TruRebel Migs is the definition of an independent artist who’s here to break through into the mainstream light.
Born to a struggling single mother in the Bronx and raised in the Manhattan Amsterdam Public Housing apartments, the rising rapper comes from true humble beginnings… and he’s here to turn that pain into heartfelt music for his growing fanbase.
At 16-years-old, TruRebel Migs lost his father, which resulted in him turning over a new leaf, leaving the streets and focusing all of his energy into music, and perfecting his craft in the studio.
To date, each release embodies his talents as an MC. TruRebel Migs paints vivid pictures of his past as he navigates this thing called life.
Migs sees himself as a true artist, someone who dives deep and is in touch with all different types of emotions. He states, “Life is an emotional rollercoaster. There’s artists that have a particular sound or subject matter, they’re the go-to for one mood. I sit in my thoughts a lot so I can be happy, sad, angry, turnt up, in love, heartbroken. I’m really in tune with how I ‘m feeling all the time and I’m able to capture that and put that in my music.”
Most recently, his single “Yuh Mi Ongle Luva, Dem Nuh See I” hit over one million plays on SoundCloud alone, within the first month of its release. Additionally, he loves to ride motorbikes and heads his own brand TruRebels, a multi-purpose organization that delivers messages through music and fashion.
AllHipHop: You’ve been in LA for 5 years, how’s that been?
TruRebel Migs: It’s cool. It’s different. It’s a big city geographically, a lot of different types of areas. You got the mountains, you can go hiking, you got the city, you got the beaches. You got a little bit of everything.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite part?
TruRebel Migs: I go around LA a lot, all over the place. I ride motorcycles so I ride around all over. I like Koreatown, it’s more like New York City with the foot traffic, people being outside, restaurants being open late. There’s not a lot of foot traffic in LA, you have to drive everywhere.
AllHipHop: Growing up in NYC, what was a young TruRebel Migs like? I know you’re from the Bronx.
TruRebel Migs: I grew up in the Bronx in the early part of my life as a kid, then I moved to upper West Side Manhattan with my mother. Being in the city, the city is really fast. I was really observant. It’s diverse as well, you get a bit of everything. You see people who are successful. You can be in the hood. There’s artsy areas, different types of areas with different types of demographics of people. It’s really mixed. You learn how to adapt to it being so fast, deal with stress. The city’s so fast-paced, you stressed out. Everyone’s on one hundred all the time.
I was fortunate to travel all over the country as a teen. At 16 or 17, I started seeing different cities in the US. I noticed other cities are real segregated. The hood is the hood, and it’s the hood for miles. The rich area is the rich area. New York’s very different, it has these little pockets where you can walk 3 blocks in any different direction and see a different environment. You see a lot.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences growing up musically?
TruRebel Migs: Rap-wise, my #1 favorite rapper is Nas. He’s #1. Of course Hov, Biggie, Tupac. I listened to a lot of Mobb Deep when I was a kid. Cassidy with the freestyles, he’s with Swizz Beatz making all these mixtapes. He had a lot of crazy punchlines, there was a timeframe where I listened to him a lot. I listen to a lot of genres other than rap. I listen to Bob Marley. John Mayer, I touched on that a little bit. There’s a point when I was learning the guitar and I was watching his stuff.
I like Sade, she’s fire. Erykah Badu. I listen to a lot of ska – reggae: Beres Hammond,Sanchez, Sizzla Kalonji, The Abyssinian. I like diving deep into different genres. As far as rap, I’ve always liked lyricists. People who their pen game is real life cryptic, that type of vibe. I started off being lyrical. I listen to a lot of stuff now that a lot of people probably wouldn’t think I’m not into. I like Uzi, Future. I really like Travis Scott, that type of music too. I try to soak in everything. That explains why my music is all over the place, I was influenced by a lot.
AllHipHop: Your father passed when you were 16. How did that affect you?
TruRebel Migs: I never grew up with my father. He reached out to me before he went. Incidents like that bring families closer. I met a lot of people in my family I didn’t even know about. I figured out they lived in all different types of cities, so I started traveling all over the US visiting my sisters. That started my interest of getting out of New York.
AllHipHop: You got “Yuh Mi Ongle Luva, Dem Nuh See I” out now. Hitting a million on SoundCloud is huge. You’re doing everything independent, how did that feel?
TruRebel Migs: That’s Patois (Caribbean Broken English). Other than the music side, I’ve been lifting my own weight when it comes to putting my stuff out there. Running playlists, a whole bunch of different types of marketing. Putting my own blood, sweat, and tears into pushing the music. It’s crazy seeing a lot of people I don’t even know commenting on it. It solidifies that I’m doing something right. Not that I had any doubts in the first place, but it’s dope seeing that. Seeing how big the music industry is, I know I’m barely scratching the surface. It’s so much work I have to still do, I have to stay consistent and keep pushing. It’s dope, I connect with a lot of people online. For real.
