It’s been obvious since his November 4th, 2020 release from jail that Drakeo the Ruler was ready to get back to work proper. His mixtape Thank You for Using GTL was recorded and released in June, when he was still behind bars during his well covered, controversial legal situation. Back home, he quickly dropped We Know the Truth and Because Y’all Asked before the year ended and is now back with his new project, The Truth Hurts.
Drakeo has a rap style that can feel like an, “acquired taste”, for the uninitiated. Juxtaposed with up and comers like Blue Face and Coot Corleone, he is very much the embodiment of the emergent Los Angeles gangster rap sound that draws heavy inspiration from early to mid-nineties acts like RBL Posse, Kokane, and Jayo Felony. The Truth Hurts falls right in line with the eclectic body of work Drakeo is steadily building and, it’s not really for everybody.
It opens with an intro that quite feels like a mid album transition record. At five minutes and thirteen seconds, it’s the second longest song on the project, featuring Drakeo the Ruler and fellow LA emcee SaySotheMac trading bars, warning opps and detailing life in the field over a bare bones, drum-stripped track.
The project, as a whole, sort of blends together in a one-long-song kind of way. The next four to six to twelve cuts are pretty much the same record, save a feature from Toronto emcee Pressa on Chrome Hearts and rising star slash Stinc Team member, Damon Elbert on No Apologies. Other than that there is not much to hear but a repetition of derivative, questionable bars and production schemes that feel like an endless maze of circular Logic (pun intended).
The Truth Hurts cannot be Drakeo the Rulers best work as a rapper or as an artist in general. The most accessible record, besides the lead single, which we’ll touch on in a second, has to be Dawn Toliver. It’s a swaggy, club banger of a tune, featuring Don Toliver and the late Ketchy the Great. Ketch appears a few times on the project posthumously, as he was the victim of a fatal car accident in February. Rest In Peace Jameon Davis, A.K.A. Ketchy the Great.
As mentioned, the clear frontrunner of The Truth Hurts has to be the lead single. Laced with the golden Drake feature, Talk To Me rocks a sizzling 11 million streams in about two months and is still going strong. In many ways, it feels like Drakeo secured the coveted Drake collab, then scrambled to produce an album to support it. Talk To Me is a solid, sultry record, but nothing to write home about, even for a song with Drake.
This project lacks. The production, which does improve around track 7, remains as simple as the rhyme schemes and bars throughout. Questions and set ups remain unanswered and unfulfilled, songs feel painfully incomplete and there seems to be only one genuinely composed record (featuring Drake). Even the energetic, quirky and downright fun banger Dawn Toliver seems rather garage band-ish.
All in all, The Truth Hurts is an offering you can honestly let someone else listen to for you. It’s ratchet and jarring and has a way of rubbing you the wrong way. Tracks like Pow Right In The Kisser and Tear The Club Up are repetitive to the edge of annoying and the whole project is just too, homogenous. Perhaps it’s time for Drakeo the Ruler to slow down a bit on releasing mixtape after mixtape and focus on crafting a healthier craft. The truth does hurt but luckily, music is subjective.
Stream The Truth Hurts below and follow Drakeo the Ruler on all music streaming and social media platforms.