that’s crazy.
Aaron: You brought up The Observatory (in Santa Ana). I saw that you had played there not too long ago.
Trulee: Multiple times.
Aaron: Too Short, right? And Andre Nickatina?
Trulee: That was my first time ever.
Aaron: Okay, how was that?
Trulee: It was superb, man. It was frightening, but it was superb. You know? It was a great show, we rocked it.
Aaron: And that was with The Case Load Crew?
Trulee: (Nods) The Case Load Crew. […] Yeah, C.L.R.—Case Load Records. ‘C.L.R.’ stands for ‘Care about something. Love yourself. Respect others.’ You know, that’s my motto […] and you hear that within my music a lot. You hear me care about something, loving myself, and also respecting others.
Aaron: So, I wanted to talk about ‘Be Tru’ for a second, ‘cause your bars on there—I have to compliment your internal rhyme schemes and all that stuff. Who are your biggest influences in that department; when it comes to lyricism?
Trulee: When it comes to lyricism: Canibus, Nas, Killah Priest, Snoop, and The Game.
Aaron: Okay, so that would be your Top 5?
Trulee: That would be my Top 5.