If there's one thing that Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth knows, it's "fan appreciation." Both at his concerts and in the community, Trae thanks his supporters at every opportunity, knowing that the fans are what push a good rapper towards greatness. Whether he's performing alongside his countless friends in the rap game, or providing food, fun, and services at his annual Trae Day celebrations, it is difficult to find another performer who cares as much as this gentleman.
Which is why tomorrow at Warehouse Live, Trae Tha Truth and Scoremore will present a "Fan Appreciation Concert" for the city. Although the rapper hasn't exactly been completely absent from the spotlight, his performances in the city have dwindled in the past year since he signed with T.I.'s Grand Hustle record label. We assume that he has been hard at work in the studio for another star-studded album, and we know he does a fair amount of traveling across the U.S., most recently on tour with Lil Wayne.
On a personal note, besides the Trill OG Bun B himself, Trae is the rapper that I've had the honor to photograph the most during my time here at Rocks Off. He has always been appreciative and humble in the times we have worked together, and I count on him as one of the biggest supporters of my work. He even introduced me to Nas at ACL Music Fest in 2011, telling the Illmatic MC that my work was "classic." So to that regard, I present to you my Top 10 favorite Trae Tha Truth photographs from the past five years.
10. Warehouse Live, November 2013 This is the most recent photo I have of Trae. He made a special guest appearance that night with one of his biggest supporters, Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco. I've photographed them together on several occasions, with Lupe flying into town to support Trae Day and Trae's birthday concerts.
9. House of Blues, July 2013 This was another infamous birthday celebration for Tha Truth. Guest spots were taken by J-Dawg, Lil Duval, Mystical, Big K.R.I.T., and Mr. Rubber Band man himself, T.I. They actually told Trae that Tip has missed his flight and was unable to make the event. Mid apology, T.I. jumped on stage, causing Trae to flash his blinged out smile.
8. Baybrook Mall, June 2013 This was a fun show, if you consider heat exhaustion fun. It was the Zumiez Couch Tour, which on this stop turned out to be half skate expo and half rap show. With the sun blaring, Trae took the stage (and later hopped off of it and into the crowd) with the same ferocity and poise that he presents at every one of his sets. The skater boys and girls in the crowd appreciated the gesture, and all went home happy, although a bit dehydrated.
7. Warehouse Live, December 2011 An ABN reunion with Z-Ro. Doesn't get any better (or menacing) than this. Backstage at the show, the two rappers took a few minutes before the show to embrace and discuss whatever they had to discuss. Whatever they said privately certainly worked as they delivered one of the best shows of the year.
6. 2001 Commerce Street Warehouse, East Downtown. September 2011 This image was taken during the video shoot for the track "Strapped Up." It was dark, hot, and scary in this huge, musty warehouse just east of Minute Maid Park. Trae, his crew, and all the extras were dressed in black, with bandanas and ski masks to add to the mood. Now, Trae is a big dude, but beside him stood two giants that had to be damn hear twice his size. Definitely one of the coolest experiences I've ever witnessed.
5. House of Blues, June 2011 This show was to serve as the celebrations of the release of "Street King." Special guests included Jadakiss, Lupe Fiasco, Waka Flocka, Young Joc, and Don Cannon. Shea Serrano called this show "very likely the best live show that Trae has ever put together." Trae began the show by rolling onto the stage on a low-rider bike, gave away two diamond watches and two sets of swangers rims in the middle, and had the crowd almost convinced that Lil Wayne was about to hit the stage with him any minute. Awesome show indeed.
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4. Eleanor Tinsley Park, June 2011 Backstage at Free Press Summer Fest with Big Boi of OutKast. Cooler than a polar bear's toenails!
3. The Fader Fort @ SXSW, March 2011 I absolutely love this image. One of my favorites that I've ever taken. Trae performed "Getting Paid" with his homie Wiz Khalifa at the very height of his early fame. Wiz won some points from the Texas crowd by bringing inviting Trae out with him. Everyone wins.
2. Northwest Mall parking lot, July 2010 Trae with Young Buck. So cool, very gangsta. Wow!
This was my very first assignment for the Houston Press. It was a Bun B & Friends show, and everyone was there, including Trae and his ABN crew. The rest, as they say, is history.
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