Truth Is

Categories: Local Music
truthmaze.jpg
Truthmaze (a.k.a. Truth Maze, a.k.a. B Fresh, a.k.a. IBM) has one of the longest-running careers in Minneapolis hip-hop. He beatboxed with the groundbreaking I.R.M. Crew in the mid-'80s, rapped with the Micranots in the early '90s, and has since played percussion or performed spoken-word with a number of bands (read more about him here, here, and here, or check out his pages at myspace and mnartists.org). Dubbed "the Afrika Bambaataa of Minneapolis," Truthmaze is one of the few MCs who could credibly rap, "North Side full-throttle/Mister Influence, I taught Aristotle," as he spits on his new, long-awaited solo debut, Expansions + Contractions (Psoems 1:1) (Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records). The album is a true event, combining the full range of his past live music and electro into a carnival of poetry, hard funk, and raw rap, with guests ranging from multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Ylvisaker to fellow ex-Micranot I Self Devine. I caught up with Truthmaze via cell phone in England.

CTG: What are you up to there?

Truthmaze: I'm outside of Leeds, exchanging and sharing with young poets here. I've done three performances so far, mostly [songs] from the album, with DJ Fundamentalist from Hecatomb. I went to the illest dub party. It was dub and drum-n-bass, and I got to meet LTJ Bukem's brother, King Chris. I'm recording down here with him and his partner.

CTG: A lot of old fans will be surprised to hear you as a real soul singer on this new album.

Truthmaze: Man, I can't sing. I'm just finding what feels really good and learning how to hold that as a note.

CTG: Is this your first straight-up rap music since 1993's Hoods Pack the Jam [the Micranots cassette]?

Truthmaze: I guess you could say that. But in certain circles, you could still hear me freestyling like it ain't nothing.

CTG: Since you moved to Atlanta and back in the mid-'90s, you've been kind of out of the spotlight. What have you been doing?

Truthmaze: Trying to keep my fucking sanity. I'm being real honest with you. I mean, the best way I can put it is, I've been doing a lot of different things because all these different genres is just a part of me. I decided a long time ago that I'm not going to be stuck with making what people want to call hip-hop.

CTG: Last question: Where and when were you born?

Truthmaze: I was born in Hennepin County Hospital, my brother. I don't want my birthday in there. Just put a question mark for my age. Either a question mark or an infinity symbol or a dolphin or something.

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