Da’ T.R.U.T.H. (pronounced like “the truth”) describes himself as a Christian, husband, and father. “Everything is colored by my Christian values and my relationship with Jesus.”

In his youth, Da’ T.R.U.T.H. grew up in a Christian home and wasn’t allowed to listen to hip-hop. Instead, he listened to and enjoyed Gospel music. As a teen, he started getting into hip-hop and remembers a time that he and a friend who rapped were making fun of Christian hip-hop, known as Gospel Rap at that time.

“My friend, he went home that night, and when he got home he called me, and I said to him, ‘Yo bro, I think I just wrote my first Christian rap.’ As soon as he left, I started writing. He was like ‘Yo, me too.’ We were like ‘Yo, let’s start a group.”

That’s how it all began.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Da’ T.R.U.T.H. encountered a lot of people who followed pagan and mystic religions. “When I started contending for the faith, I used to end up in conversations with different leaders from those mystery religions, and in one instance, my faith was completely shaken by the time I was done.” For two weeks he considered and questioned what he believed and who Jesus is.

“God really spoke to my heart and made clear to me that what I believed was true. In that moment I said to myself, ‘You know, the deception in these other religions and cults is that there is some truth in them, but the beautiful thing about Christianity is it’s not about some truth, it’s about the person who embodies it.'”

He notes that in John 14:6, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

“I just thought it was fitting to come up with a name that was reflective of that challenge, that crisis in my life.”

At age 16, that’s how he chose to call himself Da’ T.R.U.T.H. The reason he uses all of those periods is that shortly before his first album released in 2004, “I was getting ready to get sued. Somebody else had the name at the time, and they had threatened to take legal action against me.” T.R.U.T.H. is actually an acronym meaning “to reach youth through him.”

Da’ T.R.U.T.H. went to the same church as several Christian rappers who were known collectively as Cross Movement. “After service, we would all kind of get together around the keyboard. Julian was on drums, we got my guy Kev, Arthur was on bass. They would play, and my group and their group would rap.”

He was drawn to Cross Movement, and their skill as artists, especially “Ambassador, [I] was like ‘What planet did this guy come from?'” The members of Cross Movement started discipling him and took him under their wing. “We would find ourselves cramped up in Ambassador’s efficiency. 30 of us… [we had] the oven door open to heat it because ain’t nobody had no money back then.”

Cross Movement hosted Bible studies once a week and also had accountability groups, both of which Da’ T.R.U.T.H. participated in.

“They brought me on as a part of Cross Movement Ministries, which was like a day job. I would go there every day… My time with them was really all about having my roots established in the faith.”

Da’ T.R.U.T.H. started traveling with Cross Movement when they went on tour. In 1999 he went on a two-week tour of Europe with the group. “They were really gracious towards me and really put me in front of the people.” One day on tour, Cross Movement member John “Tonic” wells told him that if he sticks around, they would like to sign him. “That was like a no-brainer.”

He notes that back then, there was no music industry for Christian hip-hop.

“The world thought that we were too corny [and] the church thought that we were too carnal. We didn’t have a whole lot of platforms.”

“My aspiration was to use my craft in a conversational way to connect with a culture that would only hear God through this medium.” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. said that not having a music industry for Christian hip-hop back then allowed them to be free from the greed and selfishness that can come with the music industry. “It kept us focused on the mission.”

Fastforward to 2018. This month, Da’ T.R.U.T.H. released his ninth album, Vet. Now that Christian hip-hop is a well-developed music genre, Da’ T.R.U.T.H. considers himself one of its veterans.

“This album was about continuing to establish the precedent and create mature music… I think its important for the Christian hip-hop genre to age well.”

He hopes to be seen as a leader in the genre. “I wanted to start this trajectory of providing my peers and the generation that’s [younger] with perspective. That’s what this Vet series is all about.”

In “Long Time,” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. sought to re-introduce himself to those who may not be very familiar with him. “For some, this is the first time they’ve heard me.” He also hopes that fans who have been keeping up with him long-term will think “Yes! I remember that! Oh yeah!” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. wants to remain humble and not brag about what he has done, but rather to say “God has been faithful to me all this time and I’m still here.”

“Everything” seeks to ask listeners to consider what they are pursuing. “The moment you make a good thing ultimate, it becomes an idol. There are a lot of good things to pursue, especially in the music industry, [the] arts, and entertainment.” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. believes that God wants us to enjoy the good things in life but not to let our value become defined by anything except our faith. “Cardi B said in an interview, ‘Money has not made me happy.'”

“Jesus comes along, and he said ‘Anybody who’s thirsty, come to me and you’ll never thirst again.’ I think the fulfillment people are looking for can only be found in Christ.”

Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s first single from Vet was “Brand New.” The song represents changing seasons in life and seeks to uplift listeners. “Even if I don’t feel good, that becomes my soundtrack to the day.”

“Would You Love Me?” describes a tug-of-war between “performing for God and receiving God’s grace.” Da’ T.R.U.T.H. notes the everyday struggle of considering if God loves us the same when our faith and virtue is strong as He does when they are weak.

“If I fail, does God still love me in the same way that he does when I don’t? I think that’s something that we really have to struggle with as Christians. We’re constantly in that tension.”

He wants listeners to know that Jesus’ love for them is constant and not determined by their performance or their sins. “If we could fix our eyes on the cross, any anger that God would have had towards us has been absorbed in Christ.”

“Legacy” features Bizzle, Datin, and Greg Cox.

“Jesus says, ‘For this purpose, I was born: to testify to the truth.’ I want to leave that kind of legacy, that people recognize me for being a bearer of what is right, what is good, and what is true.”

Outside of music Da’ T.R.U.T.H. enjoys playing video games and basketball, watching movies, and spending time with his family. His favorite basketball team is “anywhere Le’Bron [James] goes.”

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Get or stream Vet here.