.

Trinidad James Explains It All

The 'All Gold Everything' rapper talks puppies, drugs, fashion and more

Trinidad James performs at SOB's in New York.
Griffin Lotz for RollingStone.com
March 7, 2013 2:48 PM ET

Trinidad James is still wrapping his head around how it feels to be the proud owner of a viral hit. "To be honest with you, man, it's a learning experience," says the flamboyant Atlanta MC, 25. "It's a very fast, big learning experience."

James' "All Gold Everything" has racked up more than 10 million views on YouTube so far. Much of that attention is the result of a memorable drug reference: "Popped a molly, I'm sweating!" he exclaims midway through a verse, punctuating this observation with a quick "woo!" before repeating the line. This pithy phrase inspired a wildly popular online meme last fall, with countless tweets, funny JPEGs and even a YouTube supercut of James saying "popped a molly, I'm sweating/Woo!" for six minutes straight. "Honestly, man, I could not understand why that particular line connected with people," he says. "The reason why I did it is because the first time I tried molly, I got really hot. Shit! Like, it was a real expression. That's how real my music is."

Another key scene in the video features James strolling through the streets of Atlanta with an adorable puppy in one hand. "When we were shooting that scene, my friend that happened to be standing right in front of me had the puppy in his hand," he explains. "I was like, 'Hey, let me see that puppy.'"

James credits four years of experience managing a streetwear boutique for his unique fashion sense. "I'm not scared to wear anything, for the most part – if I feel like I look good in it, I will wear it," he says. "So when I did the video, I thought of the most hyped-up outfit I would want to wear to really represent me, the person, and that's what I came up with: the red slacks rolled up, Versace loafers, that leopard-print shirt from my favorite brand, Joyrich, and my Trinidad flag, repping my country, tied to the front so you know it's real."

James' stage name honors his birthplace of Port of Spain, Trinidad. "I lived a carefree young life, you know?" he says. "We weren't poor. We weren't rich. We were just happy. And then we moved to the States."

His family moved around a few times before settling in Atlanta when he was eight or nine. "You gotta think about it," recalls James. "I'm in second grade, with an accent, in Atlanta, which is the South – it's not even like New York or Miami, which are very cultural. This is Atlanta, where we know Spanish people, black people and that's it. You know? And I had an accent, so kids was giving me all the trouble. Like, me coming from Trinidad, and having to count, I'd be, like, 'One, two, tree.' Everyone was like, 'What is he talking about? Why he is talking about a tree right now?' So I had to deal with that for a long time."

Eventually, the schoolyard mockery helped shape his persona. "My aunties are very smart-mouthed, very snappy," he says. "That helped me to become very witty and get back at people when they started coming at me. People kinda calmed down on the jokes after a while when they figured out, 'Yo, he goes in. He comes back with his jokes.'"

James has only been rapping seriously for about a year, but the success of "All Gold Everything" has already landed him a lucrative deal with Def Jam, which is promoting his current mixtape, Don't Be S.A.F.E. "Dude, it wasn't about the money, honestly," he says of the label contract. "All it was for me was a bigger chance for more people to hear my music so that I get more criticism and more fame."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com