Tajah Russell wasn’t interested in trucks and dirt piles like most eight-year-old boys. The prolific entertainer knew he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Donald “DJ” Russell and pursue a rap career.
“DJ loved rap too, but he was a family man who had a vision to help his younger brother live out his dream,” said Donald Russell Sr., who serves as his son Tajah, “T-Real” Russell’s manager. “DJ was Taj’s number one fan and biggest supporter.”
At the age of 15, T-Real and long time friend Steven “Yung Moo” Stewart, started the singing group All About Business. The group, which also consisted of friend Quniton “Yung Q” Helvy, made waves in the tight-knit rap game. AAB opened for such rap stars as Project Pat, Afro Man, Sheek Louch, D Block and Jadakiss.
The group disbanded in 2012 as each member wanted to pursue solo music careers.
“I’ve known Moo since I was six years old and we’ve been doing shows for years,” said T-Real who resides in Brighton Heights.
T-Real’s world was turned upside down two years ago when DJ was suddenly taken away from his family.
Donald Russell Jr. was shot and killed on New Year’s Eve in 2011. The Bethel Park resident was only 23-years-old and had a wife and family.
“My brother’s death set me back, I lost myself,” said T-Real, 21. “It hurts me everyday and every second, but you put your faith in God and you keep going. I think my brother is proud that I continue with music.”
T-Real recently opened for fellow rap artist Tourquis Jeep on October 10 at Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar.
“I did a 30-minute set and I had about six dancers. I gave a show. It wasn’t just me rapping. I gave a show. My crowd is everyone. Anyone who likes good music can relate to my music,” said T-Real.
The message in T-Real’s music is simple: love, world peace and fun.
“We don’t hear enough stories of people who are out there working and going after their dreams,” said Donald Russell Sr. “I’m tremendously proud of Taj. He and his brother were very close and he uses the energy and love he had for his brother to go back on stage. DJ was married and had two children. He was a working man and didn’t take rap too seriously but he knew Taj had something special and DJ gave Taj confidence. Taj’s drive really stuck DJ. He was really impressed.”
T-Real will be performing another show at Altar Bar in December.
(For more information on T-Real or to listen to his socially-conscious music, visit his web site at www.T-Realnation.com.)
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