Truth Hurts Interview (October 2009) | Interview By:
Dubcnn recently caught up with former First Lady of Aftermath, Shari Watson, aka Truth Hurts,
for an exclusive in-depth interview. After song-writing through the 90’s for people like
Mario Winans, Monifah and Shanice to name a few, Truth signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath
Entertainment. First appearing on Busta Rhymes’ hit single Break Ya Neck, Truth Hurts went
on to appear on slew of songs with D12, Eve, Jay-Z, Xzibit, and DJ Quik, Mel-Man, Focus…,
Timbaland and more. Her debut single from her Truthfully Speaking album, Addictive, was a
Top 10 hit and featured an appearance from Hip-Hop legend Rakim. Her follow-up album,
Ready Now, was released on Raphael Saadiq’s independent label Pookie Entertainment to critical acclaim.
In this exclusive interview with Dubcnn, Truth Hurts catches us up on what she’s been up to, sets
the record straight on her departure from Aftermath, talks about working with Dr. Dre, Raphael
Saadiq, Mel-Man, and DJ Quik, and tells us what we can expect from her in the near future.
As ever, be sure to leave your feedback in our forums or email them to email@example.com.
Interview was done in October 2009
Dubcnn Exclusive – Truth Hurts
A Woman’s Touch
(The Special Dubcnn Series)
By: Chad Kiser
Dubcnn: Start off by telling us what you’ve been doing recently?
Ok, well there are a few things. First and foremost I have been out in L.A. doing a couple
of films. One of them is wrapped up, the other is a movie called Dirty South and I play a role
called Mama Sicilia in that one. So the movie thing has been quite lucrative. I am also supposed
to be in the upcoming production of "Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide" it was supposed to be a
big production on Broadway back in the 80's with Alfre Woodard and some other ladies. I'll be doing
the triple threat thing, acting, singing, and dancing. I’ve also been accepted to do another theatre
type thing called Thriller, celebrating the life of Michael Jackson. So yeah I've been busy. I'm
also doing another record that will start overseas and work its way back over here.
Dubcnn: Sounds like you have really been busy to say the least.
My busiest project is my children, I have two. One is a toddler though, so I'm really busy.
Dubcnn: Well, let me take you back to the Aftermath days. How did you get involved with Dr. Dre initially?
I started off as a songwriter. I worked my way into the Aftermath camp after one of
Dre's right-hand men, Mike Lynn, brought me out to write for some of the groups. When I
got there they had a person that they had kicked out of a group and they said "oh, she
looks good, too. Let’s have her audition". So, I did the audition and the lead girl in
the group at the time did not want me in the group, so I didn’t make the group. But, I
stayed on as a songwriter and kept doing my thing. Then Dre was like, ‘you always sound
better on these songs than these other people, so let’s see what we can do with you’. I
would write the songs kind of for my style and would pass them on. He had Dawn from En
Vogue, and Eve. I actually wrote the “Love Is Blind” hook for Eve. Writing was how we
initially met, but then it developed into the artistry part of it.
Dubcnn: I'd like to talk to you about the lead single from your Aftermath solo project
"Addictive". Can you just run back a little bit and tell me how that song came together
with you working with Rakim and DJ Quik.
I go way back with Quik. He used to cook for my family back in the day. This is when
I used to live in the Bay area. I don't know how much you know about his cooking skills,
but he is a chef at heart, he is serious with it. I knew him from back then and he knew I
was working with Dre. I got him and Dre in a room together and then the ideas started
flowing. Dre was like, ‘you need to do some stuff with this’. Then on my birthday Quik hit
me up and was like, ‘sis, I got something for you’. It was the track to Addictive. He was
working at Encore over there in Burbank and I went to see him and he was like, ‘I can hear
you on this’. I was stunned when I first heard it! I was like man I got to get this to Dre
as soon as possible! When I did, he flipped his lid. He was like, ‘Yo, call Quik right now!’
I did, but Dre was in the hospital with his wife having a baby. He was in there with her,
but tripping off the song at the same time. So we got Static, may he rest in peace, to
come in and write it. Static is one of my favorite writers. He laced it and that was that.
Dubcnn: You know, Static is from my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. What was it like working with Static?
I loved working with Static! He was such an innovator, and in my eyes he was one of
the sickest writers out there. Every time I got in the studio with Static it was so enjoyable.
I'm a writer at heart myself, but whenever we were in the studio together I would just sit back
and let him do his thing. I usually didn't even put in my 2 cents, I just sat back and enjoyed
and indulged in the whole situation. He wrote Addictive in like 3 or 4 minutes flat. Sang it
down and it was done. I just sat back and let him do his thing. I also love the group Playa he
was in. They were one of my favorites.
Dubcnn: Did he do any other songs for that project?
I think that he did, but we did so many songs. There were over 50 songs we did that
didn't make the cut. So many great songs got lost in the shuffle.
