Trina Talks Joining ‘Love & Hip Hop: Miami’ & Being a Label Boss
Trina’s reputation for being “da baddest” in the rap game hasn’t waned. With her sixth studio album, The One, due in February, she tapped her network (features will include her Slip-N-Slide partner-in-rhyme, Trick Daddy, as well as Dave East, Plies and Kelly Price among others) and assures that the project fits the evolution of Trina following fan favorites like 2000′s Da Baddest Bitch and 2002′s Diamond Princess.
This new chapter for Trina includes being a label boss (she’s signed artists to her Rockstarr Music Group roster), taking charge on her joint album with Trick Daddy and appearing on the VH1 reality juggernaut Love & Hip Hop: Miami. Before the season’s debut at the top of 2018 on January 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the Miami native brought TIDAL up to speed on her business endeavors and why she champions more women in hip-hop.
A couple of years ago, you were hesitant about doing a reality show. How did VH1 convince you this time?
We had a long conversation, back with [creator] Mona [Scott-Young] a couple of years ago, and I just wanted to make sure it was something I was really wanting to do. I watched the show for years, and some of it, I love. Some of it, I don’t really care for. But it’s all about entertaining. And I think for me, with my album and a platform, a record label with artists… the record industry is downsized so much when it comes to women getting signed, getting big deals, that backing and platform to showcase what you do. I think it was that step for me to… like it’s on TV, it’s every Monday, you can show your business, you can show the brands you’re involved in, you get to put your artists on and make people get to know who they are before they get to really come out so I just looked at it from that aspect and I decided to do it.
There’s a bunch of personalities, yourself included. This season has Trick Daddy, Gunplay and Amara La Negra. What do you think each character brings to the table?
I think everybody brings themselves to the table. Amara, she does her thing, she’s Latina, whole different side and fanbase. Trick is Trick, he’s for the hood and the people. Gunplay’s a cool guy, he’s wild and that’s the real part of Miami. Everybody with just their natural personalities makes it different because we all have a different aspect of how we live our lives, how we put out our music, how we hang out, who we hang out with and where we hang out at, and I think that’s gonna make it fun.
Was there a different side of Trina that this reality show allows the world to see?
I think probably more so just the business part of it. Fans kinda hear, and they know you’re doing certain things or they see you growing and building stuff. Well, they actually get to see you doing it hands-on, step by step, going to a meeting and you get to showcase that as opposed to buying a CD or buying an album or coming to the show. All you’re gonna see is music. I think with this, you get to see a different side.
What’s the status of your upcoming album, The One?
The album is complete but it’s been a little delayed because of clearances for a couple singles. We have that done now so the album has a release date of February 23rd. I’m excited about it, about the features that’s on the album. I’m just ready for the album to be out on the streets so fans can enjoy it, go on tour, make the whole thing and just ready for the next album.
Can you tease some of the features on this album?
I have Tory Lanez on this album. We did the first single, which was “Damn.” I have K. Michelle on the second single “If It Ain’t Me.” I have Dave East, 2 Chainz, Plies, Lil Boosie and Rico Love on the album. I also have a very personal record with Kelly Price. I have a couple more features on the album that haven’t been exposed yet.
When people think of Trina, they think of albums like Diamond Princess or Da Baddest Bitch. How would you say The One fits into your catalog?
I think it’s in the perfect place for it to be after Diamond Princess, Da Baddest Bitch, Glamorest Life, all that ends up with The One. I started from the bottom, now I’m here. I started this so many years ago. This is my sixth album. I’m the only female in the game that has six albums. I’m excited for that and just the growth of it. You’ll be able to tell it’s just raw, it’s vulnerable, it’s unapologetic, it’s me and it’s just the features, the songs and the choices I chose makes sense. When the fans hear it, they’ll understand.
What kind of different life experiences shaped this album?
