By Jason Bourne
BROOKLYN-BRED RAPPER T.R.I.N.I. IS ARTICULATE by design, candid by impression and ambitious by nature. His climb up the ranks of indie artists has been marked with ups and downs after migrating to the United States. But, never one to be discouraged, the Trinidad-native has taken his lumps and turned them into building blocks, establishing the platform of how MAD Music imprint.
The son of a DJ, T.R.I.N.I is a former battle rapper but has set his sights on being a recording artists known for captivating fans with intriguing wordplay. Influenced by legendary acts like Jay Z and Cassius, his goal is to etch his name into the history books one bar at a time.We sat down with the MC to talk about his love for his art, what his name means and why he transitioned from being a battle rapper to being a recording artist.
BLEU MAGAZINE: Your stage name and how it breaks down is kind of creative. Let the people in on the significance behind T.R.I.N.I.
T.R.I.N.I : Simply an acronym for The Reason I’m Nice Is. My name is a play on my realization of what defines what is dope. I want it to challenge people to evaluate their terms. Everyone has the potential to be great, and for me I think it is important to spark the conversation of criteria, all the while encouraging others to express theirs very boldly. I’m also Trinidadian so it works well for me.
You have been putting the footwork in for a number of years climbing the indie ranks in NYC, how would you describe some of your experience and where your brand is now?
These past years have been a journey for me with a lot of ups and downs. From doing countless shows across the TriState, as well as being on the road in Pennsylvania, Florida and California laying the groundwork to make sure that a buzz was created. Ultimately we want to hit the nail on the head from coast to coast. I recognize that I am still in the process of building the brand, all the while learning new things daily about my craft. I would say some influencers would be Lil Wayne, Jay Z, and Future sonically.
You are a native of Trinidad correct, but you currently call Brooklyn your home. My assumption is that the Caribbean sound has been very influential on your musicianship; How did hip hop creep into the fold?
Hip hop became life when I first came to the U.S.A. My mom was a DJ at the time and her set up was in the basement where I stayed. She would practice some mixes then leave. One day she played an instrumental of a Hov record, something I ain’t ever heard before I told her to leave it on. She did then left it on loop, I sat down and wrote some lyrics to it. From that point forward it was a wrap; there was nothing else I wanted to do more than create music.
What are your earliest memories of being intrigued by the genre?
I remember when I sat down and was scrolling YouTube and found one of Cassidy’s legendary freestyles. I was bugging out by the fact that someone can actually think of things to say like that so rapidly. It had me puzzled for a minute. I made a note to myself that I have to be like that or better. Also I remember a cypher I had some years ago in Times Square. It lasted about 5 hours, on the corner rapping with 6 artist that were incredibly dope. I felt at the top of my game that night and would never forget that.
That is essentially where it all started for you correct, in the battle rap sector; How has the transition been to actually becoming a recording artist?
Battle rapping was definitely my favorite thing to do. I transitioned into recording music when my best friend at the time got deported back to his country. We started battle rapping in high school together and made a name for ourselves. Once he got locked up I promised I’d make it in the music industry as a point of homage. I stopped battle rapping and started focusing more on being in the studio. With time I developed my craft and honed my skills. Now I just try to make dope music for the people.
Still get the temptation to battle here and there?
Man, always. I still watch battles on YouTube as I try to keep up. I would crush a lot of battle rap cats still.
You started your own label about the same time that you jumped in to dropping projects; where did the entrepreneurial spirit come from?
Once I realized that indie was the best way to go I said to myself ‘Ain’t nothing gonna stop me from achieving my goals. I just gotta have a solid foundation,’ which to me is a label. I had a lot of people try to lead me in multiple directions, thinking they knew what was best for me as an artist. Needless to say they were wrong. With this digital age it’s so easy to get out there; you just gotta really invest In yourself and put in that work.
How has it been juggling both?
It’s been a task but a learning process too. I learn a lot everyday about the business of this music industry. I do a lot of networking as well; with that and being an artist, the struggle I would say is having the time to create music. For now it’s a task, I must say. But you must have a great work ethic. I work hard so I think I’m good in that department.