'Positive Rapper' Sends Message To Rockaway Teens
By Howard Schwach
"True" is an enigma.
The Rockaway man, who refused to give us his full name, is a rapper of some local note with a new CD due out sometime later this month.
That, however, is not all that he does. His regular job as a structural ironworker and welder has brought him to such diverse jobs as the Marine Parkway Bridge reconstruction and the Whitestone Bridge.
And, he is working towards becoming a New York City Firefighter.
He admits that he has been arrested four times, although he has never been found guilty and has never done time.
Through it all, however, his music is his main love.
"The music is part of me," he told The Wave in a long interview this week. "It gets my frustrations down on paper, it lets me speak my mind. My music is my poetry, and it is part of me."
Yet "True" is not like most young rappers, who favor "gangsta rap" that glorifies the use of guns and drugs and denigrates black women.
"I did positive things for people and they did bad things back," he said. "They stabbed me in the back and they led to my music."
"Life is tough in Rockaway," he added, "Gangsta rap is part of the problem, at least partially. We need to get more MC's who have a positive message, who say stop the violence."
"There are a lot of people dying on those streets, especially black people," he concluded. "They kill for stupid things like chains, gold, gangs and particularly over girls. Most of them are dying over girls. It's just stupid."
He thinks, however, that the solution lies in giving the youth something positive to do with their lives.
True," who was a part of the Irish Ropes" boxing program before it left Rockaway for Manhattan, says that boxing is one answer.
"Let them take their anger, their frustration out on the big bag rather than shooting each other," he says. "That would keep kids off the street and give them some positive reinforcement to their lives. It would give them something to hold on to."
"True" calls himself the CEO of his group, "The Rhyte Hitters."
His new CD, "Rolling With No Fear," will send a positive message to teens, he says.
"I want to help kids in the street, kids like me," he concluded. "I want to show them another way."
He wants teens to listen to one of the songs on the CD and to heed its message.
The song, called "Sheila Is Sprung," is about what he calls a "typical problem" in Rockaway. Sheila is strung out and drops out of school. Her mother throws her out of the house and she turns to prostitution to stay alive.
She is dead at 16.
True's message is the futility of such a life.
"Sweet 16, so scandalous.
Sweet 16, situation ridiculous
Get the word out to parents
Keep an eye on your kids.
Lawyers, doctors, whatever, want to do something positive.
Sweet 16, so scandalous
Sweet 16, situation ridiculous.