Dubcnn: Were there any songs that you liked that were left off of the album?
Yes, definitely. My daughter’s favorite song called Fight Music that I made with
Organized Noise. That song is ridiculous! It had a rock kind of feel which is where
I'm actually heading in this next album. It would have been ahead of its time. Dre
told me that we didn't need to head in this direction with my first album, so I may
go back and re-do that one for this next album.
Dubcnn: How much work did Dre do for your Aftermath album? I had heard he produced more
than what showed up on the album.
He put his all into that album. Yes, there were songs that he did that were sickening, they
still get play with all of my family. We listen to them, but no one else. That is the problem
with doing so many songs for an album though, is that you can’t put them all on there. Dre is
such a perfectionist, that's what he does!
Dubcnn: Looking back, were you satisfied with the results of that album, as far as how and when it came out?
A lot of when it came out determined where I'm at now. There were so many things that didn't
come to fruition because Dre is the type that he wants to keep all of his cookies in the studio.
He doesn't want anyone to hear it until it’s done. Just for the information aspect of it, but
that's not how Dre operates. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that's what it
was. Nothing I could do about it.
Dubcnn: A lot of people are under the impression that because of the $500 million lawsuit
over "Addictive" that's why you were dropped or left that situation at Aftermath?
Yeah, I'm glad I am talking to you now. I want to set the record straight. I did not get
dropped from the label. I left on my own. There were some things in my personal life that you
will have to listen to my next album to find out! And anyone following me you can find me at www.twitter.com/officiallytruth
Dubcnn: Well, let’s journey on a little past that. With your album "Ready Now", tell me
a little bit about that album and Raphael Saadiq.
I met up with him from some people we both knew back in the bay. Dre was also interested in
signing Raphael, so we had a knowledge of each other. He is ridiculous! I've always been a
fan of his. I’ve wanted to work with him for a while. At the time that we got a meeting with
him he was only doing independent work and I was on my anti-label kick, too, so we got together.
The album was an independent project.
Dubcnn: How did that project feel for you once it was completed and it was out doing its thing?
People were surprised that I had that much versatility musically, but I heard that Prince really
liked it and said "now she finally did an album". I took that as a serious compliment. I’ve loved
him since I was 13. That project was just a different side of me.
Dubcnn: You said that you have so many different sides to you artistically, where do you
draw your motivation to write about so many different things?
I am always going through some personal drama. I draw inspiration from real life and deliver
myself out of my personal drama with writing and performing. A lot of my inspiration came from
who I heard growing up. I grew up in St. Louis, my daddy was a promoter and he brought some
great groups into town. I got be a part of real music growing up sitting on my daddy’s shoulder
watching concerts. So I had a genuine interest growing up. I was 13 with a fake ID with my
cousin’s band singing in night clubs. I studied opera at the same time. I have an opera base
to my singing, but this is what I've always wanted to do.
Dubcnn: You said that you grew up with people who were making real music. I am curious to
get your opinion about where music is at today in 2009?
If I had to finish that sentence in 2009 I would say that music is in a state of
shock. Music has been lost and I'm hoping that it can find itself. Projects like Jill
Scott and Raheem DeVaughn, people are giving real music and real art and only a small
part of that audience is buying that record. It’s terrible, with that and the downloading
and whatnot it’s bad now. I don't do the stanky leg or anything like that, but my kids
love it. They dance around, so it works. I'm not hating on anyone's music, it’s just not for me.
Dubcnn: I know that you have obviously worked with so many musical genius's and historical
figures in music. People like Dr. Dre, Rakim, Jay-Z, DJ Quik, Timbaland, and so on, but who is
out there that you would like to work with in the future?
Thank you, I take that as a compliment. I have been blessed to be in the studio with and
work with a lot of great people. Jay-Z is one that I would love to be in the studio and work
with. I have been on a song with him, but never worked with him directly. I would love to feel
his vibe and get down on a track with him. Now, I have the honor of working with RZA; I have
been a huge RZA and Wu-Tang fan for a long time, we have been working on and doing some different
stuff that is going to be insane. I have also been working with John from the Red Hot Chili
Peppers. He is insane! He brought me to a new level of inspiration and I felt blessed to hear
some of his music that the rest of the world will never get to hear. I have been blessed to be
in some of these situations and I'm confident that I will end up in a good situation and I'm
just waiting for that to happen. I don't want to release any trash, I want to do one of those
albums where people say, "She went to her cave and came out with greatness!". All I can say
though is that I feel blessed and I'm going to continue to work hard.
Dubcnn: When you say you have never worked with Jay-Z, when you did the vocals for
The Watcher 2, how did that go down?
It wasn't Jay-Z's song, it was Dre's song and he came in and was listening to some
tracks and came across that one and said, ‘I want to do something with this, keep the
vocals and remix it’. It was an honor, when Dre told me that I was stunned.
