New Orleans via Trinidad rapper Truth Universal has presided over a monthly underground hip-hop showcase for a decade — this weekend Truth and a roster of up-and-coming hip-hop artists celebrate Grassroots' landmark anniversary, 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Dragon's Den (435 Esplanade Ave.).
Truth Universal spits globally and politically conscious rhymes, full of clever, social-bombing wordplay. (Check out his spin on "I'm a Boss," turning the Rick Ross ode to luxury into an Occupy anthem.) The MC recently spoke with WWNO-FM, where he explains the "anger" in hip-hop: "These artforms are the artforms of oppressed people. ... Everybody can't speak, but these are the sentiments a lot of us have. It's going to be aggressive because that's the environment a lot of us are in, so you're going to get that aggression, and it's going to be directed in different ways. It may be destructive, it may be constructive — if you don't understand that, it may be disturbing, but that's the nature of hip-hop. To understand why it is the way it is, you have to study the experiences of the people."
Truth Universal says he wants his music to start a dialogue: "Think about it. Why was it said? Talk about it with someone else."