Nego True is a raw and talented spoken word artist and musician who has developed the world of spoken word effortlessly. He focuses on personal topics that many people can relate too, although adds good vibes through accompanying these thoughtful words with a beat and a melody. He is commonly known for the “Play This When You Hate Me” mixtape, which subtly shows the inspiration that this man has been to many. He has written two books, which have both created a name for themselves in history and he continues to motivate others with his YouTube channel series “TrueTalksShow”. Luckily for Verge, we got an opportunity to speak with the man himself, and his words continue to inspire whether they are put into verses or a casual conversation. After you hear ‘True.’ you’ll think powerful thoughts and believe you can accompany this man in changing this world. So let’s move onto the truth…
When did you realize that you had a passion for spoken word poetry?
“When I was 16, I lost a friend of mine. I wasn’t much of a talker, so I wrote him a letter…only thing is the letter rhymes. At his memorial when everyone heard it, they went mad. They believed I had a talent, a gift.
I spent years writing without releasing. Just writing to get through things. I didn’t know how to express in conversation, but art…art made me feel free. Sometimes I miss that freedom not having an audience gives you.”
What makes you different from other spoken word artists?
“Maybe it’s my attention to detail in delivering my message. I believe talent isn’t enough. We can all come up with cool lines if it doesn’t engage someone…it’s pointless. I love music, I love ignorant rap, street music, pop, dancehall, etc so I try to merge them into my art.
Once you write, you have a duty to figure out what you need to do to get it to and making it appeal with who you’re talking to.”
What aspects of your life do you consistently try and weave into your work?
“Maybe my family. I live a very normal life and I never want my life to not be something I can’t write about.”
What do you aim for your poetry to do for people and the world?
Every poem is a different message for a different person. Sometimes I just want people to know they’re not alone. Sometimes I want them to know I’m here for them. I talk to individuals in front of 1000’s.”
Who is your greatest inspiration?
“Most probably my mother and life. Life itself is a canvas and the remedy to writer’s block. Conversations, moments, whatever it may be. There’s nothing you can’t write about.”
When do you find you write the most?
“At night in bed, just about to fall asleep. Tiredness feels like an adrenaline boost sometimes, similar to the feeling some get from alcohol or other substances, sounds weird but I get it from being tired.”
Other than the spoken word, what do you find yourself passionate about?
“Music and football.”
From where you started to where you are now, what has your journey been like?
“Ups and downs. You fail a lot. But it’s about what you learn from that, how you apply it to the next instance.
I’ve been able to turn this art into a lifestyle, without compromising writing how I feel and what I want to release.”
What are your honest opinions on the world as it stands?
“A beautiful mess.”
What drove you to say “true” after all of your spoken word poems?
“I didn’t know how to close my poems or tell people I was done. I used to just say “you can clap now” lol but one day I just said True and it caught on. The crowd would go mad when I’d say it so I kept it.”
What made you combine your spoken word with music?
“I’ve always loved music and believe as an artist you have a responsibility to make your art digestible. A lot of poets seem to not care about that aspect because they deem it as ‘selling out’. The music to me is what separates some of the goods from the greats. Your ability to decipher which music you need and correctly build a writing formula that not only gives you depth in your writing but also sits on an instrumental is an expression of talent. I love to give people art they can learn from but also enjoy.”
Where did you get your innovation to write two books? And why did you choose those topics?
“I always wanted to write a book. I was a kid trying to write books but I wasn’t the smartest. One day I had a realization. “I’m a poet now”. I created my first book as a cop-out if I’m honest. I wanted to write fiction, but I was too nervous I wasn’t a good writer away from poetry so I put all my poems together in a book instead.
The second, I wanted to talk to people about my continent. I also wanted to talk to my future child.”
What are your plans for the future?
“Currently working on 3 short films and my first feature film. Also creating my new tape and working on new TrueTalks series. Just having fun again, I guess.”
What advice do you have for aspiring spoken word poets out there today?
“Keep writing. Ignore who you think is the benchmark and be the benchmark.”