Archie Roundtree, aka, TRU-ACE is a prodigy in his own right-livin’ and lovin' life; while spittin’ out what he feels is right. He has an old-soul at 21- years- old and the younger brother of hip-hop artist Skee-Lo. (’95 Grammy nominee for the Top 40/Billboard chart single ‘I Wish’) Tru-Ace capitalized early during his travels on numerous roads- constantly on a quest to uplift and compose. With that, the Tru of the matter must be told...
You already know what it is. How did you come up with your name TRU-ACE?
My nickname for awhile was Ace, and by me always being in the recording studio, working with different producers, I always kept it honest with whomever. One day, out of the clear blue, somebody called me "Tru" and within seconds I put the two together.
So you keep it real at all times?
Yea, I just keep it real with everybody- no matter what’s going on. It’s easier that way- I don't look back.
I can dig that! I read that you grew up in a military family, which means you bounced around a lot. How did that impact your life by picking up and moving from city to city, state to state?
It actually had a positive impact because it helped me to adapt in any situation quicker. I learned how to make new friends fast. At the same time, I enjoyed adjusting to new cultures and surroundings. Basically, I appreciate just about everything everywhere I lived.
What city or state had the most influence on your road to the rap game?
Umm, not just one, but a few cities. I mean, Chicago had a big affect on me because I learned so much while being there. It's a cold climate- but, the hustle and bustle of that city is crazy! Even California- it’s a sunny state, therefore, you can’t help but to be happy by the weather-it got a laid back appeal. But, even going to New York, just being around that frequent flow of fashion magnetized me.
Aw, that's cool. We’ll talk about that fashion swag a little later. Now, for those that don’t know, Skee –Lo is your brother.
Skee-Lo produced lyrical masterpieces and he paved a way- always grindin'; in fact, the song "I Wish" made it to the Top 40/Billboard charts- on top of being nominated for a Grammy, did you hang out with him a lot?
At that time, I didn't understand everything that was going on, but, I knew exactly when to turn the television on or what channel my brother was on. Also, I knew all his videos and when they came on. Back in those days, we had extreme whirl-wind experiences. I can remember watching my brother perform and saw his intense work ethics, which he still has today! I use to watch Lo perfect his craft and observed how he put his all in all into every show on stage; he loved it! It was great just seeing him and being blessed with the opportunity to be in some of his music videos. It was real cool.
With your journey, does Skee-Lo play a part in your management team?
We’re brothers and I always support everything he’s doing. Real talk, we always make sure we look out for each other and give each other advice and stuff; but, Lo is supportive and he's good at letting me do my own thing. I stay focus on what I want to focus on. Don't misunderstand me, it’s a blessing to have him in my corner, but the Tru-th, I’m in control of my own path with everything I’m doing.
Alright, let's keep it moving. Your music is a reminder of an early Luda, a little bit of Bones, Thugs -N- Harmony and maybe a boost of Soulja Boy- with hits like "Aim High," "Belly of the Beast," "Here it Comes"-all these are upbeat-positive affirmations!
In such a challenging, materialistic world, especially in the grittiness of the hip-hop industry, as well as many communities, what fuels you? What allows you to continue carrying a torch of that light, which actually exhibits in your music?
Again, I just have an appreciation for everything that’s going on in general because someone is always going through something harder than you. I like to be a testament. In all honesty, things don’t really get me down; I look at all things as a learning experience. To me, there’s no such thing as luck, just hard work and persistence. If you want to get something- go get it! All my endeavors, whether it was school, especially with my music, I just work hard.
I use my music as an outlet to express different things. Even with the song “Aim High” or “Here It Comes," it was me talking about my situations and situations I seen; always letting people hear and know that I’m here and not taking any prisoners.
What inspired the song "Belly of the Beast?"
With Belly of the Beast, I first heard the track in the recording studio and I like to rap fast. When I first was introduced to hip-hop, people were fast spitters and on that track, I was going a mile a minute. I wanted to spit as fast as I could. I guess a little bit of Chicago influence; a lot of rappers in that city spit fast- like Twista. I'm always challenging myself on different tracks as to how fast I can spit. With Belly of the Beast song, I just went hard to state my case and let them know I here and not going anywhere.
Like the Bones, Thugs -N- Harmony?
Yea, that's right. Every so often at the studio, I might run into Bizzy Bone, who's such a humble dude. When Bizzy is in the studio, he's making sure to give me some inspiring words. It's always good to receive positive knowledge from successful artists who don't necessarily have to take out the time to even speak at all. Now that's cool.
Tell the world a little bit about the organization that you play a major part in.
"Friday Night Live" is a drug-free awareness organization. I preach to kids and let them know to stay off drugs and alcohol. I inform those young people that if they're going to drink, at least drink responsibly. I express to them what they do now in life will definitely dictate what's happens in the future.
I'm glad that particular organization entrust me to perform and travel to different schools, which opened other doors for other schools with other organizations. Really, I'm a firm believer in staying in school and getting that education!
Cool. For the ladies, do you have a steady girlfriend?
Mona, I’m so focus on what I’m trying do. But, don’t get it twisted, I go on dates and might find a nice lady to go out with-but, for the most part, I’m trying to reach all my goals. I’m workin’ hard now so when I retire, I can chill.
Nothing wrong with that. What type a lady attracts you?
A girl that's driven and can make me laugh. A female that doesn't talk about it- they're just about it. They have to be confident and eloquent in their speech; just on point!
Who do you listen to in the hip-hop world?
Childish Cambino, I always make sure I'm plugged in to him. Of course, Jay-Z and P. Diddy with their business ethics, along with their music. I like to listen to Ludacris, he's dope-especially when he spits comical on a track. And Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Common; those artists rappin' on a tracks are brilliant in telling major stories; I call it spoken word spitters. Also, the crazier performers like Busta Rhymes- his stage performance is phenomenon. The list goes on and on. Bottom line, I'm always studying the game and everything about it.
Let’s jump into the fashion, what’s the name of your fashion line?
Actually, it’s not my fashion line. Earlier in my career a couple of different companies wanted to sponsor me. Fashion companies started hitting me up. First, local brands started hitting me up and then Vlado footwear. Their products are in a lot of different stores, Once Vlado hit me up, that company ended up sponsoring me with their shoe line. After that, companies started coming out of the woodwork. It was kinda like a whirl-wind situation; but, a blessing at the same time because that showed everybody that you're marketable in the first place and helps with the label.
On top of that, it's always good to have products from my sponsors to give out to the youth when I visit the different schools and such. To me, by giving out products to the young people, it shows them to keep doing the right thing; letting them know that goals are attainable if you work hard at it.
Speaking of record label, are you on a record label now?
Different labels are hollering at me for different stuff right now. As a result, options are opening right now and it's a blessing that the calls are coming in; especially with the hard work I'm putting in. I'm doing a collaboration with the infamous Tommy Boy Records. That opportunity right there is a blessing- just to get a call and to be doing a whole collaboration with Tommy Boy Records; their track record speaks for itself. Shout out to Tommy Boy!
My Mixtape and I'm doing that collaboration project with Tommy Boy; in addition, a show with the NAACP I'm performing etc.. In between all of that, the sky is the limit!
The industry needs you. It's a pleasure to talk to you.
Tell our readers where they can find you.
Everything's the same thing, it's easy. Thanks Mona.
No, thank you for calling me, keep doing what you do!
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