Christian rapper TobyMac (Toby McKeehan) released a song and video on Friday as a tribute to his son, Truett Foster McKeehan, who died in October from an accidental overdose of fentanyl and amphetamines.
Truett was pronounced dead after paramedics responded to a cardiac arrest call at a house on Harlin Drive in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday, October 23.
TobyMac titled his new song 21 Years, a reference to Truett’s age at the time he died.
TobyMac took to Twitter and Instagram on January 9 to post a statement about his son’s death and the song in his honor.
“21 years is a song I wrote about the recent passing of my firstborn son, Truett Foster McKeehan. I loved him with all my heart. Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it.”
TobyMac said writing 21 Years “felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning.”
— TobyMac (@tobymac) January 10, 2020
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“21 years” is a song I wrote about the recent passing of my firstborn son, Truett Foster McKeehan. I loved him with all my heart. Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it. I am thankful that I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to community near and far that have walked with us and carried us everyday. Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning. One thing I know is that I am not alone. God didn’t promise us a life of no pain or even tragic death, but He did promise He would never leave us or forsake us. And I’m holding dearly to that promise for my son as well as myself.
According to The Tennessean, the Grammy Award-winning Christian rapper sings in the chorus:
“Are you singin’ with the angels?/ Are you happy where you are?/ Well, until this show is over/ And you run into my arms/ God has you in Heaven/ But I have you in my heart.”
Truett was the eldest of TobyMac’s five children, according to NBC. He was following in the footsteps of his father as an aspiring rapper. He released songs under several names, including Truett Foster, TRU, truDog, and Shiloh.
TobyMac had released a heartfelt statement after Truett’s death in October. In the statement, he described his son as a “magnetic” young man with an “untamable grand personality and dreams to match.”
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Truett Foster Mckeehan had joy that took the room when he entered. He was a magnetic son and brother and friend. If you met him, you knew him, you remembered him. His smile, his laugh, the encouragement he offered with words or even without. He had an untamable grand personality and dreams to match. And he hated being put in a box. He expressed himself through the music he made. And by made I mean, written, recorded, produced, mixed, and designed the art. All of it. A true artist. His first show was a week ago, and it was nothing short of electric. Everyone felt it, everyone knew it. He could’ve easily taken the easy route and put music out when he was 12, 14, 16, even 18, but he always said he wanted to live some life and have something to say before he did it. He didn’t want to be a child star, he wanted to be a man with scars and a story to tell. I always admired, respected and encouraged that stand. Truett always had a soft spot for God. The Bible moved him. His heart was warm to the things of his King. He was by no means a cookie cutter Christian but give me a believer who fights to keep believing. Give me a broken man who recognizes his need for a Savior every time. That’s who Truett was and how he should be remembered. My last moment with Truett in person was at his first show this past Thursday at the Factory in Franklin, Tennessee. I had to leave the next morning very early to fly and start our Canadian tour. As I stood in the audience and watched my son bring joy to a room, I was as proud as a “pop” (as tru called me) could be. It was the culminating moment of a dream that he had since he was 12. It couldn’t have been sweeter. Our music, and what we say lyrically couldn’t be more different, but the outcome was much the same… offering a room full of people a few minutes of joy in a crazy world. Our last text exchange is shared above (swipe). My wife and I would want the world to know this… We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under-the-table deal with Him, like, we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.
TobyMac rose to fame as a member of the Christian group DC Talk in the late 1980s and 1990s. He started a solo career after the group broke up in 1999. He has released several solo albums, including Momentum, Welcome to Diverse City, Portable Sounds, This Is Not a Test, and The Elements.
He is a multiple Grammy Award-winner with several singles that hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart. He is best known for songs such as I Just Need You, Me Without You, Gone, Made to Love, and Lose My Soul.
In honor of Truett, TobyMac and his family launched the Truett Foster Foundation to raise education funds for underprivileged youths.
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