With Such Trina-City… (video included)

| February 15, 2010 | 0 Comments

In 1998, Miami rapper Trick Daddy released a million-selling bouncy single, “Nann Nigga,” featuring a sexy voice. Her vocals usher in an assertive, semi-brash and aggressive female MC as his counterpart. Her laid back, sassy bars are a regenesis of Millie Jackson-esque laments about lavish things: expensive furs, designer clothes, gaudy jewelry, foreign cars, being the dominant half in a relationship, a fierce sexual bravado and of course – money. The single peaks at #3 on the Billboard Rap Singles Charts. Now 12 years later, the world has come to know; respect and love Katrina Laverne Taylor (aka Trina).

This particular Sunday Oct. 11, 2009, during BET Hip Hop Awards weekend, Atlanta’s Room Service Lounge, a Midtown-area restaurant primarily owned by Fabolous, along with Slip-N-Slide Records, host a press conference for the newly signed R&B quartet Jagged Edge, Trina’s new group, Pretty Money and of course, the baddest herself. It’s all eyes on her; cameras can’t stop flashing from the time she walks in. She comes with it: a hot pink long sleeved top off the shoulders, huge Chanel sunglasses, long curly hair with dark blond highlights, skinny denim and rainbow-hued rhinestone-drenched stilettos. The poor girl can’t even eat her chicken wings or drink her champagne. Damn!

Trina is composed. Not bad considering it’s a long-assed line of drooling media in anticipation. Of course by the time I get my opportunity, the publicist alerts me that I’m only allowed two questions. Trina, on the other hand, sits with one leg on the floor and sits on the other one. She’s very sweet: starting off each response with “baby” and ending with “Thank you baby!”

Trina plays the game to win. She works hard. She’s quite down to earth and knows her self-worth. Call her brash; cocky or uber confident – hell, call her whatever you want. Just don’t call her broke. As one of the first female Southern rappers to put a dent into the industry, she always plays hard ball: bringing her raw brand of sex appeal, lyricism, delivery and business ethics into a business that is not really that kind to its female participants.

It may only be two questions on my end, but I leave the conversation knowing that Trina is on top of her game. I hear what influences her style along with how she perceives the role of females in hip hop and the industry as a whole. I also hear from her latest discovery what it’s like working with your baddest along with what they anticipate to do musically in the future.

 

Five Star Chick – Featuring Trina

“She works hard; she really works hard. When it comes to her music and comes to her as a whole, [Trina] as a brand, she just does not play.”

Pretty Money, Miami’s Nisha Rockstar and Queens, NY’s An-G, can count on their mentor to protect all of her investments. Even in a musical climate that is constantly struggling to cash in on stifled album sales, especially in rap and hip hop, along with a sudden void of highly successful female rappers, Trina stays ahead of the curve.

It’s all sisterhood from jump: sort of a hip hop sorority. Trina’s discography runs off an impressive list of collaborating with countless female artists: Da Brat; Grammy Award winners Missy Elliott; Eve and singer Kelly Rowland. Now, Trina is setting her sites on developing the talent instead of simply being it. Pretty Money is in her footsteps. Their current mixtape, Stayin’ Pretty, fuses a hip hop flare with R&B and pop elements. “We do everything musically and touch every base,” An-G says.

As for Nisha, she knows that Pretty Money is in good company: a countless award nominee ranging from American Music Awards and MTV Video Music Awards to Soul Train Awards and BET/BET Hip Hop Awards. “What female do you know is doin’ this?” she says. “She’s bringin’ out two females. It’s all God first and foremost. He’s blessed us in the situation. We all love good music; that’s what brings us together. Once we get out and we get it poppin’, we gon’ be at it. We’re gonna be out, and we’re gonna matter to the world.”

Take heed: Trina is packin’ major heat; especially for the haters and the naysayers.

“I just feel like it’s just a lack of female unity,” she believes. “The unity as a whole, we’re buildin’ that mob. We’re buildin’ that back up again. I mean, you have Nicki Minaj in the game. You have me; you have a lot of artists that’s out here that’s comin’ out. I think that as much as we put faith into the records; the mixtapes and the albums that come back up and build, we need that one “Ladies’ Night” record. That “Ladies’ Night” record [Trina waves her hand] is just gon’ shut up all the haters and shut up all of the mouths in this.”

Second, she puts her trademark sassy sound on a pedestal. With four albums to her credit (her 2000 platinum debut Da Baddest Bitch; the 2002 gold sophomore effort Diamond Princess; the 2005 follow up gold LP Glamorest Life and the 2008 release Still Da Baddest) as well as a prolific stream of mixtapes (2007’s Rockstar Royalty; 2007’s Baddest Chick 2: Reloaded; 2009’s Who’s Bad; 2009’s Trick-or-Trina; 2009’s Miss. 305 and 2010’s Definition of a Million Dollar Girl), Miami’s own, Liberty City-raised homegirl is preparing to release her fifth studio album, Amazin’, slated for a May 4 release. The album’s first single, the minimalist, Minneapolis funky “Million Dollar Girl,” features Diddy and Keri Hilson. She’s also collaborated with Jagged Edge, on their hypnotic soulful single, “Tip of My Tongue (which samples The Art of Noise’s quiet storm classic “Moments In Love); features Gucci Mane and is produced by fellow Miami producer Mad Skrews.

The smile on her face this Sunday says it all; she’s not concerned about going under the radar like the majority of her female counterparts. “Honestly, I don’t know how we…I’m not a lost figure,” she says with her rainbow-studded stilettos under her thighs. “I’m makin’ records; I’m makin’ money so I actually feel like I’m relevant. I’m a state factor.”

Trina has other shit on her mind – like fashion. But what else could we expect from da baddest chick, right? Answer: a lot. The one-time real estate agent knows how to survey any land she makes a mark on: with a raw; unapologetic and sexy swagger that stands front and center. It’s beyond the recording studio and the various hip hop magazines covers she’s so wonderfully graced. The Diamond Princess is setting her sights on her new fragrance, Diamond Doll, and its accompanying clothing line, Pink Diamond Couture (featuring a custom tattoo with each pair). There’s also talk of a reality show in the works.

“I just do me,” she says. “I like what I like. I’m fly; I’m that girl. I’m a bad girl. I love style; I love happiness. I love beautiful things and beautiful people. That’s just who I am.”

And she gives back to the community. Her non-profit organization, The Diamond Doll Foundation, sets out to empower young females without stable parent homes. The Diamond Doll Foundation provides the young ladies with role models and the tools they need to become successful in life. It’s a power move that Trina knows suits her perfectly. “You know what?” she asks. “I’m so humble; I’m so laid back. I’m truly blessed; I’m very happy to be here.”

The ladies of Pretty Money concur; Trina is on top of her game.

 “You can just see from the women that’s been in the industry and that’s in the industry now, she’s still that one that’s been there from jump to now,” the girls say. “She’s workin’ with no problems and no situations. That’s Trina: still the baddest and still standing.”

For more information on Trina, log onto www.slipnslideworld.com. Fans can also log onto www.myspace.com/trinarockstarr; www.trina-online.com; www.trinaallaccess.blogspot.com or follow her at www.twitter.com/Trinarockstarr.

Photo courtesy of Derik G.

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Category: Feature, Latest Hip Hop News, Music, Special

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