Whether you’re a male or female rapper, one can only hope to attain the tried-and-true combination of success and longevity in this game called Hip Hop.
Some are never able to top their early acclaim and end up disappearing; others merely stick to one game plan that eventually runs their career into a creative rut. When Miami rapper Trina announced her new release Amazin’ would be a sonic departure from a catalog of work that spans a decade and four albums, it turned heads. Could she pull off the Pop-queen role while keeping her “Baddest Bitch” reputation?
The sound on Amazin’ is not so much a new version of Trina set on appealing to the masses, but rather a woman who over time has been able to reevaluate what matters to her. Whereas previous releases were litter with lyrics dependent on sexual provocation, Amazin’ taps into her ability to be straight-forward and flirtatious without ending the night in bed. Such is the case on the stand-out track “Showing Out,” where Trina confidently flaunts the finer things in life over lush production. Keeping the theme going, Trina turns into Ms. Unattainable for her first single “Million Dollar Girl” . With singer Keri Hilson working her magic on the hook, Trina proceeds to strip away her sassy, aggressive approach for a woman focused on exuding confidence and independence. As Trina has previously said, “Million Dollar Girl” is a state of mind, not an allusion to the price of her goodies, and this type of acknowledgement is an indication of her growth as a person and artist.
While the aforementioned tracks are a good reflection of what Amazin’ has to offer, the two Rap-R&B collaborations between Trina and Monica, “I Want It All” and “Always,” prove to be the album’s most convincing reasons as to what listeners should expect from the Miami Mami these days. If fans remember the theme of Trina’s 2005 single “Here We Go,” her new record “I Want It All” could be described as the subsequent ending to the cheating affair. Then on “Always,” Trina proves that despite the perception of an ice-cold outer shell, she’s willing to open up her heart and settle down if the right man is by her side.
Trina is able to reap the benefits and rewards of her new style and approach on Amazin’. However, as apparent on a handful of tracks, she may soon learn that expanding musical horizons can also lead to less-than stellar results. For whatever reason she had to include “White Girl” on Amazin’, it goes without saying that this is the kind of record that has flash-in-the-pan success. Sure, it has radio and club potential, but less than a month later we’ll be wondering what the appeal of this song even was. Not to be outdone, the shallow concept provided on “Let Dem Hoes Fight” sounds more like a record out of Katy Perry’s catalog than something Trina would put her hands on. Finally, while production from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League is commendable on “By Myself,” Trina’s rapping and singing just doesn’t seem to fit the vibe of the record.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right for Trina to release a new album without giving fans the type of content that has gotten her to this point. This is evident on “That’s My Attitude” where Trina makes it clear no one can cross her without repercussions. Over hard-hitting production by Schife & OhZee, Trina once again certifies herself as the “Baddest Bitch” around, and newly casted female emcees should take note. Also, her collaboration with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne on “Currency” proves to be a southern banger that honors the almighty dollar, with Weezy F. giving Trina a pleasant shout-out in his verse. And though it’s a bit left field for some people, “Dang-A-Lang” brings listeners back to the days when Trina boastfully objectified males, not the other way around. Scouting red hot emcee Nicki Minaj as well as Jamaican singer Lady Saw for the hook, Trina makes this playful record a ladies affair.
Throughout her career, Trina has taken to the booth to show people she is not just some eye candy on the cover of a magazine. You could argue that her rhymes rarely reach the level of excellence, but they are consistent. With Amazin’, Trina has coupled that consistency with the ability to progress through her music, which subsequently has made her a well-rounded artist. Trina no longer has to simply be the “Baddest Bitch” around; she’s held that crown. Now it’s on to the next one.