He’s the new thing right now.
His name is Trinidad James and he hails from
Atlanta. He’s only been rapping for a couple of years and already has a
song in the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
He burst on to the scene with the single, “All Gold Everything” in
which he raps, “Popped a molly, I’m Sweating (whoo!)” and then proceeds
to repeat himself over and over again.
For those who don’t know, Molly, ecstasy’s hipper cousin, has been big in rap for a while now.
As a mom, I’m concerned.
But apparently, Trinidad James is too, answering those critical of
his drug references by saying, “When I made that song I wasn’t thinking
about the kid who was going to listen to the song. I was just speaking
about my life, and if you can relate, great.”
But now, Trinidad James appears tired of dealing with the backlash
from the music he makes. In a recent interview with XXL, he essentially
laid it all out there, saying he makes ignorant music because that’s
what sells records.
“There are some artists who make drug references just to look cool,
or just trying to appeal to somebody, right? But sh*t, dude, people have
been doing that forever,” explained Trinidad. “It’s not even about
drugs, it can be about anything–cars, jewelry, whips. Artists make
music, and some artists talk about sh*t they really like, but it’s on
the listener to decipher if it’s real and if they really f*** with it or
if they’re going along with it because everyone else is. That’s how
this game set up, man. You’ve got people who want to hear about the sh*t
that they want, but not the sh*t that they need to hear about. People
don’t want to hear positive rap as much as people want to hear negative
Pretty sad. But if Trinidad James is speaking the truth, it says just
as much about us as it does about him. But here’s another truth. I
can’t rely on Trinidad James to produce music I want my sons to listen
to any more than I can rely on Quentin Tarantino to produce movies I
want them to see or Rockstar Games to release video games that I want
them to play.
These people are in business to make as much money as they can off of
as many people as they can. My business is to parent. That’s an action
word meaning to raise, nurture and protect.
I’ve heard the argument that rappers are just like actors, that we
shouldn’t hold them accountable for lyrics any more than we should hold
Denzel accountable for reciting his lines in …say…”Training Day.” But
actors and actresses don’t act and dress the part in public day in and
day out. And most people don’t watch a movie as often as they listen to
a song or commit the words to memory (unless you’re J. Anthony Brown
and the movie is “The Color Purple”).
If I do my parenting job correctly, when my boys are old enough to
choose their own type of music, video games and movies, they will be
able to appreciate it for its entertainment value and not look to any of
it for moral direction.
But just as my parents told me during my teenaged years, it’s not you
I’m worried about…it’s the other people. What about the kids who start
out empty of moral or spiritual nourishment who have come to rely on
what they see and hear from rappers like Trinidad James for fulfillment?
We’re quick to say that these young men and women shouldn’t be our
kids’ role models, but for many, they are their role models by default.
Trinidad James and a lot of well-meaning parents take the easy way
out when they decide that they’re looking out for themselves and their
children, but it’s up to everyone else’s children to figure it out on
We don’t live inside a bubble. All you have to do is look at the
crime and sexual violence on college campuses to know that sooner than
we realize our kids will be classmates, roommates and maybe soul mates
with kids who have a different set of values, or none at all. We should
all play a part through mentoring formally and informally our neighbors,
nieces and nephews, any young people who need to be exposed to another
side of life.
With all the foolishness Trinidad James promotes through his lyrics,
these are the words prominently posted on his Instagram page: He who
kneels before God can stand before anyone.
If only he could be sure his young audience is that grounded in truth.