By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
By Steve Weinstein
By Araceli Cruz
Trina, Diamond Princess
As for Trina, I don't know if she'll be invited to the Essence Awards this year. We're not a minute into her "Hustling" before she answers a query about how to steal a man from his current flame with "wait for his biutch to leave, Ms. Trina got a trick up her sleeve, open up the door and walk straight in the house, put your man down and put my cock in his mouth." This transgendered tidbit precedes shakedown advice that will find the mark/john robbed in his sleep of money and credit cards and left to confront roughnecks with shotguns should he cop an attitude.
What's ironic about Trina is that she actually was on her way to the Essence Woman ideal before she got in bed, the gutter even, with this hiphop trick. According to an interview in the ever informative Sister 2 Sister, Trina has a college degree, a real estate license, and an upwardly mobile AT&T gig on her résumé, and comes from two enterprising middle-class parents. She was also dating Trick Daddy's brother Hollywood before he was murdered, a sad backstory to her entrée into the game. She and Eve share a history as strippersexcept, where Eve danced during her fallow teenage runaway period, Trina's stripping stint began after a waiting-to-exhale party with girlfriends where she took on a dare to dance nude at a local club, walked out with $1000, and developed something of an addiction to the adulation and loot. She also speaks of being driven to tears by the stories of the woman she met, one of whom spoke of being raped by her brother and one of his homies. And she tells the tale of shutting down a recording session after she realized her mother had shown up unexpectedly, and was on the other side of the booth appalled by her daughter's spew of bad language.
Another reviewer recently wrote of Trina's rhyme skills as oxymoronic, and he'll get no rebuke here. I never paid her no mind until she turned up in Missy's "Get Ur Freak On" video. I can't recall a damn thing she had to say but this problem does not extend to Trina as junk-in-the-trunk visual. Be that as it may, albums remain an aural medium, and though a little bit of Trina goes a long way, all the tracks are crunk enoughespecially "B R Right," which features Ludacris and a female singer dueting with a galvanizing gypsy violinist in a manner that appropriately brings to mind Funkadelic's "No Head, No Backstage Pass" Except today, reminds Trina, "Pussy power is in control." Missy and producer Supa reprise the 'Freak On' formula for her guest spot 'Rewind That Back"; Eve's obligatory appearance on the brand-name-dropping 'Ladies First' serves her version of pro forma hardcore but sets Trina up to deliver the ultimate deflationary no-scrubs lyric: "my man's money got to be longer than his dick."
See, in today's hypercapitalist hypersexualized hiphop, some sisters have gone way beyond pimping it for themselves. Now it's about proferring fantasies of driven business mavens who define themselves as the financial power behind their punanny-thrones, an iconic portrayal of Black female sexuality writ large and in check-writing charge: Obliterating hoary dominance-and-submission gender codes as they go; more daunted by fears of being broke than of being labeled unrespectable; buying out haute couture stores and auto dealerships like there was no tomorrow in the name of the good life; pointing up how capitalism's original commodity fetish, the dispossessed African booty, has now become the ultimate commodity fetishist; deriving more visceral pleasure from status-symbol consumption than they might from sex, love, family, justice, or plotting revolution.