Independent D.C. rapper Cheyne Truitt will open for Kendrick Lamar at Rams Head Live Sept. 12. He released his six-track EP, “Firebreather,” July 27.
28-year-old Truitt, who was born in Ocean City Maryland and now lives in Washington D.C., has opened for popular artists such as J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Machine Gun Kelly, Waka Flocka Flame and Mac Miller.
Truitt began to make hip-hop music just three years ago, he said.
“Originally, the first record I made was kind of an experiment,” he said. “I put it up online and released it for fun. It got some pretty cool feedback and I got some show offers and I’m like, ‘Why not? That could be fun.’”
His music gradually progressed from a casual activity to a full-time commitment. He then began the cycle of completing a new record, releasing it online, and continuing to book as many shows as possible. Since then, he has released another album, and recently announced another EP to be released in Nov. or Dec., he said.
Truitt writes new music and tries to record frequently, he said.
“I’m set up at home to record, and I’m fortunate enough to be friends with some really awesome engineers and producers,” he said. “We have a good time recording so we find ourselves in the studio a lot, whether we’re just listening to new beats or we’re actually making a record.”
Truitt said that he puts the same enthusiasm into his shows and fan interactions as he experienced with live musicians when he was young.
“I remember what it was like when I was going to shows as a kid,” he said. “If I’m ever lucky enough to have fans as fanatic as I was about the music I went to see, I definitely want to make sure that they can meet me as long as I have the resources to do that and have enough time.”
Having played at venues with larger crowds, Truitt likes some aspects of both small and large venues, but would be happy performing for smaller crowds because of the higher level of crowd interaction.
As a child, Truitt was enthusiastic about hip-hop artists like the Wu-Tang Clang and the Notorious B.I.G., but found himself listening to rock music with his friends more than rap.
When he graduated from high school, he decided to forgo college to become a musician with his mother’s support.
At first he made music as a rock ‘n’ roll artist. After minimal success, he made a hip-hop album, remembering his mother’s advice to be persistent and work hard.
After rediscovering his passion for hip-hop and achieving success as a rapper, Truitt continues to make music in memory of his mother, who passed away in 2004. He said regrets that she can’t see the progress he has made, but tries to follow the example she set for him through her work ethic.
“My mom was really supportive and said, ‘If you want [music] to be what you do, you have to develop those skills, put 110% into it. It’s not just going to happen to you,’” he said.
Truitt said he continues making music not just for money, but for it to be appreciated.
“I enjoy seeing people respond positively to something I’ve made, just like a painter or a tattoo artist who want people to see and enjoy or hear and enjoy,” he said.