Hatred, jealousy and envy. These are among the preferred topics discussed by some of the best-selling and most powerful male rappers of the last ten years – 50 Cent, Eminem, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nas and so forth. Oddly female rappers are never given the top billing as purveyors of this content, even though UTFO unintentionally sparked one of rap’s earliest heated wars as two estrogenical emcees set out to prove who was the REAL “Roxanne.” It turned out to foreshadow things to come. So few female rappers were accepted by a male dominated audience that the ones who were got called out by the ones who weren’t, and the responses back were often even nastier. MC Lyte and Antoinette begat Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim begat Nicki Minaj and Keys. These are not bit players in the field of hatred, jealous and envy – the female rappers in hip-hop are EXPERTS on player hatin’ bitches.
It should come as no surprise then that Trina is a little smug on her 2010 album “Amazin’,” and arguably has a right to be. She’s been compared to Lil’ Kim her whole career, but has actually released more albums in a shorter amount of time. Khia tried to upstage them both as the most sexually explicit female in the game only to get kicked to the curb. Even now other women are trying to prove they are “Da Baddest Bitch” in hip-hop, but Trina coined the title a decade ago and has never relinquished it. In fact Trina has become something of a standard bearer for commercially active female rappers, as veterans like Latifah and more recent successes like Eve gave up the mic for acting careers. The truth is Trina’s a bit of an actor herself – it’s unlikely she’s as nasty as she acts on “That’s My Attitude” in real life – but like Antoinette before her she’s using her “Attitude” to stake a claim, defend her turf and ward off any challengers.
“I’m on the paper chase, my man’s paper straight
He took me to his house, welcome to the safe
Oh my God, he made it hard to keep a straight face
I got him on his knees, tellin me how good it tastes
You bitches hella fake, I’m gettin hella cake
Like I’m the birthday girl it’s time to celebrate
I’m so paid, lookin sharp with the Louis shades
I put these bitches in they place – that’s my attitude”
While Schife and OhZee made her as nasty as she wanted to be on that single, CP Hollywood went the opposite direction on the follow-up track “Million Dollar Girl.” Of course it’s going to be hard to be TOO gangster when you’ve got Diddy sharing the bars and Keri Hilson singing the hook. It’s an unrepentant uptempo piece of pop fluff that shows Trina can reign her attitude in and make her albums crossover to all audiences.
“I know you like my style
My million dollar smile
Hit any party red carpet bet I shut that down
Don’t hate just go get yours
No excuses no more
I just dropped another hit cause I’m that million dollar chick”
Trina finds herself walking between parallel dimensions on “Amazin'” trading places with her good girl/bad girl counterpart at will. She throws down a thugged out ode that would make her mentor Trick Daddy proud on “My Bitches,” but the super silky Bigg D produced “Always” could be mistaken for R&B, and Monica could be singing a ballad with Jamie Foxx about love instead of punctuating Trina’s soft-spoken rap. Trina throws a hand out to the next generation and pulls Ms. Minaj up to join her and Lady Saw as they keep it raw on “Dang A Land,” but “Make Way” with Lyfe Jennings is as urban contemporary as anything Trina has done in her active career. The language would have to be cleaned up a bit as she notes “if you ain’t makin hits, then you ain’t ’bout shit” but it would be MORE amazing if her label doesn’t.
It may be hard to get a handle on what type of emcee Trina wants to be on “Amazin'” but it’s not hard to understand that what she wants most is to be RELEVANT. While being thought of as the nastiest, raunchiest, dirtiest and baddest bitch on the block may be a badge of honor, being too gangster has also landed contemporaries like Lil’ Kim behind bars. Trina is playing her cards very carefully here, hoping she can maintain the whip appeal of being dangerous, while being just subtle and coy enough to reach new and even higher levels of commercial appeal. Her plan works, although some long time fans may want more of the old “bad bitch” back. Not to worry though – the minute someone hates on Trina and is jealous of her success, the South Florida thug will come out with all claws bared.