What’s beef ? B.I.G. might have described it best, but Tru Life knows it just as well. Known probably more for altercations with New York Giants Prodigy and Cam’ron than his equally formidable mic skills, the Lower East Side MC has garnered a reputation for being a loose cannon even before ever releasing an album. Now after a one-year hiatus from the game, the Rocafella upstart has broken his silence after XXL put the rhyme sayer on a milk carton in a recent issue. In this two-part feature, Tru Life goes in on everything from where he’s been, choosing between Dame and Jay, fatherhood, former beefs, his highly anticipated album and more.

XXLMag.com: Alright, first I saw the Youtube video you posted in response to XXL putting you on the “missing” milk carton. How did you find out and feel about that ?

Tru Life: My brother called me, I think he was more upset than I was. We laughed about it. To be honest I had just took a little break. I didn’t feel like I was missing, I felt like the game was missing me. They just letting me know that they missing me right now. I didn’t really take it no other way, it wasn’t a big deal to me. The weird part to me was, it wasn’t like I’m an artist who had an album out or I been in the game fifty years or something like that. Niggas made it seem like I was Nature or somebody like that that’s been gone for years. I only been gone for a year. But it wasn’t like I was mad at XXL. I even heard they playing the footage on the radio, trying to say I was going hard on XXL. I wasn’t going hard, I’m just a marketing genius and know how to flip things in my favor.

XXL: I heard you say in the video that you were in a suite that was 15K a night. You’ve obviously been laying low, where have you been ?

Tru: Honestly, I been doing the Daddy Daycare thing. In the crib running around with my two little short mans and all that. Taking my sons to boxing classes, karate classes, cub scouts, doing regular father shit. I took a break too because I had to find new inspiration to do this. When you’re not inspired to do music, then you force music. When you force music, then it comes out wack. So it wasn’t like I was on the shelf or like Jay-Z wasn’t fucking with me. Jay and them niggas breathing down my neck trying to get me out like ‘come on, lets do this.' I had the streets on fire, had everybody in the game fucking with me from 50 [Cent] to Jada to everybody. I wasn’t inspired so I just fell back. I don’t know if people thought [the video] was staged like I asked somebody to let me pose with some money….I had to let niggas know I ain’t starving. I own three houses and all of them are paid for. I’ve been able to do good business and make smart decisions without even putting out a record.

XXL: So are you still uninspired to do music ?

Tru: Nah, I’m so inspired. Because when people doubt me, that’s when I’m at my best. I’m back. I just got in the trenches but I’m into quality, not quantity. I don’t care about throwing out a million records. Niggas is like ‘oh, so and so’s feeding the streets, they got a thousand mixtapes out.' Yea, that’s a thousand mixtapes of trash my nigga. That’s microwave music. Niggas just throw it in there real quick, it aint even done yet. They eating that shit raw. Mine is in the oven, so when I pull it out, its like Thanksgiving dinner.

XXL: So with that being said, when can fans expect to finally hear that proper Tru Life debut LP ?

Tru: It’s coming. It’s been long awaited and long hated and now I just had to update it. Shout to the homie Nas, I got him on the album, I got Jay-Z on the album, I got Snoop. I got all the living legends on there. I’m just taking my time. Look how long Dre been taking…look how long that nigga Detox album is taking to come out. Niggas ain't throw him on that milk carton did they? [laughs]. It’d be different if I was in a different era. Picture me coming out when you can go in the studio and you just copped the Wu-Tang album and the Biggie album and the Chronic album is out and Doggystyle. Where there were classics out and everybody was being competitive. That makes you wanna rap. Now look what I got to come out to. I don’t wanna throw nobody names out there but…when you go against what’s out there now, [it] make you not even wanna do this shit.

XXL: You say hip-hop in general but you hinted at New York hip-hop specifically having continued to be on the decline. Why ?

Tru: Like, I was on bringing that New York sound back but you can’t bring that old sound back, shit is dated. It's played out. A lot of the producers in New York, it's like they lost they swagger. They would give me beats and it sounded like Lil Jon CD’s. I got a joint called “New York City” that Just Blaze did with everybody repping they borough. It's me repping Manhattan, Fat Joe repping the Bronx, Fab repping Brooklyn, Nas repping Queens and Ghostface repping Staten Island. I’m trying to change the game. Like, my next shit that I put out, whether it’s a mixtape or whatever, it's going to be very visual. Like, I’m going to have a visual for every song and if you’re in the car or something you can turn it over and listen to the records. You know how you be like ‘this my shit’ and you wish they did a video for that record but they never do ? That’s the type of shit I’m putting out. -Anthony Roberts

Make sure to tune in for Tru Hollywood Stories Pt.2 this Wednesday (01/07/09).