Trina - Amazin’

Posted May 3, 2010
Tags: Trina,

Evolve or die. It’s the law of nature, and the law of the music game. Those that stand still...

Amazin' Album Review

Evolve or die. It’s the law of nature, and the law of the music game. Those that stand still are destined to die. Those that don’t continue to push their music in new directions will undoubtedly be left behind by faster and stronger new species. Well, Trina has been giving Darwin the middle finger for a decade now. Sure the Miami rhyme machine (shout out to Gloria Estefan) has grown exponentially as a businesswoman and worldwide brand, but musically she’s maintained her baddest b**tch status by holding a slow, steady, course. It’s been ten years since Trina dropped her debut album, and in that time she’s seen Foxy, Lil Kim and nearly every other major female rapper rise and fall while she’s remained on top, or at the very least near the top. And yes, that means that if history is any indication, I’ll still be reviewing Trina albums long after Nikki Minaj’s name has faded from the spotlight.

While Trina’s new, fifth studio album Amazin’ isn’t quite the strip-club, relentlessly explicit project 2000’s Baddest Bitch was, there are notes of glamour here - even more so than on her last album Still the Baddest - that didn’t exist before, for the most part this is the same Trina’s who’s been making the censors nervous for years, and maybe that’s a good thing. While her highs haven’t been quite as high as others, her lows haven’t been nearly as low either, and it’s that consistency that’s the hallmark of Amazin’.

For instance, when Trina was just getting her first glimpse of the game with Trick Daddy a track like Million Dollar Girl would have been impossible. And yet, here we are. Amazin’s biggest hit so far, Million Dollar Girl finds Trina putting her own (slight) spin on the current radio hit formula: put together a bouncing bright beat, recruit Keri Hilson for the hook and let Diddy contribute a mediocre guest verse in exchange for a co-sign. While she may be worth well more than a million, Trina’s straightforward style just doesn’t work as well on more danceable cuts like Million Dollar Girl, but that shouldn’t stop any fans and aspiring millionairesses from making it their new anthem. Trina takes a couple more stabs at more pop-friendly fare on Amazin', most notably the J.R. Rotem produced, cheater’s anthem On Da Hush - if Tiger was shacking up with Trina (and for all I know he was) he wouldn’t be in the mess he is today – and the synth drenched Showing Out, which could most accurately be described as a female-centric version of T.I.'s Whatever You Like. All these records show that while Trina hasn’t mastered the mainstream music game, she has learned enough tricks over the years to be able to display some true versatility on Amazin'.

Of course, Trina’s most known for her XXX-rated rhymes - after all, one of her biggest hits to date is No Panties - and there’s no shortage of “kids cover your ears” material on Amazin', starting with the island-tinged Dang-A-Lang. While Dang-A-Lang may not exactly be Shakespearean, it does have definite guilty pleasure appeal, especially considering Trina’s on point rhymes and one of the better Nicki Minaj verses in a minute. Plus Nicki demands her man tosses her salad…you know what? Let’s move on before the censors bust down my door. Like their heroine, truly hardcore Trina fans are proud to call themselves bi**hes, and for them she’s crafted the anthemic My Bi**hes, which despite the quasi-chipmunk hook I admit I kind of enjoy. It’s a similar story on the paper-stackingly defiant That’s My Attitude, the strip club ready, Ross and Weezy-assisted Currency and, of course, Let Dem Hoes Fight (no explanation needed there). As always, on Amazin' Trina does what she does, she does it well, and she refuses to apologize.

While Amazin' does delve into some quasi-R&B territory on I Want It All and Always, both featuring Monica, and Trina slows down to get personal on Make Way, for the most part what you see is what you get with Amazin', meaning loyal fans will love it, but it’s unlikely she’ll convert any previous haters. But instead of looking at Amazin' and seeing status, we should see consistency. Getting to the top isn’t the hard part, staying on top is, and if that’s true than Trina’s career is truly nothing short of amazing.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

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Posted May 3, 2010
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