Born Katrina Laverne Taylor on April 18, 1974, in Miami, FL. Education: Completed real estate school. Addresses: Record company--Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic Records, 1290 6th Ave., New York, NY 10019. Website--Trina at Atlantic Records: http://www.atlantic-records.com/trina.
Rap musician Trina announced herself to the world in 1998 as "da baddest b***h" on the single "Nann Nigga" on Trick Daddy's album www.thug.com, and she has continued to push the envelope of rap, with often-offensive, sexually explicit lyrics. Her debut album, Da Baddest B***h, went gold, and her second album, Diamond Princess, solidified her reputation as a new queen of hard-core rap.
Born Katrina Laverne Taylor on April 18, 1974, in Miami, Florida, Trina was a popular student at Miami Northwestern High School. A majorette, she was also voted "Best Dressed" in her senior class. When she was 17, she began a relationship with Hollywood, the brother of rapper Trick Daddy, but this ended in tragedy in 1994 when Hollywood was murdered in his car. In order to make a living, Trina worked the night shift at AT&T as a telemarketer, and then got a job as an exotic dancer at a club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She used the money she earned through dancing to pay her tuition at real estate school, and quit dancing once she completed her studies.
In her spare time, Trina wrote rap rhymes, which caught the attention of Hollywood's brother, Trick Daddy, who needed a female rapper for his track "Nann Nigga." He was not sure that she could rhyme or deliver, but he gave her a chance. Her comment on the track that she was "da baddest b***h" led to an album of the same name in 2000. Its title track, along with a video of the song, showcased Trina's lyrics, as well as her looks and attitude, and she was an instant hit with rap fans. According to Evelyn S. McDonnell in Interview, the album, which earned gold sales certification in November of 2000, was "all street and sex."
In an interview for Crusade magazine online, Trina commented that on this album, much of the work was done for her; she did not have creative control, but simply delivered lyrics. "Everybody was like we got this beat, we got this, we got that, we want you to get in there and write to this track, write to this song, write to this topic."
For her second album, Diamond Princess, Trina was able to choose her own production, name of the songs, and write whatever she wanted to write. She told Crusade, "It's more what Trina's about, how Trina looks, how Trina feels, the things that Trina consists of."
Trina told a reporter for Black Entertainment Television that Diamond Princess was "the same thing [as Da Baddest B***h] but it's different.... I'm still the same person, still grimy, you have the ghetto reality street part of it, but it's just a more mature and stable life for me right now." That maturity and stability, she said, was the result of her success with Da Baddest B***h.
Some of the tracks on Da Baddest B***h emphasize female strength, according to Trina. Two tracks, "Ladies 1st" and "Rewind That Back," feature two strong women in the music business who are making a lot of money and who don't need men to take care of them. Some of the other songs are cautionary tales for men. One song, "No Panties," which Trina performed with female R&B singer Tweet, is also a declaration of independence by the two women. Trina told McDonnell, "The all-girl vibe is really good because everybody can speak their mind." She also told McDonnell that the album was "really fun and bright and commercial" and that sex was not its only topic. "It's just about me, going from one extreme to the next." Maxim Pozdorovkin, in the Cornell Daily Sun, wrote that although "the musical side of Diamond Princess is quite good," Trina's emphasis on material things is a "prime example of ... ridiculous content," and commented that the album "does not possess personality, wit, or intellect" and that "the game Trina plays is one of extreme crassness."
The success of Trina's two albums led to the launching of a clothing line called Diamond Princess Wear that is inspired by her personal look. "I've stepped up to the game," she told Chronic Magazine online. "I'm trying to pave a way for everybody that wants to follow in my footsteps." She told McDonnell that the clothing line was due to be launched at the beginning of 2003, and that it would be "hot, classy, sexy, edgy, glamorous, hip-hop--it's me, really. Real flamboyant." Trina did not design the clothes, but worked with a New York stylist to create the look.
Trina also started her own record label, Diva Enterprises, and by September of 2002 had signed an artist, Lil Brianna, who was ten years old and working on her first album. Lil Brianna had already appeared on the Diamond Princess track "Kandi."
Perhaps surprisingly, given the fact that some conservative and religious groups have protested against her music, Trina told Black Entertainment Television (BET) that spirituality is an important part of her life, and that she strives to serve God. "I serve him all day in my whole life. I just feel like without him, there's no me.... When you're working during the week, you're working but that don't mean you're not praising him still." She also said, in response to criticism of her explicit lyrics, "If you don't like what I'm saying, then don't listen to it." In response to rumors that she was gay or bisexual, Trina told BET, "If I chose to live a bisexual life or I'm gay or whatever, that's MY business...."
Trina, who is not married and has no children, told BET, "I'm free, I'm happy, I'm young, I'm doing whatever I want to do. I feel like anybody whether they're an entertainer or not should do that, because tomorrow's not promised." And she told McConnell that her favorite part of life is entertaining: "It's all about attitude and showing people I love them. When I'm up onstage it's all about connecting with them--they're a part of me."
by Kelly Winters
Appeared on the Trick Daddy single "Nann Nigga," 1998; released debut album, Da Baddest B***h, on Slip-N-Slide label, 2000; followed with Diamond Princess, also on Slip-N-Slide, 2002; founded own record label, Diva Enterprises.
- Selected discography
- Da Baddest B***h , Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic, 2000.
- Diamond Princess , Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic, 2002.
October 4, 2005: Trina's album, Glamorest Life, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_3/index.jsp, October 7, 2005.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 15, 2002, p. L6.
- Cornell Daily Sun (Ithaca, NY), September 26, 2002.
- Interview, September 2002.
- "Hot Seat: Trina," Crusade, http://www.thecrusade.net (November 17, 2002).
- "Miami's Diamond Princess Speaks Out," Black Entertainment Television, http://www.bet.com (November 17, 2002).
- "Trina," Chronic Magazine, http://www.chronicmagazine.com (November 17, 2002).
- "Trina," Rap Sheet.com, http://www.rapsheet.com (November 17, 2002).