You can’t have a conversation about women in hip hop without mentioning Trina. Hailing from Miami, the East Coast spitter will forever go down in history as one of the most influential female rappers to enter the game, which makes sense given our recent celebration watching Trina battle against Eve in the worldwide phenomenon known as Verzuz.
Exploding onto the scene with her 1998 smash hit, “Nann,” featuring good friend and collaborator Trick Daddy, Trina has been consistently blessing her fans with incredible bodies of work for over two decades including Da Baddest Bitch released in 2000, Diamond Princess released in 2002, and Amazin released in 2010 — all of which charted Top 10.
Carrying the monikers of Da Baddest Bitch and Diamond Princess speaks for itself, but Trina remains humble down to the core. The opportunity to do the VERZUZ at Club LIV in Miami where she previously shot the “Nann” music video proved to be a complete full-circle moment.
Most recently, the artist released her newest single titled “Receipts,” a banger that speaks volumes to where she is in her career and personal life. REVOLT caught up with Trina virtually, who was at the airport headed to Missy Elliott’s surprise birthday party. Read below as we discuss her relationship with Elliott, her Verzuz with Eve, and much more!
How does it feel to be friends with Missy [Elliott] after all these years?
Oh man, she’s a legend. Iconic. She’s always the go-to person when it comes to good advice, stuff about the music industry, stuff you need to know when it comes to business. She’s more on the business-oriented side. Since I first started, she’s taught me how to make sure I get all my royalties and mechanicals, important stuff like that. She really put me on. She’s a motherly person. Always trying to give advice: “Don’t do this, don’t drink too many drinks.” She’s one of them people, but it’s a blessing to be friends with her, a legend who’s been in the game so long and has created so many beautiful records. She’s done so much for the culture so I’m happy for that, and blessed.
So are you! How are you feeling fresh off the heels of Verzuz with Eve?
I feel great man. When I first got the call to do it, there’s a lot of tension. I wasn’t hearing it a lot because I wasn’t on the internet, but I got on one day and saw, “Oh, she’s doing Verzuz. She don’t got 20 records. She this, she that.” Oh my God, I had got scared. I logged off the internet and said, “Wait, let me make sure. Let me go remind these people — the new today that probably don’t know what’s going on.” I had to step back for a second. Okay, it’s me and Eve. How are we going to make this as organic as possible? Eve’s a great friend of mine. I’ve been knowing Eve, Eve and I came up at the same time. So how do we do this? It’s the ultimate respect. We’re super excited. We wanted to celebrate each other and have fun. It wasn’t until the day of the Verzuz, I was terrified. I said, “Oh no, I’m not doing it!” (laughs)
Mind you, it wasn’t until the day of that I got the call that Eve wasn’t going to be able to make it to Miami. Something happened with her camp, so she had to stay… Alright, now we gotta make it good for her. We gotta make her feel comfortable, and we gotta keep it on the time spot because it’ll be 1:00 am where she’s at. We party party, but she’s about to fall asleep so we tried to keep it organic.
Looking back, did you feel 20 songs was still a lot or it wasn’t enough?
That was not enough! We were ready for more. I didn’t even realize it went that fast. I didn’t even do the songs my fans really wanted me to do. They started sending their list, I said “Whoa, we can’t do all these songs.” It was a good thing to have to choose, laugh and rehearse like “Oh, we got way more records than this.”
You said you were nervous. How did it compare to an actual performance or show?
That’s why I was nervous because I’m so used to seeing like… people are sitting down. When I got there, they said, “You got to perform.” Perform? Oh my God, okay (laughs). Now, I can play more of a concert feel — more for the fans. Everyone’s standing up in the crowd like a concert so it felt like that, opposed to sitting there in the chair. I’m playing records that I love, so I had to dance and do my little 1, 2 step off the record. These are the records I love when we was coming up.
It’s a full-circle moment to participate in Verzuz from LIV where the video “Nann” video was shot. How did that feel?
That’s what I meant when I said I was nervous because it looks so different… It was bigger, it was remodeled. Whoa, this is crazy. They set it up like it was a big performance, and I wasn’t expecting that. I’m thinking we’ll be sitting on our little chairs side by side with our Ciroc, but we’re in concert mode. The club looked amazing. We haven’t been in the space since the whole pandemic… I was honored and happy to see it all remodeled and refreshed.
What did it mean to bring Trick Daddy out?
That was good to bring him out, I didn’t know he was coming for real. That was a surprise, they didn’t tell me until the end. At the end was when I seen him pop out, that’s one of the last songs I was gonna do. I was really not set to bring out guests because I knew Eve’s in London and she didn’t really have guests. I was trying to keep it organic. I brought the dancers out for “Pull Over” because that’s a Miami thing. You gotta have dancers dancing. We in the same building, we in Miami. We in the place we shot the video. It’s only right.
Fondest memories from the “Nann” video shoot? That’s iconic.