Dubcnn: Tell me about working with Eminem’s group D12 on the song "Nasty Mind".
That was one of those days when I dropped by the studio and Dre was working with
them. He was like, ‘get in there and lay this down for me really quick’. There were a
lot of projects that I went in there and dropped my part or whatever and was like alright
I’ll see you all later.
Dubcnn: Did you work with Eminem on any projects?
Yes, I did. We did a couple things that did not actually end up on the album. Once again, that
is how it works with Dre. I was flown out to work with Em at his house, which was another great
experience. I can’t remember the song, but he may have been trying to do "The Watcher". I just
remember that he didn't use what we did. I know that we worked on it a whole night. I went in
and slammed the vocals and he said, ‘yo, you work fast!’. I’ve wanted to get on something that
went out with him, but haven't yet. He told me himself that he doesn't do a lot of stuff with
R & B on it that's just not his style, but I told him when he did to call me.
Dubcnn: Have you talked to any of them or heard anything about the "Detox" album?
I have not. I think I'm going to reach out to Dre. He has been talking about that album
since before I left the label and I’d like to get down with him on that, it would be a nice reunion.
Dubcnn: What can you tell me about your upcoming album? Who might do some production and who
might you work with?
Well, there are some overseas producers that I'm going to work with, just some hot cats from
over there, and I want to use the RZA stuff. I just got a crazy couple of tracks from Mario
Winans, who I was originally partnered up with as a songwriter. He is doing an album, so
hopefully we’ll do a few things for each other’s albums. To be honest with you I want a fresh
sound, rather than just known producers. I’ve been searching for that and I'm messing with the
rock/hip hop sound right now. I just want crazy and not necessarily a Timbaland beat. I just
want the music not who is on it. That's why I love my overseas audience.
Dubcnn: I was going to ask you about that. What prompted you to start this project overseas?
They are still embracing me over there. Here, you’re like a fly-by-night thing. Four
hours after you do a song you’re over with, if you don't do another song right away. Over
there, they just love the music and they are giving me love. I'm satisfied with who my
audience is over there and if it makes it over here, cool. It will make it over there
because now everybody is eating wherever they can eat, and people are going back and forth.
Dubcnn: This is just my personal opinion, but it seemed to me that when you jumped on
tracks that Mel-Man produced, you two had something dope. Do you two keep in touch?
Yes, I just talked to him. I think you might have ESP or something! He called me last
week and was like, ‘Truth, when are you coming over here to the house? We have to get this
stuff done’. He is literally 5 minutes from me here in LA, right up the street. He wants me
to come over and tells me to bring the kids since we have kids the same age. I have been
meaning to get over there, maybe you’re the sign that I needed to get over there.
Dubcnn: Well, I know the song "Tired" off of "Truthfully Speaking" and Benefit Of The
Doubt on "The Wash" soundtrack were dope. You two seem to compliment each others talents well.
Mel-Man knows me. You should hear some of the ones that didn't make the album. I’ll
get in my archives and send you some stuff that is dope. We did so much stuff for my album
that a lot got lost on the shuffle, but he is a dope producer who knows me very well. I
think he brings out the best in me. I can just vent on Mel's tracks, that rebel music. A
lot of the things that we wrote, were right there on the bus during the "Up In Smoke tour,
they had a little studio in the back of the bus and that was that.
Dubcnn: Speaking of the Up In Smoke tour, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem... what was that like?
Once again, I was just blessed to be around all of this male positive energy. I was around
them, I soaked it up, I took notes, I watched, and now Truth! That was the first thing that
happened when Dre signed me. Before we did anything like the First Lady of Aftermath, I was
just around them and watched and shaped who I wanted to be as an artist at that time. I appreciated it.
Dubcnn: Now tell me about Focus? I know he did a couple joints for you.
(laughs) Why are you mentioning all of my folk?. I am working with Focus, too. He just sent
me a file that he needed a hook to. His song "Next To Me" is my favorite on the first album.
There is so much talent out here and that's why it’s terrible what is going out. There are a
lot of dope people out there, producers who are shutting it down and they are not getting out
there. So, I’m going to do what I have to do and bring it back out there.
Dubcnn: Before we cut out, I’d like to know who you’re currently listening to. Who’s in
current rotation in the Truth Hurts iPod?
Right now the only one I'm checkin for is my homeboy from the STL named Kay-L. He's
sick! He's been workin with DJ Quik & AMG, and even did a crazy-ass remix to "Progress” with
Junior Reid & French rapper Rohff. I think he's about to be outta here! Remember I said it 1st!
Dubcnn: Ok, we’ll definitely check for Kay-L! Thank you Shari for taking the time to sit down
with us today.
For more information and details on upcoming shows & appearances, contact Kamid Mosby at 213-281-9874.