Trinidad James Speaks on Phenomenal Success, Responds to Naysayers
Seven months ago in Atlanta, Trinidad James debuted his 'All Gold Everything' video inside a small theater only three quarters full. Days later, the newcomer made his rounds at New York's CMJ Music Festival and two months after that, Trey Songz brought James to the Madison Square Garden stage. "Every moment is a new experience," he tells TheDrop.fm. "I don’t ever really focus in on what’s the biggest and the best I kinda just appreciate every moment because I know where I wasn’t at this time last year."
"I wasn’t doing shows -- I didn’t even know how to do music," he adds. "I just loved music and I appreciated it, so every show, from the smallest you’ve seen me do to... I just did 40,000 in Trinidad with Machel Montano, Pitbull and Shaggy. It was cool and I still felt good about what I did."
The last seven months for the Atlanta native have been a whirlwind, to say the least. He's surprisingly laid-back, nearly serene in his demeanor. Even with the major appearances and celebrity cosigns, James says he's just grateful for the journey. It's a sentiment rarely heard in this entitled state of hip-hop and the pressure on new rappers to make at least one big hit.
"I feel like, when I put out [my mixtape, 'Don't Be S.A.F.E.'], I was living off of my own accomplishment," he explains. "The tape was so good to me, that it wouldn’t have mattered if one person was out here like, ‘Psssh, you’re tripping.’ In general, being from Atlanta teaches you to just be a real n---- about this stuff."
What's the mantra for Atlanta-based artists? "Don’t overdo it bruh. You know what I’m saying. Be happy," he says.
"Share the special moments with the people that really care about the moments and that’s what helps you to really appreciate it," he continues. "Share the moments with the people that care, because the people that don’t care they’ll give you two different things. Either they’ll give you what they think they have to give you because it’s your accomplishment or they’ll just be fake.
"That’s what life is all about and you can’t be mad at them because at the end of the day for a lot of people in this industry and in this world, it’s a job."
On May 2, Def Jam executive Chris Atlas flew down to Atlanta to present James with his official gold plaque for the 'All Gold Everything' single. The city's top music bloggers, journalists and tastemakers were invited to Treesound Studios on the North Side of the city to partake in the celebration but the most important guest in the house that evening was the rapper's mother, whose mind had to have been reeling at the career strides her son has made in less than a year. All while incorporating just a bit of his culture into the mix.
Watch Trinidad James' 'All Gold Everything' Video
James was actually born in Trinidad, and if viewers pay attention, he flaunts the island's flag throughout much of the 'All Gold Everything' video. "A person like myself, I don’t think that much into things," he shares. "Actually, instead of talking about how much I love my country and, ‘Oh, I love being from Trinidad,’ I like to act on it and do it."
"I don’t care what anyone else may think about it," he says. "I did it because to me it's unique, even if you didn’t like me as an artist, you wasn’t even gonna try and come up with that same name. It was more of something that was original. I’m an individual so I’ma just do me and if a part of me is my heritage and being born in Trinidad then that’s a part of me that comes along with the package. I’m proud to be Trinidadian."
Of course, no one makes a phenomenal climb without garnering their fair share of naysayers. Especially Trinidad James, an artist that doesn't particularly fit the mold of how people generally think a rapper should look, sound and dress.
In less than a year, he's climbed the charts and others had to sit back and watch, some quietly continued on their grind while others were a bit more vocal about what they perceived to be James' lack of expertise.
When asked what he has to say in regards to what doubters may think of his career, he replies, "What do you say to ‘em? I can’t even dwell on something that somebody said about me that I don’t know; it ain’t gon’ do nothing for me."
"For real," he continues. "I’ve read every comment on my Instagram and my Twitter, so I know everything that everybody in the whole world has said about me. I know people who don’t know me... Like, I know their real name and they’re in the crowd. That’s just what it’s about man, live life for experiences. That’s the only way you’re really gonna be happy, when you can’t experience s--- no more, you’re old."
Watch Trinidad James' 'Female$ Welcomed' Video