Emanuel Lee Lambert is a man of his word. To God, to his family and most of all to Hip Hop! As one of Christian Hip Hop’s most successful, celebrated and influential artists of this decade, Lambert, also known as DA Truth, has not arrived at this mountain top with ease. In fact it has been a road filled with trials, challenges and lessons that many a young temptation attracted male goes through in the passage of life. The difference is Lambert sought and received a different testimonial to the path his life was on and answered the call of his life’s purpose through Hip Hop.
With a legion of followers in his wake, DA Truth is like a modern day pied piper, spitting rhymes of truth and resolve through the vehicle of hip hop laden tracks that appeal to a broad age and cultural demographic. Having been a student of contemporary Christian music and receiving Christ in his heart and soul since a young age, his path of purpose was always destined for greatness. Developing his skill for freestyle rap, it eventually unearthed his true passion and he went on to co-found a Christian Hip Hop group called NIV, where his moniker was Truth ….and the rest as they say was history in the making.
For this Philadelphian born hip hop messiah his discography speaks volumes. With over 7 albums under his belt spanning from his 2004 debut Moment of Truth right up to his recent 2014 album Heartbeat, DA Truth has remained one of the most innovative, forthright, consistent and necessary artists in Christian Hip Hop to date. He is deliberate in his approach to delivering a message to all who listen to his music that love of self and love of mankind is key to overcoming the unnecessary evils in this world. To be armed with knowledge, respect and honest intent is how the youth of today will survive the perils. DA Truth only speaks from a place of learned experience. His music has been the recipient of Stellar Award for Rap / Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year in 2007 for album The Faith and then again in 2009 when he was nominated for Open Book in both Stellar and Grammy Award arenas. He has reached the #1 spot on the ITunes Christian Hip Hop Charts and #2 on the Billboard Gospel Charts and toured alongside legendary Kirk Franklin and made live and televised appearances at T.D Jakes Mega Fest Christian Music festival and a host of TV and concert dates consistently. DA Truth lives his purpose!
I am blessed to be granted a second interview with this multi-talented and inspiring artist whose music has had a lasting and positive effect on my life. Emmanuel Lambert’s journey is one many of us have travelled at some point or another at different intervals in our lives, but what makes his story intriguing are his tools of empowerment and salvation through Hip Hop. He is honest, passionate, humble and highly favoured in a career that continues to bless all who listen to his word, learn from his teachings and ultimately create their own testimonials in this game called life!
Thanks so much for your time Emanuel, I truly appreciate it. Blessed to say this is my second interview with you in a space of 10 years I believe – wow time has flown but it’s great to see your career and message is still going strong. To me DA Truth and his sound is hip hop on a higher level, gospel to some, Christian hip hop to others? How would you describe who DA Truth is and what your sound, style and hip hop really is?
Yes, time has indeed flown by and it is very good to talk with you once again. Thank you for the compliment. You’re absolutely right, as an artist I have evolved a great deal since my first album in 2004. In 2004-2006, artistically my focus was on being an M.C. I was focused primarily on what we call “bars”, I liked being known for being lyrical (which I still am) cause that’s what I come from. I was born and raised on the east coast where lyricism is what it was all about. However, overtime, some natural changes began to take shape in me where I found myself wanting to do more than just rap. During my concerts I began to notice that I was singing a lot more and doing worship songs. It may seem like a small thing but I also noticed that I didn’t want to just stand and hold a microphone but that I wanted to have a mic stand and the freedom to express myself in a charismatic way.
By the time I got to my 4th album in 2009 (The Big Picture), I knew that I was different and that I wanted to do something different with my craft. I no longer desired to just be lyrically impressive, I wanted to create an experience on my albums and on stage. I no longer desired to just rap over hip hop or trap music. I wanted to take all of my musical background (jazz, classical, gospel…) and experience and infuse it with Hip Hop. I wanted to push boundaries and take people on a musical journey. About 3 years ago, I fully embraced the fact that I am a Hybrid artist. I was both singing and rapping before Kanye and Drake (lol). I was rocking out before Lil Wayne (lol). This is what I’ve become and it’s not always easy because not everybody gets it but it’s who I am and I have to stay true to it. At this point, I am even slow to say I am a rapper because I don’t like to be boxed in, now I just say I am an artist.
