Trae Tha Truth has a lot going on –he recently released a new album and has a tour coming up with Snoop Dog’s entertainment company, Uncle Snoops Army and Bobby Dee Presents. But it was clear from the moment the rapper walked through the doors at the Houston Chronicle Thursday that he was going to make it a priority to talk about his beloved hometown of Houston.
“I make it my business to make sure I’m always on the front line for this city,” he said.
Trae, whose given name is Frazier Othel Thompson III, is one of those rare rappers who seems to be more interested in the greater good than self-interest. He and his cohort, Justin “DJ Mr. Rogers” Rogers, are at the helm of a volunteer group called Relief Gang, formed during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 as they helped victims of the devastating storm.
Since its inception, the Gang members have spent millions of dollars of their own money — as well as donations to their nonprofit, Angel by Nature — to help Houston residents in-need.
When Houston police released a surveillance video from a gas station on Oct. 3 showing the violent carjacking of Sheila Henry, it quickly went viral on social media, catching Trae’s attention.
“When I saw it, I felt two things: anger and hurt,” Trae said. “I couldn’t help but think, ‘What if this had been my mom or my grandmother?’”
The 15-year-old and 16-year-old male suspects have been charged with robbery and Henry’s truck has been returned, although damaged.
Trae reached out and visited Henry at her Houston home.
“When Trae called, I told him that I was alright, but he insisted on coming by to check on me anyway,” Henry told the Chronicle. “I don’t know why they (the suspects) chose me. They don’t know me. I really didn’t think people would care. I am just one person.”
Trae not only helped get Henry’s vehicle repaired, but he also set up a GoFundMe page for the Houston grandmother, who has worked as a newspaper carrier for the Houston Chronicle for more than 30 years.
“I created a GoFundMe page and had it set up to where all the money goes directly to her bank account,” Trae said.
The page, called “Protect our own: Standing with our mothers,” is currently at $2,114, with a goal to raise $10,000.
“From my standpoint, this is just to bless her because she gets up every morning at 3 or 4 a.m. to deliver newspapers. The money (we raise) is not going to take care of her for the rest of her life, but I feel like it can ease her stress,” Trae said.
What’s more, Trae is hosting a fundraising event for Henry 5-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Taste Bar + Kitchen, located at 3015 Bagby.
“There aren’t many people that will come to your rescue. He didn’t have to do it. I think he is fantastic,” Henry said.
For a city icon such as Trae, local politics may seem like the next frontier, especially with fellow Houston rapper Brad “Scarface” Jordan running for Houston City Council. However, the 39-year-old said he has no plans to run to enter the political arena.
“Nah, people have pushed me to run for city council or mayor but I’m not into that. I believe that how I move now is more authentic, more genuine and less forced,” Trae said. “I’m not thinking about mapping out a plan or waiting on people. I just get to it because sometimes that second you wait can end up costing you a situation that could help somebody.”
His good deeds might seem to take time away from his music career, but that is finally coming full circle, he said.
As a result of his signing with Uncle Snoops Army and Bobby Dee Presents, a multimillion live entertainment and management business, he will be performing on the “I Wanna Thank Me” Snoop Dogg tour, alongside veteran rapper Warren G.
“Awhile back, Snoop was in town and we were talking. I told him I was at a standstill and don’t have management. He told me, ‘Leave that to me. Let me be the one to figure that out,” Trae said. “I’ve been in the game for 20 years. I’ve never had my own official tour. I am ready.”
The “I Wanna Thank Me” tour kicks off in December, including a Houston stop at House of Blues featuring Trae, Snoop Dogg and Warren G on December 16.
The opportunity comes on the heels of the August release of Trae’s album, Exhale.
“Sometimes you get to the point that you need to release it all. You have to forgive, breathe and let it out. That’s why it’s called Exhale. This album is all me.”
A song titled “Nipsey” is a tribute to Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed earlier this year in Los Angeles. “I wrote it after he passed. He was my brother. There was so much I wanted to say to him. The words are from my heart,” Trae said.
Currently involved in a custody battle, Trae said he wrote “Letter 2 Truth” for his daughter. “As a father, I am fighting for my equal rights. When she gets older, she can listen to it and understand my mind frame and what I’m going through.”
With his music career moving full steam ahead, Trae said he has no plans to slow down in the community.
Next, he wants to open an emergency children’s shelter in Houston. “We are looking for a location and people to donate,” he said. “We’ll be able to help so many kids.”
Sharing your blessings, he said, is a part of life.
“I’ve always given the last of what I have to whoever needs it. God has blessed me … why not share my blessings with others?
“The way I look at it, it all comes full circle. There may come a time when I need help.”