With the American general election being less than a week out, there’s no more poignant moment to compose this than now. I.Am.Tru.Starr’s ‘Viva’ is a celebration of creativity and personal values; a message that everybody right now needs to hear.
He says that his music is his way of contributing back to humanity, in reflection to his time spent in prison.
“Though I’ve paid my debt to the government, I’ve still yet to pay my debt back to society and the people that I had a hand in causing harm to. So, I attempt to do that through music. Giving people hope through song.”– Tru Starr
Tru Starr, who lives in Las Vegas but was born in New York, was at the epicentre of the Black Lives Matter movements in the US. He claims that ‘Viva’ is a celebration of life for everyone, breaking away from the things that society makes you believe are important.
I.Am.Tru.Starr’s top Spotify tracks are easily accessible below:
The first track from the album, ‘Gesundheit’ is a brief introductory tune with a funky feel, scattered with remixed BLM narration and a punchy rhythm. It gives us a preview of the talent of Tru Starr to come, with a remarkable flow to his rapture, but without the lack of any pronunciation. It’s a fast track at 1 minute 35 seconds, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that it offers a brilliant taster of the impressive stuff to come.
‘Kenzo Feat Eto’ produces a much more down to earth vibe in a change of mood, adding to the song a touch of seriousness. With a harder beat, you get the sense that Tru Starr uses this one as a much more serious way of carrying his message. He adds many alterations within the song, switching between rap and a more conventional singing style.
The next hit, ‘Something’s Gotta Change,’ brought me back to the seventies right away; the soul vibe and rhythm it gives off makes you feel like listening to Marvin Gaye. This song reflects what the album is about, drawing a similarity to Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On? ’. We also see the return of narration – which really begins to set home the true meaning of the track.
As the album continues, rap songs such as ‘Selma Radio’ and ‘American Idol’ come together with some more commercial music. Again, the transition between the raps and the singing is extremely well handled, whilst the songs offer a soothing break from the seriousness of the rest of the record. This is a much more contemporary vibe.
A very fascinating inclusion that comes halfway through the album is ‘Testify’. Its’ almost-spiritual beginning provides the yet another source of music, where Tru Starr carefully combines a variety of different techniques into one, mixing it with rapping, singing and a plethora of instruments.
‘Speed Limit’ is the track that stands out most for me as a lover of rock and guitar music. You are met instantly with a gritty guitar that unexpectedly flows effortlessly with the voice of Tru Starr.
‘Plaza Radio’ is another short track that fits well to break the album up, close to ‘Gesundheit’. It returns to the beginning, re-integrating the slower beats previously used, without losing some of the strength and power in previous tracks that he’s built up.
This sluggish vibe persists as the next track,’ Taste’, starts to play, but with a far more punchy rhythm than previous songs. Here, instead of his rapping, we are exposed to some of Tru Starr’s singing talent.
‘Killin’ Me ‘offers another powerful use of storytelling as we approach the end of the album, adding another dimension to his songs. He takes a step away from his message to society here and helps us to enter into his personal life. He shares his feelings about what seems to be a failing friendship, exposing his inner thoughts and sentiments bravely. The repetitive repetition of what appears as a voicemail in this highlights the idea that this is playing on his mind.
‘Drake Style Beat’ – with a high energy sound and a quality rap to suit, finishes the album off perfectly and resoundingly. While it offers the more traditional pop-rap beat, Tru Starr still stamps the theme and execution of the single with his name to it.
Overall, I.Am.Tru.Starr has really produced an incredible album here. It shines a light on the true person behind the music, whilst also encapsulating a deep-rooted message which has been intertwined throughout.
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