AllHipHop: What inspired you to make a record like this?
TruRebel Migs: Trying to touch on those feelings. It’s hard to get vulnerable in that aspect with music. A lot of artists don’t do that. Especially rappers, unless it’s Drake. He’s great at getting vulnerable with his music. I wanted to try something different, a different feel. I felt so happy and liberated making that song. That’s the first song that I had with no curses at all. I didn’t even realize it until after I listened: “wow, I don’t have one curse on this song.” Making music like that with that feeling, it’s a whole different feeling than rapping. Touching on experimenting with singing and harmonizing. You can touch on some many feelings and vibes that you can’t even scratch at all with rapping and spitting bars.
To me, music is all about universal human experience too. I want that person in Madrid, Spain, London, or South Africa, these people living and walking all different types of walks of life to resonate with those feelings I was feeling. No matter if they’re growing up poor, wealthy, a life of struggles, old, young, man, woman, whatever, it’s a universal human experience. That goes into how I feel about myself being a true artist and tapping into these vibes I didn’t even know I had.
AllHipHop: Talk about growing your fanbase, you got 2K people tapped in now on IG Live.
TruRebel Migs: It’s dope. I understand marketing, there are so many different ways to market. I got a lot of help when it comes to social media. When you try to push your brand, you could go months with hitting a wall. You won’t find any information, but I’m so inquisitive and I like connecting dots. Once I find something and I break through that wall, it knocks down more walls, opens more doors, and more information gets discovered.
In this industry, other than political brushing shoulders, networking is important. Information and resources are really important. I try to be as inquisitive as possible and make sure I’m stocking up on resources so I can be a benefit to anyone I encounter. I may be able to give someone some information or help another artist figure out how to monetize certain platforms. I’m really inquisitive, I sit on the computer a lot. I’m a low-key nerd.
AllHipHop: What’s the #1 thing that works with you and your fanbase?
TruRebel Migs: #1 is the music, it has to connect. As long as I push it out, and put it in the pockets it’s supposed to be in. I have 10, 20 million fans out there, I have to figure out how to expose them to it. With finding information and resources, it becomes a little easier scaling the outreach. At the end of the day, this music business is a business. I’m a brand, I have to view myself as a brand on top of being an artist.
With being a brand in 2021, you have to scale your business. You have to be efficient of how you get your stuff out to the masses, everything will snowball from then. I’m trying to stay level-headed and focused. Keep my head down, keep pushing. Over time it will grow. #1 thing is the music, then everything else on top of that.
I like switching from artist mode to business mode. When you’re an artist recording or writing a song, you can’t think “oh, people will love this. This is going to sell a lot.” You gotta be an artist in that moment. Once the music is on wax, then you switch into that marketing mode.
AllHipHop: 3 things do you need in the studio? I know you don’t smoke anymore.
TruRebel Migs: Yeah, I try to cut down. I’m pretty simple, the basics: a pen, a pad, some water. I’m not a closed environment type of artist primarily, but I don’t like distractions, like parties. I’ve been in those environments with other artists. It’s dope seeing other artists, how quick they write. Working with other artists has forced me to write really fast. Trying to keep the quality of what I’m saying in the lyrics, and do it in a timely manner. That’s dope when collabing, but I’m pretty simple.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
TruRebel Migs: Growing as a brand, locking in my resources. I gotta brand before I expand. TruRebels is my extended label. Branding before expanding. Making sure your ducks are in a row as an artist before you start trying to expand, so your infrastructure can support everything. Even with having a label: registering, publishing, working with the PRO’s, finding different ways to monetarily exploit all these different forms of royalties.
That’s the #1 important thing to me when it comes to the business. You have to take care of yourself and make sure you’re getting paid. No one’s going to really do it for you. A lot of artists are blessed by linking up with people and creating a team so fast where they can delegate and have a lot of help. A lot of what I have been doing I have been doing myself. It’s a blessing because it kept me patient through the process and I’m learning so much.
When it comes to distribution, I have people I can call on the phone now for certain things. Reading distribution contracts, you find so much information when you actually read your contract. All that stuff is important right now, and I’m trying to expand on all of it. There’s so much beyond [inaudible] Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify. There’s so many different music platforms that I’m trying to become aware of. Licensing, mechanical licensing, that whole realm there’s so much information. I’m trying to soak all of that up.
AllHipHop: Anything you want the people to know?
TruRebel Migs: Check my stuff out: TruRebel Migs, I’m real easy to find. Tune in, it’s going to be a wave that’s going to come for sure in due time. Get ready for great music, dope music.