If you grew up listening to rapper Trina in the early 2000s you’re well aware of her music and her influence but you still may not have known that she’s a proud Afro-Dominicana. In fact, quite a few of our readers were surprised when they learned that the Miami native, who has over two decades in the hip-hop game under her belt is, in fact, Latina. So we caught up with the Diamond Princess to fill you in on her latest projects, inspirations, music, and the advice she has for ladies everywhere.
The first thing that everyone should know about Trina, born Katrina Laverne Taylor, is that she is from the 305, and reps it all day, every day. Miami influences her sound, her style, and everything she does. “The 305 is a city from all over the world,” Trina explains. “You will experience the culture of many different backgrounds in the nightlife scene. Miami is about diversity and a city that combines many different backgrounds that influence your atmosphere daily; every day, for the most part, is a beach day in the sunshine state, and that is a blessing to me.”
But beyond the city itself, the women Trina grew up around in Miami were even more instrumental in molding her into the superstar she is today. “The city influenced me as a woman of color by embracing all of the cultures surrounding the 305,” she shares. “But the way I was raised by my mother and the strong women around me drove my determination and my work ethic as a female rap legend.”
In fact, when asked who her role model is, Trina gives all the credit to her mama, the late Vernessa Taylor. “My role model in my life was and will always be my mother,” she declares. “There isn’t any amount of words that can describe the bond and inspirations she gave me daily, nor would I be even half of the woman that I am to date without her being an example of living your way on your own terms, being strong and independent as a businesswoman, and unconditional love being instilled in what you’re creating for your life. She is the epitome of life to me, and for that, she is what I consider my role model.”
Trina gets her Latinx heritage from her father, who is of Dominican descent (her mother’s family is Bahamian). But she doesn’t think too much about how she specifically identifies, explaining:
“I am proud of my roots, the cultures between the two. I identify with both worlds. Miami is what I call home and you will experience both worlds growing up in Miami, especially being raised in Liberty City.”
Trina’s latest album, The One, dropped on June 21 of this year, a culmination of recordings from 2014 to 2019. It marks her first full-length album since 2010’s Amazin’ and was released almost a decade after her debut album, Da Baddest Bitch. When asked to pick a favorite album, she explains that while each holds a special place in her heart, her fave might just be this latest one:
“If I had to pick one, it would have to be my sixth album, released on June 21, 2019. The album was more of a transition for me as a woman, a rap icon, and an entrepreneur. The One was released under my own imprint, done my own way, with no other control from any other label involved, telling me how to do this, or how they wanted me to do that. It also held many songs that had more meaning to me as a femcee to date, including [the one] with the tribute to my mother. I am so grateful for every one of the artists who supported this journey on my sixth album and worked with me on the project.”
In addition to music, you may have seen Trina reigning supreme on Love & Hip Hop: Miami, designing clothing, releasing fragrances, and giving back to the community through her Diamond Doll Foundation. Trina isn’t just a person or a rapper — she reminds us that she is a brand, one that never stops creating and expanding. “I was taught to not limit yourself in success or creativity, and I hold that high in my life,” she explains. “No matter the obstacles, I will push myself to the limit for my vision and brand. I stay tuned in because even when it seems as though I am not working, I am. I am so appreciative of the support ongoing from my fans worldwide —believe it or not, it makes a significant difference amongst entertainers such as myself.”
As for Love & Hip Hop, amongst all of the show’s drama, Trina made it known that she has zero time for pettiness, arguing (especially over men), and other such nonsense. When we asked the diva what her top advice for women today is, and whether she planned on putting all these dope spoken truths into book form, she had this to say:
“Learn your craft ladies, and re-learn it. Expand on your abilities, and never be fearful to step away from your comfort zone. Yes, I am considering writing a memoir that is more about fueling hope, inspiration, and motivation in women worldwide.”
Trina inspires and motivates other women, including other female and Latinx emcees, and doesn’t hesitate to share who musically helped her pick up the mic and blaze her own trail. “I look up to many of the women who pioneered the legacy of being a woman in hip-hop or a femcee to date. Even now, these same women like Salt N Pepa, Queen Latifah and so many more are the legends before my reign was even created,” she divulges. “And these same women are why I push for more unity and collaborations amongst us as women in music.” And who is Trina’s dream collabo? “My dream collaboration would be with the Queen of everything in my eye which, of course, is Beyoncé.”
Trina is an example of being an individual who can hold her own, but who also chooses to collaborate with and uplift other artists. In a genre that constantly pits women against each other while men are allowed to shine (no matter how many of them there are) Trina encourages other females to do the same.