Although a style of hip-hop known as Southern rap or “booty music”—a combination of high-energy dance with often explicit rap vocals—crossed over with 95 South’s 1993 hit “Whoot, There It Is,” it appeared unlikely that songs by other Southern rappers, most hailing from Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana (dubbed “The Dirty South”), would follow suit. But after the new form of hip-hop started receiving airplay, Southern rap became a national craze. In Miami, Florida, rap artist Trick Daddy helped revitalize his hometown’s rap recording industry. A former convict who later focused his energies penning rhymes that told the stories about his life as a “thug” and the experiences of growing up in the projects, Trick refused to categorize himself with rappers who invent tales of street life in order to sell records. “When Trick raps about bustin’ rounds and gun play, sexual escapades, serving time, welfare, auto theft, jugglin’ weight, living in the projects, food stamps, street killings, baby-momma-drama, kickin’ with the homies, contract hits, smokin’ out, flossin’, trafficking dope, probation etc., he’s lived it!” as quoted by Trick’s website.
In order to understand Trick Daddy’s music and the subject matter of his rhymes, one should first examine and consider his background. One of 20 children (many were half brothers and sisters, and his mother had 12 children by different fathers), Trick was born Maurice Young around 1976 in Miami, Florida, and raised in the city’s Liberty Square Housing Development—known as the “Pork ‘N’ Beans Projects” to locals. “Growing up, that shit was never nothing nice,” he recalled later from his Miami Lakes condominium, as quoted by Charisse Nikole in a 1999 interview with Blaze magazine. “You watch mamas and step-daddies and half-brothers getting in fights and see how you come out. We see people getting shot and killed every day.” As a young adult, Trick readily admitted that many of his problems stemmed from childhood issues, which he continued to deal with.
Because he came from such a large family and lived in a dangerous environment, Trick learned early on to push and fight his way to the front of the line, behaviors which often got him into trouble. His first outburst occurred when he was just eleven year old; angered after a teacher embarrassed him in front of his grade school class, according to Trick, he retaliated by hitting her in the head with a lead pipe. For this act of violence, he found himself at one of the Miami/Dade County schools for problem children. Apparently, the school did little to help rehabilitate the youngster, as just a few years later, in May of 1991, Trick was sentenced to a four-year prison term at the Apalachee Correctional Institution for armed trafficking with the intent to distribute cocaine. Although released on probation after serving a year of the sentence, Trick was locked up again for violating the terms of his release, as well as attempted murder, and subsequently spent two more years behind bars. Meanwhile, during Trick’s incarceration, five of his close friends and his brother, nicknamed Hollywood, had all been killed by firearms.
Determined to start a new, and as a way to cope with the death of his brother, Trick left jail and started writing candid rap songs that documented the life he had led up to that point. His first break into the music business came when a Miami rap artist named Luke saw Trick performingat a local club and approached him. Later, Luke invited him to join as one of the lead rappers for the song “Scarred.” The hip-hop dance track, which introduced Trick’s unique flow and booming voice, appeared on Luke’s 1996 album Uncle Luke. The song became a hit and immediately caught the attention of fans and record producers a like. Later, Trick credited Luke as the person who helped make his recording career possible.
Upon the success of “Scarred,” former concert promoter Ted Lucas signed Trick to his newly-formed Slip-N-Slide Records under the alias Trick Daddy Dollars. (Trick has since dropped “Dollars” from his name.) “Trick is remarkably talented, confident and eager to work,” Lucas said of the rising rap star, as quoted by the iMusic Urban Showcase website. “All of his boasting is backed up by what he lays down in the studio.”
Born Maurice Young c. 1976 in Miami, FL.
Started writing raps and performing in local clubs after serving jail time; appeared on Luke’s 1996 album Uncle Luke for the hit song “Scarred;” debuted as a solo artist with Based on a True Story, 1997; single from 1998’s www.thug.com entitled “Nann” became a national hit, 1999.
