Words by Jesse Serwer—
Rapper Trinidad James returned to his birthplace of Trinidad last week, performing at Machel Montano’s Machel Mondays concert and shooting a video for his new single “Females Welcome,” with a cameo from Shaggy. While there, he also released a soca remix (though soca-ish would describe it better) of his hit single “All Gold Everything” featuring Machel, Pitbull and Shaggy (Stream it, and watch a clip of him performing it at Machel Mondays with all three below). It seems Trinidad is really repping his Trini roots. And, to think, we weren’t sure if he was really Trini when we first came across him.
I interviewed Trinidad for Rolling Stone in December, when he signed his reported $2 million deal with Def Jam, and asked him about his Trini roots, and the shoutouts to Trinidad in the “All Gold Everything” video. Here’s what he had to say:
I was born in Trinidad. That’s why I’m Trinidad James. For my first big debut video, I wanted to almost put out a smoke signal in the sky to the people in Trinidad, to let them know that I haven’t forgot about them. It wasn’t overbearing where we went to one of these tropical islands trying to make it look like it’s Trinidad. No, we’re still in the same hood in Atlanta, so the Trinidad flag is like a smoke signal. Like, hey guys, if you see this video in Trinidad, which is possible, because the Internet is all around the world, let them know that you got a Trinidadian here in Atlanta who reps Trinidad.
I left Trinidad when I was a baby and went to Canada and came back. I went to the equivalent of first grade in Trinidad. And then came to the States. So my whole family still lives in Trinidad. I wouldn’t tell you that I’m Trinidadian all the way down because I have lived in the States my whole life. That’s why I say I’m from Atlanta, and I talk like I’m from Atlanta-that’s where I grew up. I don’t talk like I’m from Trinidad but my accent will just kick off automatically. Last year I went back to Trinidad for a visit, before I was even doing music, and it felt like I had never left.
Stream “All Gold Everything” Soca Remix with Machel Montano, Pitbull and Shaggy: