[The Master Craftsman (Wu-Element Interview Series # 8)]

Interview Date: 14th June 2010

Published Date: 21st July 2010

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader, The Reccollectah

In Conjunction With: WuTangCorp

Special thanks to True Master and Cilvaringz for making this happen.


As the saying goes "better late than never" or maybe it's "all good things come to those who wait"? Either way we ran a Wu-Element series a couple of months back, and the intention was to interview every Element that was involved in that movement from those that were there in the very beginning (The RZA, Inspectah Deck, True Master, 4th Disciple and Allah Mathematics) to those that came in between (Goldfinghaz, Choco, Darkim Be Allah) and the latest additions (Cilvaringz, Bronze Nazareth and Moongod). Wu-Tang wouldn't be the legacy it is today if not for these Elements, the ones that were on the background and instrumental to every quality album and hit records that the Wu were known for. The series was a success and highly applauded by fans as we managed to get almost everybody interview with exception to The RZA, True Master and 4th Disciple. Interestingly, very few wrote asking if we were lucky to get the RZA for an interview, probably as they assumed it was impossible as the man is so often busy but many wrote demanding, asking, begging and enquiring about True Master and 4th Disciple's interviews. Now these producers/artists are equally as busy as the Abbott but one thing was certain, it was not just difficult to get hold of them but it was certain the fans were requesting for two of their favourite producers within the Elements. Read the interviews and comments, even Deck, Cilvaringz and Mathematics have all hinted that their favourite producers were either True or 4th Disciple.

For those who are not  fully in tune with the "Master" and his work, he was the one responsible for hits such as "Brooklyn Zu","Heaterz", "Fish" and and so on, some might not have recognised him tearing up the microphone on tracks with Gravediggaz, Sunz of Man, Royal Fam and lately on GZA's Pro Tools and Afro Samurai soundtrack.  True derives his rap nom de plume from the martial arts movies of the same name, and was initially known to have started off as an associate of the great late Guru from Gangstarr (he made a rare rapping appearance on Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2 project and his only released solo track ever, "Who's The Truest" appeared on a Guru  CD which also included "Hi-Energy", a song he produced for Fabidden). True Master joined up with the Wu-Tang and was mentored by RZA before gradually increasing his profile with standout tracks on Wu-Tang Clan and affiliate albums becoming extremely prolific and crucial member of the Wu-Tang production team to date and much like Mathematics, he has generally adhered to the traditional Wu-Tang sound, while the group's original main producer RZA ventured into cleaner, "Digital" territory with a limited use of samples and the inclusion of synthesizers and live instrumentation. A very versatile and innovative producer, True has created hits for those outside the Wu circle as well as such as Afu-ra, Black Rob and so on and he is currently working on his debut album "Master Craftsman" as well as recently joining forces with another master (BlastMaster that is) KRS-One to collaborate on  a full album "Meta-Historical" expected sometime in August. 

In midst of his busy schedule and with a little patience from us and the fans, True Master  finally came "Tru" with the interview answers, as the master talks about his upcoming projects, emceeing, producing, uncredited works, Gangstarr foundation and much more. Wu-International in conjunction with WuTangCorp proudly presents  the long awaited, highly anticipated and possibly the last in our Wu-Element series of interviews "True Master's interview, Enjoy...

I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: Peace True, how are you?
True Master: Peace I'm good, thanks.

Wu-International: Everyone that visits this site pretty much knows who you are, so we are going to dive right into the questions, what is the current situation with your solo album “The Master Craftsman”?
True Master: 
Yea I know it's been a long time coming, however it will be banging. It will be out this fall.

Wu-International:  More on this album please, will Master Craftsman showcase your skills as an MC and producer or just as a producer with featured guests?
True Master:  Both but mostly producing. I'm working on an MC project for early next year though.

Wu-International: Please share with us some of the featured guests on the album and likely release date for the album if any?
True Master: Rae, Ghost, Deck, Rza, Masta Killa, Cappa, U-God.

Wu-International: Thanks, another project in work is your collaboration with the legendary KRS-One on Meta Historical, how is that going and how far from completion is it?
True Master:  That is definitely gonna be a classic, for me it is anyway. It's finished and will be released late August 2010.

Wu-International: Looking forward to it, will you as well as other guests be sharing mic duties with KRS?
True Master:
  Yes, its got Rza, Cappa, and Myself.

Wu-International: How did you meet KRS-One and what sparked this collabo?
True Master:
 I met him many years ago, but Hakeem from Channel Live hooked us up for this joint. I've always been a big fan of Krs, I'm even a bigger fan now.

Wu-International: How different would you say it is making beats specifically for KRS-One as opposed to say your Wu brethrens?
True Master:  My foundation is as an MC, so that's what allows me to feel what beats would sound better with this MC or that MC. As a fan of KRS, its great to be able to choose joints I thought would complement his style, I did give him a lil Wu flavour though.

Wu-International: We look forward to this project, if you were to produce an entire album for any member of the Clan, who would you choose and why?
True Master:
That is hard to say because I enjoy working with them all. Each member brings something that's essential to the table. I will be happy to produce an entire album for anyone of them.

Wu-International: Let’s switch it around since you are equally an MC: If you were to release an album as an MC only and was to get one of the Wu-elements to fully produce it , who would you want to produce it and why?
True Master: That would be between 4th and Math, I love them both, but I haven't heard 4th in a while and I know he's sitting on some heat, so I might go with him.

Wu-International: Thanks, Raekwon leaked a song “Olympus” that was supposed to be on his OB4CL part 2 that was apparently produced by you but never got released, was this song for your project or Rae’s?
True Master: That's actually a song for my album that I leaked and people thought it was for OB4CL part 2.

Wu-International: That song is dope, how do you go around producing for a particular artist? Do you for instance make beats with an artist in mind or do the artists hear what you have and pick which ones they like, or do they tell you concepts, samples and you work on it etc?
True Master:
Mostly I make them with an artist in mind, but I do also play a variety of beats for them to choose from as well as working on concepts that they may have. I'm open.

Wu-International: Fans openly debate on our forums that you actually produced “Long Kiss Goodnight” by the late Notorious B.I.G., but was credited to the RZA as he was more of a well known producer with greater commercial appeal, is this true and how do you feel about this?

True Master:  No I didn't produce that song, however Rza's name has ended up on some my production, as mine has ended up on some of his. Mistakes happen, no big deal.

Wu-International: OK, would you like to share some of those songs with the fans please?

True Master:  Well most recently on OBCL part 2, I also produced Fat Lady Sings but didn't get the proper credit for that, and on Gza's Pro Tools I produced Paper Plates(50 Cent diss) and didn't get credit for that as well. Shit happens, I don't stress it though, on the flip side I have gotten credit for joints I didn't produce too.

Wu-International:  Thanks for sharing that info with us, which songs out of your catalogue would you say you are most proud of and why?
True Master: I have a love for all my work because I'm a passionate person and I pour my heart into everything I make. So when I listen I almost can't believe I made it. I'd say I am a little extra proud of beats that get recycled and become even bigger successes the second or third time around like Brooklyn Zoo, or Ya'll Been Warned.

Wu-International: You were seen on a DVD put out by Cappadonna where you said “The Pillage” album meant a lot to you as it was the first album you had a lot of input on, can you expand on that please?
True Master: I
t was the first album that I produced most of the material on, so it's special to me. Its success or failure depended a lot on me so my reputation was on the line also. It was the first Wu album that Rza didn't do most of the production on, and it did pretty well.

Wu-International: Sequels are currently a trend in the music industry right now and Donna recently hinted doing a Pillage part 2, are you aware of this and have you being approached to add on?
True Master:
 Most definitely I'm aware and yes Cap asked for some joints.

Wu-International:  How would your approach to Pillage 2 differ from the first one? Or rather how would you say you have grown as a producer since you first started?
True Master: 
Hey if it ain't broke don't fix it. My formula will have slight modifications but Cap and I have good chemistry. I have grown a lot since the first one so I will be doing the engineering, mixing and editing myself.

Wu-International: Can you please take us through your whole creative process as far as making beats go, how does a piece start for you and when do you know the beat is complete?
True Master: Most of the time I'll hear a sound or something that inspires me and then I'll start making drums for it, then I just feel around it until it sounds right, feels right. You know it's complete when you don't feel the need to add anything else, it's a delicate process involving intuition.

Wu-International: It is never clear if you sample or not? If you do, how do you go about choosing various samples or sound bites or clips from the sources you use for each song?
True Master:
I do use samples but I don't loop beats a lot. I like to chop chop chop, slice and dice and create something completely new, its better for your publishing when you do that too. I don't just use records, I have used sounds from movies, games, whatever speaks to me, I use.

Wu-International: What determines if a song you have produced might need post productions?
True Master:
 I don't usually do post production, if any is done its mostly after vocals have been laid and I feel the need for more accents.

Wu-International: Can you please share with us as I have no clue what the real difference is as far as production, arrangement and mixing songs go?
True Master:
 Production is the actual making of a beat, usually done by yourself at your own pace. Arrangement is how one highlights lyrics once they have been laid down. Mixing often goes hand in hand with arrangement, however it can mean specifically adjustment of levels (volume) and equalization (e-q).

Wu-International: Thanks, Deck has hailed you as a unique producer who does things his own way to make his own sound, how do you view your self in that regards? What kind of producer would you say you are?
True Master:
 Thanks Deck, I do feel that my production is different, I don't mind going the extra mile to get exactly what I want, some of my beats that sound simple are painstakingly detailed.

Wu-International: Computer vs. Machine? As a producer what do you prefer using, software (e.g Pro tools) or machines (e.g ASR-10)
True Master: I guess when it comes to that, I'm just an old fashioned kinda guy, don't get me wrong I love Pro tools but I'm "IN LOVE" with my baby (EPS 16plus).

Wu-International: We ask this as you were recently seen on a video with The RZA talking about an iPhone application for making beats, how would you say music technology has come a long way since you first started and is this particularly a good thing especially as everyone these days with a computer tag themselves as producers without understanding the basics?
True Master:  Technology is moving like a mile a minute, not only is everything faster but portable as well which I think is a good thing, in another 10 years you might have a fully equipped recording studio with outboard gear in your back pocket. I'm happy to see people being creative, even if they wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't made so simple.

Wu-International:  As an MC, what would you say comes first for you, the lyrics or the music?
True Master:  It all depends, sometimes you might get inspired from something you read or hear and you'll get a few bars like that without any music, but mostly for me music can serve as the perfect canvas or backdrop and then lyrics can be tailored specially for the beat.

Wu-International: You spit heavy darts too, love your features on GZA’s Pro Tools and Afro Samurai, which would you say is more you or you prefer over the other; emceeing or producing?
True Master:  Hey that's hard to say they go together like cake and ice cream.

Wu-International:  Thanks, lets take it back to for a minute, we learnt that you were initially part of the Gangstarr Foundation under Guru before joining Wu, how did you get down with Gangstarr?
True Master: 
Yes, Guru is a long time friend also but I knew the Gods longer, Guru did help release my first record, "Who's the Truest" though we met through mutual friends in East New York.

Wu-International: Guru (RIP) and DJ Premier are legends in their own rights, what was it like working with Guru and what would you say you learnt from both of them?

True Master: Guru was a cool brotha, he looked out for a lot of cats from the hood, Premier is my man too and we've shared a few production jewels, but Guru and I were real tight.

Wu-International: We assume you might have heard of Guru’s supposedly passing letter to Primo and Solar, what’s your thoughts on all of this?

True Master: I don't know the details of what was going on between Guru and Primo and I don't know Solar that well, so I'll stay out of that, however Primo will attest to the fact that while a lot of cats have tried to instigate deception amongst him and Guru, I have always tried to keep them from forgetting their foundation which is based on brotherhood.  

Wu-International: So how did you get down with Wu-Tang?

True Master: I knew Rza, Gza and Dirty, long before Wu was even formed, we all were Gods persuing our careers so it was natural.

Wu-International: What would you say you have learnt from The RZA as part of the Elements if any or from others such as Mathematics, 4th Disciple etc for that matter?
True Master:  I was making beats before I met Rza, but I only had the old Sk4 or I would use the SP1200 at the studio, after I met Rza I would go to his house and make beats on his machine, which he did teach me how to use and later sold to me. We shared many trade secrets over the years, regarding drums, samples, synth sounds, you name it. 4th and Math too. Math is the youngest as far as production goes, so he's probably learned more from all of us.

Wu-International:  Ok, so what did they learn from you?
True Master:  Hey as I said we've shared jewels on just about everything concerning beats, all a brother gotta do is say "Yo God what did you use on that beat or how did u do that?".

Wu-International: Thanks, fans occasionally debate who the best producers in the game are and within the Wu fans, you always come up tops, how does this make you feel?
True Master: Thanks, it makes me feel good to know that my work is appreciated, I do put my heart into it, Wu is like a family so we all contribute for the betterment of the whole while inspiring one another.

Wu-International:  So anything else you are working on that you might want to share with the fans such as side projects, movies, mixtape, etc?
True Master:  I'm working on an album for myself, as well as an instrumental album and a few mixtapes.

Wu-International: As always we look forward to that, thanks again for your time, any last words, advice to new comers in the game, shout outs, greetings etc?
True Master: Thank you as well Wu-Int, to the new comers... work hard! You get out what you put in, Peace to the Gods and Earths, Man Woman and Child and All the human families of the planet Earth.

 Thanks for your time and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
Special thanks to Cilvaringz for making this a possibility.

Keep up to date with True Master

Related Interviews: Wu-Elements Series
#1 [Moongod Allah] - The Dutch Master Interview
#2 [Cilvaringz] - Inside The Mental Chambers Interview
#3 [Inspectah Deck] - The Manifesto Of A Rebel Interview
#4 [Mathematics] - The Math Files Interview
#5 [Goldfingaz] - Gold Tha Deal Maker Interview
#6 [Bronze Nazareth] - Half Entity Interview
#7 [Darkim Be Allah] - King Christ Interview
#8 [True Master] - The Master Craftsman Interview
#9 [4th Disciple] - The Definiation Of Chromasywnd Interview

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