Thank You Trina (Blue Magic edition)
Thank you Trina for being there at a very weird time in my life. In 1999 I heard Trina’s voice for the first time on one of the most outlandishly sexual verses by any female MC. On the smash hit single Nann Nigga Trick Daddy goes crazy with tales of sexual triumph but Trina comes in like Foxy did after Jay and explodes. I’d never heard a female MC brag about blowjob skills then bisexuality the next bar, about her ability to pleasure testicles. My eyes were Bart Simpson sized. To be nineteen when that dropped was something else. Put that next to the fact that Trina has a figure that should be carved on the Mt. Rushmore of hip hop bodies, she grew me up fast.
By 2000 I was in the Army, away from home for the first time staring at the cover of her first album Da Baddest Bitch. Trick Daddy and Trina music was everywhere. Yes, Trina wasn’t the only nasty talking female MC. Lil Kim’s Hardcore came out in 1996 a stone cold classic. But Kim loved the hip hop Biggie did. She still wanted to get grimy in a very NY way.
In the Army I started to understand how different Miami folks are from the rest of us (certainly the people I knew in Maine). I heard the Miami bounce, heard it’s Atlanta hybridization in Kilo Ali. I very quickly built a supportive friendship group full of beautiful caring black women who knew the right time to judge me, let me pass, support me, call me out. They made me a better person. Like Trina they were always defining who they were and having fun doing it. Trina didn’t want to do dusty boom bap she wanted to drive the club nuts. Her skill set was in a different gear. Along the way she spoke lessons of loyalty, sex, betrayal, and crime.
Eighteen years after her first solo album she dropped a new EP called Blue Magic. On the last of seven songs she addresses the twitter clowning that gets hurled at any hip hop superstar with any time in the game. It’s called TF U Think and features Da Brat. It has my favorite lyrical moment. Like I said anyone with skin in the game gets called washed, out of date, past their prime. Saying it makes the person who accuses feel more powerful than the artist. In addressing this Trina says “Fell off, NEVER…” then pauses for very brief second and says “…too much equity.” As someone who has worked in banking for over thirteen years it is a brilliant line. Trina is looking at a hip hop world full of hungry ghosts trying to be seen and turn those eyes into some sort of money to take in. Her money is the first thing Trina got right, and having gotten it figured out hasn’t been chasing anything external since. Once you hit big you don’t need to be hip with the kids you have equity. You’ve built a brand people can depend on. Blue Magic isn’t about money at all. It’s about being the best person you can be, as motivated as you can be in a world of people who are not. It teaches you how to deal with them.
On the opening song (Bad Bitch Anthem) she rallies her audience to focus on nothing but success behind a truly menacing head banger produced by Nikko Ryan Gulapa. A big part of the formula she puts forward is independence. On Change The Vibe she says “How ya goin’ to style a stylist.” Own who you are wherever you go. Trina has always been great at working with other artists as a result. No collab feels like a fight for the spotlight. Blue Magic is no exception. Thug Song brings the uncut genius out of Boosie Badazz over a meditative bass beating thumper by Cyrus. In a seductive hush Trina still melts me with vivid imagery like “If I breath upon that dick with them boxers on/ that dick gon’ be all gone.” The next song is back to full throttle GET OUT OF YOUR SEAT! Chandelier opens on a beat by Audio Jones that could start 3 fights at the club. Kash Doll wrecks shop with fresh confidence & a verse that includes the line “bad chocolate @$$ B_ from the westside!” Killed it.
By the way Trina didn’t fall off. Dynasty 6 was killer. Fuck Boy is an amazing song. She still wrecks microphones, still looks like the vision of a woman I made in a computer as a teenager and still gives great interviews about the importance of family, love, humor, and good long lasting friendships. When she goes all in angrily on a lover that betrays her in Redemption it comes off as someone who was so focused on making the relationship work 1000% only to feel the sting of a partner who was only pretending to match that effort.
I’m grateful that Trina has always been so Trina she has never needed to go through any major image overhauls. It made sense when she was down with Ross. It makes sense that she wanted to declare how valuable she is to those who overlook her with someone as criminally overlooked as Da Brat (TF U Think). I just never got to thank her for being part of the class of MC’s who taught me how maintain my values no matter how hard the wind blows. Without Trina to show me what a bad bitch was, how would I have gone about finding and marrying one?
Please find Blue Magic on any streaming service you have. I bought it through Google Play.