Trick, who had already been developing songs for some time, released his solo debut, Based on a True Story, in October of 1997 (before Los Angeles rapper Mack 10 released an album of the same title). Many of the 17 songs on Trick’s first record, dedicated to the memory of Hollywood, contained dark, volatile, and introspective lyrics, illustrating the rapper’s own predicament: coping with life and loss. “For everything I do positive, it counteracts with something I’ve suffered for,” he explained to Nikole, referring to his transformation from an ex-convict into an established rap artist. Selling moderately and surpassing 200,000 copies, Based on a True Story contained club favorites such as “They Don’t Live Long,” “Bout a Lotta Thangs,” performed with fellow Slip-N-Slide rapper Buddy Roe, and “Gone with Your Bad Self,” with the quick-verse rap artist Verb, who also shared rhyming duties with Trick for “Scarred.”
In 1998, Trick returned with his sophomore effort, www.thug.com, another street-credible album that picked up on his life’s story where Based on a True Story left off. According to Trick’s website, “Fans and ‘thugs’ alike can feel his pain, understand his philosophies, comprehend his actions, and relate to his turbulent experiences….” The second single from the album, “Nann,” a Southern term meaning “no one else,” became a popular success, although the song took some time to catch on. Initially released in December of 1998 by Slip-N-Slide, “Nann” (an edited version of the explicit original album cut “Nann Nigga” that became a street hit) finally gained national attention the following year when radio stations started playing it. Although he had to wait awhile, Trick assured Launch. comwriter Billy Johnson, Jr., that he remained hopeful that the song would earn recognition. “Sooner or later you got to come on in,” he said. “I felt really confident about it.” The confrontational “Nann” paired Trick with Miami’s Trina, with whom he exchanged sexually charged lyrics. “The song is one where men and women connect because it gives both sides something they can relate to,” Trina, whose own career was sparked by the single’s popularity, told Nikole.
After “Nann” received airplay outside of Miami, www.thug.com was picked up for major distribution by Atlantic Records. Extensive video play of “Nann” followed on MTV (Music Television), the Box, and BET (Black Entertainment Television), and Trick’s second album went on to earn gold sales status, approaching platinum sales. With the success of www.thug.com, Trick became the first rap artist from Miami since Luke Campbell and 2 Live Crew entered the scene in the mid-1980s to generate national attention. He was featured in such publications as Murder Dog, XXL, the Source, and Rap Pages magazine, while several well-known rap/hip-hopartists like Cappadonna of the Wu-Tang Clan, Mase, and C-Low expressed interest in working with the newcomer.
In February of 2000, Trick furthered the cause of Miami hip-hop with the release of Book of Thugs: Chapter AK, Verse 47, which debuted on the Billboard charts at number 26 and featured guest rappers such as Mystikal, Twista, and Trina. Although the album included notable songs such as the brassy “Shut Up,” the jamming “SNS (Get on Up),” and the thoughtful “Amerika,” where Trick details the struggles of blacks from all backgrounds, Book of Thugs: Chapter AK, Verse 47 overall earned mediocre reviews for its lower production quality. Nevertheless, Trick continued to draw in fans nationwide with his stories about running the streets. “To me it’s personal; I got to know that you feeling me some type-of-way,” Trick stated on his website. “When you have people to question you [about a particular song] and ask you, ‘did that really happen to you’?, then you know they really got deep into that song.”
Based on a True Story, Slip-N-Slide, 1997.
www.thug.com, Slip-N-Slide/Warlock, 1998.
(With various artists) South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut—Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture, Atlantic, 1999.
Book of Thugs, Atlantic, 2000.
Billboard, June 19, 1999; August 14, 1999; September 11, 1999; October 16, 1999; January 29, 2000.
Blaze, August 1999, pp. 64-66.
Jet, February 21, 2000.
Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2000; February 24, 2000.
Rolling Stone, June 10, 1999; December 16-23, 1999
USA Today, February 29, 2000.
Village Voice, February 8, 2000.
Washington Post, August 1, 1999.
Launch: Discover New Music, http://www.launch.com (March 14, 2000).
MTV News Gallery, http://www.mtv.com/news/gallery/t/trickdaddy000217.html (March 14, 2000).
Trick Daddy, http://www.thug.com (March 14, 2000).
“Trick Daddy,” iMusic Urban Showcase, http://www.imusic.com/showcase/urban/trickdaddy.html (March 14, 2000).
“Trick Daddy,” Throttle Box Arena, http://www.throttlebox.com/Content/signed/788.html (March 14, 2000).
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