Feature Stories

Tru Def Threw a Boat Party and All We Got Was This Bud Light Music Video

Having parties on dry land can be so blasé. Especially when you live in a place like Texas, which, in case you didn't notice, tends to get hot. So when we heard the words "boat party" over the weekend, we were ready to sign up for whatever came next.

The catalyst was Dallas rapper Tru Def, who's been selected to appear in a new Bud Light commercial and decided it was time to throw a party. It was out on Lake Lewisville (Dallas, where your lakes at?) and 115 of us all boarded this great big red and yellow sailboat for a three-hour party.

Dallas has all sorts of unique music events, but putting it on a boat is another beast. In fact, it's not cheap, in case you were wondering. It cost $30 to hop on the boat, which got you a few drink tickets (but no free Bud Light, which seemed like a bit of an oversight). Still, the party was balling, thanks in large part to the work of Tru Def's crew, who provided plenty of free food. Whoever made that baked macaroni and cheese is a genius and the cranberry vodka was heavy-handed. We were even allowed to BYOB.

Perhaps they knew what they were doing, because this wasn't the first time Tru Def has held a boat party. He did so last year as well. But this one was different thanks to the Bud Light ad, which went up online in a short film version a couple weeks ago and has been viewed by over 400,000 people. For the filming of the commercial, Tru Def met Snoop Dogg and also performed one of his songs onstage with Lil Jon. Another cut of the commercial will be shown before films at Cinemark theaters through September.

Things were a little slow to get started. The boat was supposed to depart at 3 p.m., but that time came and went and the party people found themselves waiting at the local watering holes. It turns out the start time had been pushed back an hour, but most of us had missed the update — distracted, perhaps, by our pre-gaming. We just shrugged, grabbed drinks at a dirt-cheap bar, stared at the boat and got to know each other.
But in the end, things went off without a hitch, which is saying something when you invite Texans to a boat party. You want us to hold our liquor and be on a boat? Better get extra insurance. (Oh wait, that's what the waivers we signed were for.) It was a hot afternoon, too, and as it turns out, alcohol doesn't quell thirst. 

Right away there were DJs playing and we started drinking and eating. It was nice up front, but when the sun became a bit much you could go inside. Food and drink were on endless supply, and there were places to sit and take a break from the heat. There was a dance floor in front of the DJ. People were carefree enough to sing along to whatever was playing. It was that kind of crowd. Everyone who bought a ticket seemed to describe some deep, personal connection with Tru Def.

And then the man of the hour took to the mix. First we heard Tru Def telling people to have a good time, thanking everyone for coming, wishing happy birthday to some and giving others special thanks. He walked around talking to people the whole time. A smile is infectious and he's been able to capture that type of energy with his live shows. Tru Def is also great with both hooks and freestyle. After being overlooked for several months, his concept album, Crown, finally got the attention it deserved. Those are some catchy, inspirational tracks.

Tru Def’s lyrics are thoughtful and sometimes delivered with the intensity of a fistfight. You’ll find yourself backing up a track to be clear on what he said and because you like how he said it. This is a local release you want to listen to repeatedly, like $kaduf’s Groveside The Realest EP. Tru Def plans to release a follow-up album next spring.

We watched the video. But Tru Def also aired an unannounced music video for a short “Interlude” track from his next release. Then he performed some new material on the dance floor. After a short break, he got up on the roof and performed for the crowd. I should stress that this was no small feat. After getting too much of whatever we needed, many of us were holding on to whatever we could as we maneuvered around the boat.

When Tru Def got on the roof, the wind was harsh, the boat was rocking and it was too bright to look up at him. I don’t know why he went up there or how he didn’t fall in the water. But he definitely upped the ante, going from high-energy performances to stunt performance. It maybe wasn't debaucherous, as far as boat parties go, but it sure was entertaining.

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Jeremy Hallock