If you look at Atlanta rapper, Trinidad Jame$’, Twitter account the very first thing you read on his profile are the words: “Fashion is my heart”. If you weren’t clued up on the current hip-hop scene or if you weren’t aware of the 2013 XXL Freshman list, you could be forgiven for thinking that the rapper is just a street wear designer or an up and coming style icon for the South.
In reality, he is all of those things, as well a new signee at Def Jam Records and probably one of the most talked about rappers in the industry for the last few months.
Nevertheless, the statement that he has chosen to declare on his Twitter account implies that this flourishing rap career is not at the forefront of his ambitions and you get the impression that Jame$ is not your average rapper that stumbled across a sudden interest in fashion because everyone else is doing it. If anything, the 24-year-old implies that it is music that he’s stumbled across while trying to pave a way for himself in the world of fashion and menswear.
I recently read an interview with GQ in which Jame$ is speaking about his interest in clothing and his “business plan”. He explains that he actually ran a menswear boutique called “Top Of The Underground” (ironic given his current status in the rap game) in Atlanta for almost four years before taking what appears to be a slight detour into hip-hop.
What surprised me most about the interview was that at no point does the ‘All Gold Everything’ rapper sound enthusiastic about his music. Rather, he refers to his hip-hop career as a “brand” and describes his hectic life in the studio and touring the States as simply “doing this artist thing”. Music doesn’t come across as something he is truly excited and fired up about. To me, it almost sounds like music is the equivalent of the office job many of us do while we make plans and put money aside for the ultimate dream. In his case: fashion.
This month, Trinidad Jame$ was named one of XXL magazine’s eleven ‘freshman’ of 2013, alongside rappers that have spent many more months (and even years) in the rap game than him, such as Ab-Soul, Kirko Bangz and ScHoolboy Q. Some could argue that he hadn’t quite earned his spot on the list yet – after all, Kirko Bangz’s smash hit “Drank In My Cup” was released in 2011 and has sparked numerous remixes in the past two years, while Angel Haze has already released four mixtapes.
Jame$ only just appeared on the scene in the middle of last year. He dropped one mixtape (Don’t Be S.A.F.E) and mainly grabbed our attention with a stand out lyric on his anthem “All Gold Everything”, which had everyone shouting “Popped a molly, I’m sweatin’, woo!” He hasn’t been hustling for years on the streets of Atlanta like fellow ATLiens, such as Gucci Mane or Trouble. He hasn’t been slaving away on mixtape after mixtape trying relentlessly to get a record deal. He seems to have sort of fallen into this “artist thing”.
From reading the (supposed) full biography on his official website, to looking him up on Wikipedia, the life story of Trinidad Jame$ doesn’t exactly scream out “I’ve wanted to be a rapper ever since I heard my first N.W.A record”. Even listening to his EP, (which still happens to be a cool body of work, in my opinion) he admits that dropping a mixtape was something that had come as a surprise.
“Yeah I dropped a tape, surprised myself man. I don’t know how I feel about it, other than fuckin’ amazing” – he states on the track “Gold On My Macbook”. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound to me like someone that has yearned for a career in hip-hop their entire life. Despite his quirky exterior, he actually appears to have the mind set of a businessman rather than an artist and is using this talent for making music as another outlet for his creativity, while exploring the many other doors it has opened for him. He isn’t necessarily concerned with being the best MC in the game or having the most intelligent lyrics; he wants to build a brand, which will also allow him to pursue his fashion calling.
“Open a new venture, open a clothing store, make another album or be in a movie. You never know. Or direct my own videos. Whatever door opens up, we’re definitely going to try to capitalize on it so we don’t only have one hustle,” he nonchalantly announced to GQ. This coming from somebody that only began rapping less than two years ago!
Personally, I don’t believe that music is his main priority, but I still find him intriguing and refreshing as an artist. Don’t Be S.A.F.E is one of my most played mixtapes at the moment and if hip-hop happens to be something he fell into on his way to forging a fashion career, then at least he’s given us some good music along the way.