You Do You

Love scholar looks past butt-or-not floss, toward crunk

Trina sent out her epochal 2002 Diamond Princess to—among others—skeezers, bitches, 'hos, players, dykes, divas, housewives, and gold diggers. Though she asked if we all knew what Miami was really like, the album preferred to offer a hustler sublime of floss, butt floss, and island-exotic beats. In contrast, her latest hews closer to crunk, almost overdosing on minimal production values and wistful stories of the street. While past duets with Deuce Poppi brought a nu-millennial Frank and Ella "Lady Is a Tramp" vibe, now gender relations are less war-of-the-roses and more a highly contested symbiosis, equal parts cash and contempt: "Lemme do me nigga, you do you."

The album's Desperate Housewives flavor grows with each successive listen: It's not that Trina isn't enjoying being at the top of her rap game, just that she's increasingly limited by what she's rapping about. For the first time, "niggas love the way my back swells" sounds half boast, but also half lament. Like Lil' Wayne's recent style switch-up, her voice is breathier, more offbeat, and more insistent. But the prime Hot Boyz moment comes with Mannie Fresh on mix-tape favorite "Da Club," a gentle reminiscence of a boy's first visit to a strip club over a strumming acoustic sample recalling Nelly's "Ride Wit Me."

Trina’s not looking at you no more.
photo: Atlantic/Slip & Slide
Trina’s not looking at you no more.

For more lush '80s nostalgia, check the Force M.D.'s–sampling "Here We Go" with Kelly Rowland and the Terry McMillan–esque punchline: "Tell that trifling bitch she can have you/I ain't looking at you no more, I'm looking past you." Over them genuine thugs, she now wants a Ginuwine lover. Fuck a dime, she's a relationship scholar—holla!

 
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