Unless I missed something, Trick Daddy Dollars was a famous rap star when he droppedBook of Thugsalbum almost ten years ago off the popularity of songs like “Boy” and “Shut Up.” Since then Trick Daddy has been an icon of hip-hop success, a legend in the Southern rap scene, and the stepping stone for a bevy of Floridian rappers from Plies to Rick Ross to Trina to get to the next level. It’s fair to say that without Trick Daddy the entire history of rap in the 21st century would have to be rewritten. He’s not “Finally Famous,” he’s finally BACK. After a three year hiatus and an unceremonious split from Slip-N-Slide, Trick Daddy has finally returned and it’s good to welcome him back on the scene. Trick wastes no time reminding us he’s old school with hip-hop on “Gangsta Music,” and takes what could be interpreted as a few shots at S-N-S if you read between the lines:

“I grew up bumpin that Scarface
Livin life like N.W.A, but comin straight outta Dade
And way, before I heard the Fugees rap
I was on that Kool G. Rap, smokin that P.E. with older G’s
Bangin off that Spice 1
Some of that EPMD, that Eric. B & Rakim
That nigga Big Mike and AZ
That OutKast, Goodie Mob and JT
Yo, now I started listenin to that Tupac
I’m like ‘Gimme 2 shots of Patron and Henn’, and I’m goin in’
And nigga, gimme some elbow room
Don’t be tryin to sign me up, you just gon’ bind me up
And yo’ money it can’t buy me out
And it can’t lie, testify, snitch or cry me out
I’ll be in the cut like ‘WHATTUP BRUH?’
Lookin all crazy get you wet up bruh!”

Props to Gold Ru$h on the beat – it’s heavy on the low keys and deep bass that’s a Trick Daddy trademark, mixed with a fast drum track for Trick’s deliberately slow and nuanced rap. Guest rappers Ice Berg and Fella neither add to nor detract from the presentation – it’s all about the beat and Trick’s opening verse. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the rest of the lengthy “Finally Famous,” as Trick seems to be using his O.G. status to push a whole new crop of up-and-coming rappers. Some of may be signed to his Dunk Ryder imprint, some may just be unknowns from the Miami rap scene who haven’t blown up, but time and again on tracks TD shares the spotlight with second and third tier rappers you’ve never heard of before this CD. “What Dey Do” bangs hard thanks to a Track Kings production, but I have no idea why I’m not listening to him on the whole song instead of Bad Guy rap and Desloc sing the hook. Murk Camp takes T-double-D’s spotlight on “Count My Money” for the first 86 seconds – unacceptable. Rappers like Ballgreezy, Ice Berg, and Fella deserve to be on a Florida compilation sponsored BY Trick Daddy instead of taking up time when his fans had to wait three years for brand new material.

Thankfully some of the guest artists on “Finally Famous” are here to provide support on the chorus only and otherwise stay out of the charismatic rapper’s way. Shonie croons over the relaxed Beat Kings production on “Tears of a Grown Man” begging for another “Thug Holiday,” while Trick Daddy spits another of his trademark positivity raps where his thoughtful and spiritual side takes precedence over his thuggish ruggish lifestyle:

“As children of God, we got to do better
Every race, every religion, we got to come together
Out with the old, it’s time to try a new era
Let’s, build new schools and the kids’ll probably learn better
Cause we in a bad situation
And not just us in the U.S. but the whole United Nations
They took too long to warn us about global warming
And them same top secrets gon’ be the death of our peoples”

That’s been the surprising thing all along about Trick Daddy – he’s one of the most loudly professed “thugs” in all of hip-hop, yet when he speaks on what he describes as “grown man shit” in his songs he’s clearly a street scholar who stuck his nose in a real book or two along the way before writing a book of thuggery. It’s that balance between his life of drinking, debauchery and depravity with his hopes of a better tomorrow for people everywhere that make Trick Daddy so fascinating – and frankly so famous. Generic thug rappers are a dime a dozen, but Trick’s bellicose Floridian delivery is tempered by the soul of a poet who sees that war AND peace go together hand in hand. He’s also not afraid to indulge in “Fantasy” with Trina, showing that even gangsters like to flirt with the better half, although his methodology is a little more crass than your Will Smith type of rapper. That’s his appeal – he’s a little crass and unrefined, an unrepentant unapologetic hardass, who also happens to be heartfelt and genuine when he says he “luh da kids.” Trick reps on this album whenever he’s not crowded out by unknowns, and tracks like “Homie Song” and “I Can Tell” make “Finally Famous” a keeper. Don’t be fooled though, Trick’s been famous for years, and will continue to be even when other people steal his shine.

Trick Daddy :: Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug
7Overall Score