Trinidad James – The Come Up

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  • #Trinidad James featured
  • Intro
    He’s hit the studio with T.I. Rick Ross brought him out on tour. He’s taken meetings with Jimmy Iovine. But just who is Trinidad James? The 25-year old Atlanta rapper has been the talk of the industry of late, since turning heads with the captivating visual for “All Gold Everything” off his debut mixtape <i>Don’t Be S.A.F.E</i>. caught up with Trinidad James to get the scoop on his eccentric style, background in music and the avalanche of attention that’s come his way over the past couple months. Woo! — <i>XXL Staff</i>
  • On becoming Trinidad James:
    On becoming Trinidad James:
    "My name is Nick, and my style has always been different so I got compared to Rick James and called Nick James. I was using that as a rap name at first, and then when I really decided to do my tape this year, I found out that there was a rapper out in Cali already called Nick James. I dig people for having their own lane and me having my own lane, so I just didn’t want to even go there with this dude, because I was like ‘There’s no telling where this could go to.’ I’m not about all that bullshit so I was just like ‘Fuck it, I’m just gonna rep where I was born. I was born in Trinidad, so I just went with that.”
  • On his influences:
    On his influences:
    "Everything, man. I can’t remember what I started with, but I do remember listening to New York rap, definitely Atlanta rap, definitely the classics and oldies and stuff, you know? I consider my music to be a little bit of everything. There are a lot of different pieces from different types of music. It’s hard to explain ‘cause it’s hard to say that anything you do musically is original. Everything feels like it’s been covered and everyone grew up listening to music. So when you grow up listening to music, it’s really hard to come up with something that nobody’s ever heard before. But what you <i>can</i> do is take a little something from everybody and twist it, put it your own way and have your own identity—like fashion, per say."
  • On his start in fashion:
    On his start in fashion:
    "I got a job at the [Ginza] boutique, because I shopped there when it first opened and got cool with the people who worked there. I was working at the Waffle House, actually, at the time, and the people at Ginza just called me one day and was like, ‘Hey man, you wanna work?’ I had a really good sense of fashion and there was certain things I was wearing that they didn’t have in the store. I'd be like ‘You’ve got to get this stuff—this is the shit.' Some other things went down prior, and they knew they could trust me, and all that tied into me just being a good person, a humble person. They asked if I wanted the job. I went in—I didn’t have any resume or anything like that—talked to ‘em, got the job and started working at both places. Then the owner started paying me more so that I wouldn’t have to work both jobs. So I’ve been doing that for the last three or four years—building up my name in the city, building up the boutique, making it a better place, more fashionable, and staying ahead of the trends."
  • On his debut mixtape, <i>Don't Be S.A.F.E</i>:
    On his debut mixtape, <i>Don't Be S.A.F.E</i>:
    "I wanna say that was when The Fader dropped the mixtape, that’s when everybody was like, ‘What in the world?’ In the city of Atlanta, the people who knew me was like ‘Wow!’ Because they knew me from running the clothing store and didn’t really know I did music. So that was a really good look and opened up the flood gates.<br /><br /><i>Don't Be S.A.F.E</i> is actually my first body of work. I’ve got like two songs that I had recorded like last year, but I wasn’t really taking rap serious. I was just hanging around my cousins who do music and their friends. They lived in an in-home studio, so I’d be over there from time to time and record a couple verses here and there, but nothing major. I had left music alone for a period and then I ended up getting back into it like ‘I’m just gonna do my own project. So that’s what it’s been about.”
  • On the success of "All Gold Everything"
    On the success of "All Gold Everything":
    <object width="620" height="400"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620" height="400" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>"It caught me by surprise. I know that I really liked the song. That was one of the last songs we recorded for the tape, and I really, really liked it. I felt super strong about it. I ain’t gonna lie, at one point I was like, ‘This song is so dope!” I just really liked it, but I didn’t think that it would be a radio-friendly song because I didn’t really make it for the radio, you know? I was doing the underground thing or whatever. But hey, the music does it’s own thing."
  • On taking label meetings and co-signs from T.I & Rick Ross:
    On taking label meetings and co-signs from T.I & Rick Ross:
    "It’s a blessing, really. I don’t think too much into it because I look at everything as music and everybody’s just kind of like regular to me, man. Of course I know that these people are who they are, but I had to be doing something right for them to even reach out to me. So, with music... People tend to take music to a whole different level, like bring business too much into it. It’s music—good music is going to be respected, no matter who is doing it."
  • On balancing passions:
    On balancing passions:
    "I feel like you can do both. The kind of person that I am, fashion is just natural. It’s in my blood. So its never gonna just be like, ‘Oh—I’m not gonna mess with fashion no more. I’m just gonna do music.’ Music is what I’m learning, fashion is nothing. That’s always gonna be around. Of course, I still want to have my own boutique—those things are still goals in my life that I still have. Music was another lane that I chose so that I can get to that."
  • On doing it on his own:
    On doing it on his own:
    "Times have definitely changed, man. I’m an example of that. My mixtape has no DJ. It has no major features—the features on there are my friends and family. The beats are picked offline—for free. And today, I’m performing my song that’s playing on the radio… with Rick Ross. That’s not to toot my own horn, but I’m not signed to anybody. So it’s really just to show you that if you really care about music and you really want to do it, you can do it. There’s no excuse."
  • On what's next:
    On what's next:
    "Pushin' the tape, man. Pushin’ the tape and letting the people hear about it. I feel like a lot of artists tend to stray away from their original project when a lot of people are still finding out about you. I’m looking at Twitter right now and there’s people talking about me every day. So I still feel like I’ve got to push that. I’ve got more visuals I gotta put out from that tape, more shows…Just working, man. That’s what I’m on."

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  • memphisworldflykid

    Trindad James bruh Dope

  • shurnam

    I like this guy. Real down to earth.

  • Aaron

    Reminds me of A$AP and SGP


    Are you f@cking kidding?!