In an age where rap is synonymous with foul-mouthed, gun-toting misogynists catering to the grossest of stereotypes, there is at least one rap artist who wants to make his name a respectable one. True Love born Terrence Reed's rap will be truer to rap's original "for real" roots. As they should be if you recognize the fact that True started droppin' rhymes when the art form of rap was in its infancy. When he was around 14, he'd visit his aunt in Bedford Styvuesant during the summer. That's where he first heard people rapping in public. Before then, he'd just heard rap on records. When the Trenton, NJ, native returned home, he studied rap and began coming up with his own rhymes. His reputation grew fast and he was in demand for house parties and block parties. True honed his craft by entering (and winning) talent shows and getting in front of an audience as much as he could. He also performed at skating rinks and opened for various rappers that appeared at concerts put on by local promoters in the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania tri-state area.
After winning one talent show contest, someone suggested that True hook up with bassist Raymond Earl of Instant Funk. The seminal rhythm unit can be heard on recordings of Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International Records and dance label pioneer Salsoul Records. The group had a 1979 million-seller with "I Got My Mind Made Up." It seems that this collaboration was kismet because Earl, as a member of Instant Funk, backed the vocal group the TNJs of which True's father was a member.
The demos led to a deal with Jerry Roebuck's Harlem International Records and the release of "True Love Ballad." The record received late-night airplay on radio stations in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York area. Roebuck got the record in the hands of the people at Critique Records. Released by Critique through a distribution agreement with Atlantic Records, "True Love Ballad" broke Billboard's R&B Top 30. A real feat considering that back in the mid-'80s, rap records weren't mainstays on R&B radio playlists. Also it accomplished this without having a supporting music video. This success led to an album, Bustin' Out (with a same-named single musically based around Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers' go-go classic "Bustin' Loose") and a cross-country promotional tour of college and commercial radio stations and retail stores. Articles on True Love appeared in Word Up, Right On, Fresh, (BRE) Black Radio Exclusive, and The Source. The follow-up single was "I Ain't With It." The album also had some overseas success.
Not long after, Critique and Atlantic parted ways and True was without a record deal. While working a regular nine to five, True Love continues to cut demos.