Just like facts, growing and going through stuff and having to feel it. Or having to be off of a label and starting all over, and doing my label. And just being the difference of when you come out and you have this certain platform, and after that’s not there, you’re now trying to figure out how to make it to the next platform. And just the vulnerability. Just the growth of it, how stable I am, how confident I am and you can just tell with the type of records there are.
The music business can be a crazy place. How do you keep sane in all of it?
Most of the time, I’m not sane. [Laughs] I be just chilling. I’m a happy person. I do what I like to do. I spend time having fun. I try to stay away from all that industry blogging. I don’t have time for that. It’s too much. It’s a distraction to me, when you get caught up in what everybody have to say. You could kind of lose yourself in all of that. You start being doubtful. I don’t want to be like that so I just kinda eliminate that part. I may see something, block it out and keep it moving because you’re always gonna see something. The more you do, the more people are going to have something to say. I don’t care if it’s a hair out of place, someone will make a big deal out of it. When you get to understanding who you are and that you’re human and imperfect, stuff people say really don’t matter once you’re being true to yourself, and you know that you can stand up in your face and say what you got going on in your life and shit people say don’t phase you ‘cause you’re the only person who could tell your story.
It’s all about who you surround yourself with as well, like you’ve had a strong relationship with Trick Daddy. When can we expect the joint TNT album?
The TNT album is [dropping] next year. We recorded two records for the album. We’re just in a place where we’re trying to finish the album and find records that fit both of us. We’ve grown so much, grown together and apart, and I’ve been a lot more active than Trick in consistently putting out records and albums but with this project, we’re in the studio going over this type of beat, this type of production, this type of sound. We put out records that were a little bit more vulnerable and fun, party records. And then you’ll hear the people say they want the Trina and Trick “Nann” record and of course, we know people want that record so therefore, while we’re in the studio trying to create, we’re just trying to make the best records that can match it. And of course, there’s a lot of ego. I’m the boss of him, let’s be very clear. I’m more in charge, he’s gonna follow my lead. It’s just great ‘cause we friends, we agree to disagree, and we always come to whatever conclusion that’s gonna be the best solution for whatever it is.
Have any other female rappers approached you for advice given your legacy in hip-hop?
All the time. I get it from everybody. All the girls that come out. I just love the girls and see them come out and do their thing like start from the bottom. You came out, you was lookin’ cool now it’s your next stage and you glowed up, looking amazing like I love to see that. And it’s just one of those things. When I came into the game, that’s kind of how it was. There were so many women, girls you looked up to. There was Missy [Elliott], Eve, all these people. We was a little different but we stuck together. The new generation is a little separated. I think sometimes with women, it’s just emotion. We can be insecure sometimes so it’s not a lot of connection like that but it’s so many women [out right now]. Not even the ones that have big names, that you know about but I look on the internet, and I’m seeing new girls. Every time I turn around, it’s a new girl coming from some little area, some borough, they don’t have a name but they’re dope. I signed a couple of new artists and I was like, whoa, where you came from? You got Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, London, you got girls from all over the world. These are girls who don’t even have a deal but they got the internet on fire so when you look at that, that’s inspiring. It makes you keep pushing.
As a label boss, what do you look for in potential artists?
Somebody that’s consistent, hard-working and dedicated. You could be super talented but not have the drive to do this business. [If] it’s time to get up at 6 in the morning and do radio and you don’t wanna do it, this is not for you. You gotta have somebody that’s hungry. They have to have the passion. I don’t even wanna get up sometimes. I be going through it so when I’m looking at these artists. I want to make sure that you’re online, you’re aggressive, you’re branding, you’re being active with the fans, you’re doing something for me to want to be excited to want to bring you in my team. I don’t wanna just make you from the beginning and you’re not doing nothing, you’re lazy, you’re complacent, and you’re tryna ride off my wave. I want your wave to already be wavy. I respect you for that like you brought something to the table and that’ll help you eat from doing that.
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