Mixtape Review: Trina, Back 2 Business

The rap vet works her way back into form with this free release.

3star
Posted: 12/06/2012 05:00 PM EST
Filed Under Music News, Trina

Trina

(Photo: EMI Records)

Trina is doing her best to get Back 2 Business with her newest mixtape, hoping to reclaim her title as "Baddest B---h" in the game. Like many pioneering female MCs, the Miami legend was rendered musically irrelevant over the past few years by the explosion of new girls like Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks and others. But with a widening gap between the mainstream aspirations that drive her aforementioned peers and the street chick image that made her a star, Ms. Trina may be on the verge of a career revival.

 

Don’t expect a complete rebirth, however. Trina is the same Diamond Princess that empowered female hustlers and drove ballers crazy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. On "Hell Yeah," she reminds us exactly what she’s about with the help of newcomer Nisha on the hook. "You wanna leave here with me, just know that the p----y ain’t free," she spits, "First buy my drinks, then take a b---h out to eat."

 

But while tracks like that and "I Want" feature Trina in her lyrical comfort zone, as an insatiable princess, it’s when she exits that sweet spot that she shows the potential to truly recapture her former relevance. "I Cheated" features Trina admitting to cheating and falling in love with her partner in infidelity. "I know it’s something that I really shouldn't do," she confesses, "but I want my cake and wanna eat it, too." It is not a revolutionary concept, and the lyrics don’t cut much deeper than the surface, but it’s a step towards true creativity that is appreciated in the mix of mostly hollow club tracks.

 

But it’s hard to fault Trina for staying in her lane when she’s so good at it. She sounds most at home alongside French Montana (who executive produced the project) on "B---h Bad" and "Tick Tock," trading elementary flows about materialism and the street life. While remaining the same character we’ve always known will help her get back into hip hop’s collective consciousness she’ll have to evolve a deeper musical identity on future projects if she hopes to compete with her younger, fresher competition.

 

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