Music

From ‘Da Baddest Bitch’ to Hip-Hop Icon: Trina’s Journey

The unapologetic queen of rap and her lasting impact

Trina stands in front of a waterway
Trina (Photo by Tiff Wilson)

In a hip-hop scene that boasts powerful, scatological take-no-prisoners artists like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj, rap’s self-proclaimed baddest bitch Trina is still relevant and worth the reams of hype she’s received over the years.

Her raunchy taboo-breaking, giving-no-fuck tracks about sex, money and relationships have inspired succeeding generations of women to embrace their power, and have put men who oppose that shifting dynamic on notice to clean up their acts.

No one is going to confuse Trina’s street poetry with Emily Dickinson’s confessional verse, but Trina’s art displays a frank openness and honesty about her private life. Plus, there’s an undeniable electric frisson you get from hearing Trina puncture fragile male egos on classic tracks like “Fuck Boy,” from her 2017 album The One.

Over insistent beats and bleeping UFO sound effects, Trina unabashedly rips into a guy who’s clearly yesterday’s news: “Six in the morning/ Ni**a at my door/ I’m trying to figure out/ What he out there for/ Last time I seen him/ He was talkin’ his shit/ Fail daddy’s new girl won’t suck no dick…”

For the coup de grâce, Trina hits him where it hurts the most: “Money ain’t shit when you soft as hell…”

It’s still provocative, jaw-dropping stuff six years later, and like the rest of Trina’s work over a 25-year career, it evokes the brazen, party crazy, seductive and status-and-sex obsessed atmosphere of her hometown Miami, a hedonistic subtropical Camelot ready to sink under the rising sea or get ground under the heel of homegrown fascism. Take your pick.

Trina’s Iconic Tracks and Albums

The filthy-mouthed unapologetic Miami rapper reportedly stumbled into a career when she was asked on the spur of the moment to contribute her nasty-minded flow to fellow Floridian Trick Daddy’s 1998 Top Five rap single “Nann Ni**a.”

The story is that Trina had no musical ambition before this serendipitous session. That’s only partly true. Trina has since said that she was getting ready to start recording her own album at the time. So, while Trina was very young, she was not a complete naïf when it came to the music business.

Trina followed “Nann’s” success with her debut album Da Baddest Bitch in 2000, which spawned the nickname that she is still fondly known by today. With its gritty and brash lyricism, the album established Trina while setting her apart in the male dominated genre. The LP yielded the Hot 100 single “Pull Over,” which reinforced Trina’s barrier-crashing career arc.

Four subsequent Top 20 Billboard 200 albums followed: Diamond Princess in 2002, The Glamorist Life in 2005, Still da Baddest in 2008 and Amazin’ in 2010. A stand-out track from this era is “Here We Go,” a ballad featuring Kelly Rowland. The track displays a burgeoning sensitivity and maturity on Trina’s part, focusing on an empowering message of self-respect and resilience.

In addition to collaborations with Juicy J, K. Michelle and Run the Jewels, Trina joined Trick Daddy for four seasons on the reality television series Love & Hip Hop: Miami.

The One, released in 2019 through Trina’s own Rockstarr Music Group, is the artist’s most recent album, notable for containing the single “BAPS,” a collaboration with Nicki Minaj, whom Trina inspired. An acronym for Bad Ass Pretty Sagittarians, a reference to the performers’ shared sun sign, the track contains suitably irreverent, possibly roman à clef lyrics about being a girl boss: “I know a dude named Wayne that I used to fuck/ I slid on him, got a check, then I was off in that truck/ Ferrari fo’ do’, hit the gas, left foot on the clutch/Countin’ money bags, shit, I been bossin’ up…”

Trina has had a highly influential and remarkably durable career, one that has survived a recent bout of uncharacteristic low-key behavior where Trina kept a relatively subdued profile while her spiritual heirs strode onto the scene. Now, however, with Trina’s upcoming appearance at Charlotte Pride, it’s clear the baddest bitch is back in the picture.


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