TobyMac says the journey through grief after losing his son in 2019 shaped the writing and music of his new album.
In 2019 the Christian rapper's oldest child, Truett, died from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 21. TobyMac was in Canada on a cross-country tour at the time, having performed in Winnipeg the evening that Truett died.
Life After Death, which drops today, captures the stages of grieving a child but also points to the hope that TobyMac, whose real name is Kevin McKeehan, has in his faith in Christ and future hope of being
"The pain and anguish was just killing us. I never thought I would ever have it together again," TobyMac recently told People magazine in an interview. "I want to write songs that resonate. It's amazing how many people have experienced loss and how a song just loves them well, wherever they are. I'm so grateful for that."
- WATCH: TobyMac releases song in memory of late son
- Community of Christian artists surround and support TobyMac after family tragedy
- TobyMac releases emotional statement following son's death
- 'Scars': The song TobyMac wrote for his son Truett
- TobyMac recalls memories of sister, one week after her passing
McKeehan tells the magazine that before his son died he felt in many ways that his family had a perfect life. He admits that since the death life has been "messy," saying that "it's not neat anymore."
That messiness means that he and his wife, Amanda, have worked hard on communicating with one another and as an entire family. They have family meetings in their living room at least once a week to discuss anything that they're going through.
"We just look each other in the eyes and talk about the hard things," he says. "That's been special to our family and needed… Truett was their hero, so it's hard. Do we all know that he made a mistake? Absolutely. We all know what happened. My kids are aware, but it doesn't tarnish the person that Truett is to any of us."
McKeehan also says that they are not afraid or shy to talk about their son's death and the faith that they cling to.
"We're not scared to talk about it. It's not a taboo subject. It's something beautiful. [We have] the faith to believe, is Truett laughing at this right now? Is he saying, 'Come on Dad, give him a break' when I'm hard on his little brother? All that has been really good for us," he says. "He's part of an ongoing conversation. We meet every year at the park across the street where we had his service, and we tell stories about him — things he had done or said or made us laugh or when he was a bad boy or when he was so kindhearted. We remember him all the time."