Trina: Hip-Hop's Diamond Diva

These days, Katrina Taylor is the Magic City's Diamond Princess, a grown-ass rap royal rocking "Red Bottoms," keeping shit classy, and giving back to the community. But back in '98, when she first broke into the game, Trina was the baddest bitch in Dade County, spitting the dirtiest verses, biting the biggest bullets, and hustling the hardest thugs.

That's right, it's been 12 years since she scored instant notoriety by talking fast and filthy on Trick Daddy's XXX-rated "Nann Nigga," and Trina has changed. Or at least her rap persona has undergone a serious makeover. She has gradually transformed herself from a wild and nasty 20-year-old chick to a mature and sexy 32-year-old businesswoman bossing around the boys while running her own Pink Diamond Couture clothing line; managing the Diamond Doll Foundation, a mentoring program for teen girls; and prepping her sixth studio album.

Her evolution, though, has never seemed artificial. As she explains, it's always been a totally natural expression of the true Trina. "I was just growing," she says. "Whether it was love, unhappy moments, fun, partying, hanging out with friends, traveling outside the country, all of my experiences were a part of my albums. Every time I did a record, I took it all into the studio."



Starting out, Trina sought to bust up hip-hop's boys club. And though it wasn't easy, she claims it wasn't that hard either. "Of course, rap was still a male-dominated game," she admits. "And I came into it around a bunch of guys like Trick Daddy and Rick Ross, who were just real strong dudes.

"But coming up among men, you get that hardheadedness, that toughness about you. So I got the best of both worlds, because I had the guys there to give me the tough part, and then it was up to me to just keep my sexy going," she laughs. "It kinda balanced out!"

Still, there was no ignoring rap's gender gap. "I wouldn't say I was considered an equal," Trina says. "I was just a new chick who was fierce, bitchy, raw, sexy. And there was a lane for it.

"Really, though," she adds, "I've worked with some of the greatest guys in the game, and they've always treated me with the same amount of respect, as if they were just working with another dude.

"Now there are so many new, talented females coming up in the game," Trina beams. "And the ladies will have a lot to say in hip-hop. It's gonna be huge. Watch out."

Alberto Cutié | John Dufresne >>

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