You have been very open and honest in your various recordings about your past and the challenges and temptations you faced as a young black man growing up and have used your experiences to fuel your music career and calling today. What do you think have been some of the greatest challenges or lessons you faced then that have helped shape who you are today and serve as tools to help that shaping of your life’s calling?
The greatest challenge that I faced was facing the public after my failure. I went through a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know how people would look at me knowing that I had disappointed so many. There were many lessons learned but to name a few, I learned to guard my heart against spiritual apathy in seasons of success. When you are successful, it is very easy to go into cruise control and neglect the things that are most important i.e. family and God. I also learned to never presume that I am stronger than what I really am. The Apostle Paul said “Let not a man think he stand, lest he fall.” Sometimes success can cause you to forget that you are weak. Although the circumstances under which these lessons were learned was not ideal, I am grateful to God for giving me these valuable gems for life.
What are your thoughts on the world we live in today? Pretty broad question I know but I am intrigued by the insights that musicians and hip hop artists have and how they deal with it all on a day to day basis? How do you remain consistent in your messages of positivity when the world we live in is so negative at times?
The world we live in today is completely OUT OF CONTROL. Everybody does whatever they believe to be right in their own eyes with no regard for God. We live in a world where people think that they know better than God. We are in the days of Noah all over again. The hardest part for me is seeing how the world is pushing their agenda. Whether it’s Gay Marriage, Feminism or relativism, they are intent on using every possible outlet to force people to accept their views. Sit coms, award shows, commercials, music videos… are all the platforms that are employed to propagate godlessness in our cities, cultures, countries… It’s for this very reason that I stay God focused and positive in my message. Because the world we live in is so determined to perpetuate their agenda of hate, murder, insubordination, sexual sin, irreverence towards both God and man….through the medium of music, I am inspired to combat, fight and counter with the truth. I see myself as part of the solution to world’s ills. I believe that Jesus is working through myself and others to be his mouth, hands and feet and is ultimately the solution to problem of broken people in a broken world.
The music or artists you listen to that inspire you and your powerful contribution to the global community on a daily basis?
Lately I’ve been inspired by a lot of world music. In Hip hop I like what artist like J Cole and Kendrick are doing in that they are getting back to using Hip Hop to communicate. It’s not about turning up, it’s about turning down and listening again. Obviously, I DO NOT agree with all their content but I like how they are approaching the music and using it to say something.
Your discography is long but your testimony is longer. Looking back over the years you have been preaching Gods word through hip hop would you say that Christian / Gospel hip hop is still a secular sound or does it have its own movement and industry in which it cultivates its future artists? I have noticed a great number of new and young hip hop artists taking the path of Christian music and it’s great to see – would you agree?
CHH is definitely beginning to carve out its own lane. It is its own entity with a unique identity. Of course, it’s always good for artist to serve God with their craft, my prayer is always that they do it for the right reasons and not just because it’s hot right now.
Tell us what a day in the life of Da Truth consists of and how you make sure that you have lived purposefully every day?
Now that I am the CEO of Mixed Bag Next, my day consists of a lot of long meetings. I wear a lot of hats now so it’s meetings, studio sessions, recording, working with my artist, travel, and time with the family and video games.
What are you currently working on music wise and where can we find you and your music on social media?
I’m working on a new album called ‘It’s Complicated.’ You can find me at: @Truthonduty – that’s both InstaGram and Twitter.
What do you hope that those who listen to your music ultimately get from your message?
For me it’s always about people hearing God’s heart so whether the song is about money, sex, relationships… my end goal is to leave people with god’s perspective not my opinion.
For more information on Da Truth, his music and message visit:
Always Hip Hop