I don’t know if people remember but it was scene in the video where we’re looking like we had paint over us. In that part, that was glow-in-the-dark body paint. In that scene, it was a tiger trapped up in this cage. Because the thing started glowing in the dark, the tiger’s going crazy in the video. I was terrified: “Oh my God, get me outta this cage with this tiger!” I was screaming.
Once he said action, he turned the lights off and the stuff on my face started… the tiger was growling. Oh my God, we about to get ate up by a tiger in this video. One of the most craziest moments because it took us three hours to get this one scene. I said, “Take this scene out, it’s not that important! My face painted, you don’t even know it’s us. This tiger‘s going crazy, he don’t want to be in here. He’s not feeling the vibe.” That was a hell of a moment (laughs).
Do you remember when you first heard your song on the radio?
Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. Mind you, this is “Nann” I first heard on the radio. It was the clean version, so everything was beeped out… You didn’t know what I was saying because the song was so dirty. When I first heard it, “I can’t believe this on the radio!” It went from every time I got in the car, it’s on the radio… It was a good feeling.
After that moment, were you ever conscious about making explicit music?
For sure! I was conscious anyway because I’m from Miami. Miami’s very raw, it is how it is. I’m from a city where we keep it real. When I did the record, I said, “I don’t want all my records to be like this. I want to make different records.” I like melodic. I like romance records, slow music, very wine and dine fun. I was always in the studio trying to make them records, the label would say, “You’re not R&B! Stop making them slow love records, we need to hear club bangers. We need to hear this.” Ugh, I’d always have to fight to mix it in. I was supposed to have an R&B album if you ask me (laughs). It was so slow. I’d always go back and forth about that, but it always worked out in my favor.
“Receipts” is out now. What were you going through recording this one?
I worked on that record right when we started the pandemic in the studio with Hitmaka. We had just came out a little bit, he said, “Come to the studio, let’s work.” We’d never worked before, he was always trying to work with me. This was a time I said, “Okay, we stepping out. We haven’t been out, we opened a little bit.” When I entered the studio, his energy was unmatched. Great energy, it motivated me. I recorded four records within this one night — less than 24 hours with him. That’s how energetic he was and how happy I was to be out. That’s how “Receipts” came about. I was waiting until we got back open, things got back to normal before I put it out.
You sampled Trick Daddy’s “Can’t Fuck With the South” in the song, right?
Yeah, it was a little sample. That came from them, the producers. When I heard it, “Oh Lord. We about to get that call from Ted Lucas at Slip-n-Slide Records, believe that.” But. he heard it and he was okay with it (laughs).
What keeps you so humble?
I have good energy. I’m a down, real person. I don’t have no insecurity, I like to laugh and live. Life is short. You don’t realize that until you start losing people, you start seeing stuff that makes you have a different focus. How long you gonna be around here, nothing’s promised. It’s life. I’m in a great spirit always, more than likely.
You’ve been Da Baddest for a minute, do you see yourself passing the crown anytime?
I been passed it, look all these new girls. Everybody that’s out here: City Girls, Mulatto, Meg, all the new ones, everybody. I feel like a part of the crown, they all got a piece of. Corners of it all over the place. They’re all so dope, so yeah absolutely.
Speaking of, “Bitch from the Souf” is my shit!
Mine too, one of my favorite records I got.
How did that remix come about?
I got a call from Mulatto to get on this record, it was the remix I said, “Sure!” I was already put up on the record when she did the original. When she said she’s doing the remix and hit me up, I said, “I’m on that!” I did the record, a day or two I got it back to her. They said they were going to shoot the video in Atlanta, I remember I was sick. Super sick, I flew to Atlanta. I had an IV drip, all this stuff happening because I was sick. I went down the street and I was freezing, 20 degrees in Atlanta.
What can we expect from the new season of “Love and Hip Hop: Miami”?
Believe it or not, the new season is going to look a lot different. It’s no drama — not on my end of course. We shot it a different way in light of the pandemic and production. It was meant to be shot more personal and up close…including our own family. On the flip side, fans will get to see more in-depth on the personal aspect.
What does your legacy in hip hop mean?
Extraordinaire in different things. I brought realness. I always kept it real. I always supported, always showed love. I always tried to uplift. Even when I wasn’t receiving the same love back, I always gave it because I always knew who I was myself. I always knew I was a confident, secure person. My contribution was that I gave what I had to give and continue to still give that.
I can see it’s picked up through some of the new people — new artists that come out — it’s a beautiful blessing to see that. My whole contribution to this whole hip hop thing was to make sure these women stay focused and keep your mind right, keep your dreams right. Whatever it is that you want to do, always go after it. Don’t let nobody tell you, you can’t. You could reach the stars if you go hard enough.
What does it mean to be a role model to Black women all around the world?
Thank you, I appreciate when people say that. I don’t really think I’m a role model. I just try to be me, try to be real. That’s all I can do.
What are you most excited for next?
RMG, Rockstarr Music Group. New music from Nia Amber. New music from Trina, “Receipts.” Just keep up with the movement, it’s big.