Trina’s career blossomed after debuting on Trick Daddy’s 1998 breakout hit “Nann Nigga,” off his album, www.thug.com. Her sharp tongue, sassy style and voluptuous curves are, in large part, what made her an instant star. Two years later, Trina released her gold debut album, Da Baddest Bitch (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic Records), which peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard chart thanks to the sexually explicit hit, “Pull Over.” Packing more sex appeal than a XXL Eye Candy pinup, Trina was every d-boy’s fantasy. Her follow up album, Diamond Princess (2002), was well received and reflected her artistic growth with memorable moments, such as “No Panties” featuring Tweet and “B R Right,” which offered Ludacris. Unfortunately, Trina wasn’t able to duplicate such success with 2005’s Glamorest Life. Despite guest appearances from Lil Wayne and Kelly Rowland, and production from Mannie Fresh and Jazze Pha, the album failed to achieve gold status. With redemption in mind, Trina now looks towards a fresh start in 2007. She parted ways with her label of five years, Atlantic Records, in 2006 and has now found a new home (which she intends to keep a secret, for the time being). Her new album (still untitled) will be released this July with production from Scott Storch, Cool & Dre and The Runners. Trina discusses her new album, the breakup with Atlantic Records and her controversial past with XXLMag.com
Why haven’t we had more albums from female MCs lately?
The industry is male dominated. It’s crazy because there are only a few females and everybody is so spaced out. The unity is not there. I think with females, we’re a lot more emotional and when things aren’t going great, I think it’s a little discouraging. You kind of get sheltered and don’t really know which route to take. Now, it’s a new year and there are a lot of females coming out. You got the Remy Ma, Shawnna and Jackie-O collaboration.
What do you think about their group?
I think it’s hot! It shows a form of unity for girls to reach out, let their voices be heard and [try to] make a difference. The album should be great. I’m looking forward to working with them on [it]. It’s up to us to stand strong and go hard.
You were speaking at a conference [St. Thomas University's Second Annual Business Leadership Summit] for young girls recently. How did that come about?
It was a power summit to educate the girls about life, money, the industry and their future. It was really cool. I have a foundation called the Diamond Dolls Foundation. It's a blessing to be able to give back and share my personal experiences with the girls.
You’ve done a lot — modeled, dropped hot albums — have you proven that you’re not just a pretty face?
That’s so important. A lot of people get it twisted when you’re a chick in the game. Your looks are cool and I’m blessed, but I just want people to respect the work. I work extremely hard, just as hard as the guys, if not more. I’m one of the hardest working females in the business.
But you can be vicious at times too. You put Khia on blast.
[Laughs] That whole situation is really so out of my element. But it is what it is. I felt like she was being disrespectful, so I addressed the situation and that’s the end of it. I just felt like it’s not fair to open a magazine and some chick is talking slick out the face. I don’t know her personally and I never did anything to make her say something about me. If you don’t like me or my music, then don’t look at me or don’t listen. That’s a choice. That’s one good thing about America. So when you come sideways out the face, it’s a problem.
You also went at Gillie Da Kid.
Personally, I don’t know him. I just feel like, as a female, to hear some of the things that come from people’s mouth is disrespectful. I don’t know you, so don’t disrespect me. I don’t have anything to say about you. Whatever you’re going through with anybody else — y’all are dudes, you can battle it out all day. That’s not my thing. But I’m not gonna allow you to disrespect me and feel like its cool, because its really not. And that [goes with] anybody. When you are disrespectful, don’t [think] I’m not gonna have nothing to say back. For the most part, I ignore it, ‘cause I don’t have the time. But I just went into this zone like, ‘Look, don’t come at me sideways.’ I’m not built like that. I’m fly and I’m not gonna let you say anything out the face to me. And that’s that.
There is currently video footage circulating on the Internet of you dancing explicitly on stage at a Trick Daddy concert while guys are groping and pouring liquor on you.
My thing is this — I saw some of that and all of that stuff is like a decade old. Find something new to dig up. We’re in the year 2007. That was like 1997. It’s not even worth the conversation. Please!
Did you feel violated when you saw the video?
This is how we got into music — we were on the road dancing with Trick. When I came into the game, I expressed that. Yes, before I was doing real estate and before I was a rapper, I used to dance at a topless nightclub. I said that and it’s nothing new. So everybody that’s overexcited, clam down. I said that already and it’s over with. People always do anything to pull you down. At the end of the day, it’s something I did when I was a child. We were on stage, wildin’ and dancing. But I was fully clothed, I wasn’t naked and I wasn’t having sex with anybody. I was acting crazy and it’s something that I did when I was a kid. I’m a grown woman. I don’t have to explain myself to anybody and I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. In life, there are people that indulge in anything to make a person look bad. You can’t stop that. But I hold no regrets in life. My past is what made me the person I am today.
What’s your relationship like with Lil Wayne now?
It's great. He's a great guy.
People are interested in your situation. They love celebrity couples.
There is so much pressure when you’re in one of those situations. Its my personal life and I like for it to stay that way. It can escalate into so much more. I don’t really like to talk about anything that I feel is sacred to me. I don’t want to discuss it. I feel like he’s a great person and that’s the end of that. He’s a great person.
It must be something real for you to be so protective of it.
It's definitely a real situation. He's an amazing person, a very special person, so therefore it's always gonna be that way. I'm always going to be protective of my personal life, despite what anybody feels or says. Some things you just wanna keep that way.
Are you still signed to Atlantic Records?
Actually, my deal was up with Atlantic Records after [my last] project. It was a decision to either record a new project or not to. I’ve been with Atlantic my whole career. With the last project, I just felt like, at this time, I want to do something different. I had the option to move forward but I want to take the chance and see what happens. I feel like its going to be a great opportunity and a great outcome.
What label are you signed to now?
With Slip-N-Slide. I’m not able to speak on the new proceedings. It’s the labels, they bug out and don’t want it to be over hyped. So I’d rather not talk about it until its finally complete and then we’ll make a public announcement.
Are you disappointed with the sales from your last album, Glamorest Life?
I feel like a lot of things weren’t taken care of, as far as the structure of the album, how it was set up, put out and the rotation of the records. It’s just a lot of different things. Everything wasn’t going accordingly and it showed in the record sales being below expectations. But I still handled my business. Now we move onto the next chapter.
What's next for you?
I’ve been working on my album, which will be released in July. Not really sure about the title yet, but it’s going to be great. I have the most control I’ve ever had on any project. I got features and a few tricks up my sleeve. As far as producers, I’ve worked with Cool & Dre, The Runners, Scott Storch and a few upcoming producers out of Cleveland.