Trinidad James Signs $2 Million Deal With Def Jam?

December 13th, 2012

(Photo: Def Jam Records)

By Dan Reagans

As a devoted hip hop fan, over the years I’ve learned to never underestimate the stupidity of the suits inside the boardrooms of record labels. First, let me state that in no way, shape or form am I a hater of what Trinidad James brings to the rap game. In fact, I actually enjoy Trinidad James’ inescapable smash “All Gold Everything” and I personally bared witness to his electric breakout performance in New York last week. But when I saw that the Atlanta rapper was nearly trending on Twitter because of his rumored $2 million deal with Def Jam, I inadvertently doused my computer screen with a mouthful of apple juice as I gasped for oxygen. While we never indulge/fuel speculation here at Sound Off, I just felt it to be my hip hop civil duty to question the worth behind record deals these days.

Honestly writing, it seems as if the filter for mainstream hip hop has been reinstalled in the reverse position. When rappers like T.I., Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne or even 2 Chainz can spend years trying to breakthrough to no immediate avail but lucky hot shots with lesser musical depth and lyrical skill can strike it big after 11 months, the culture is definitely in trouble. When and how is the consumer supposed to weigh in on and, more importantly, buy into an MC’s brand organically when they are being/feeling force fed an artist’s appeal because the powers that be have spent a ginormous amount of dollars and are now focused on recouping. This process doesn’t push the culture forward. Instead, it dilutes and stifles it.

Seriously folks, if Mr. “I popped a molly, I’m sweating” is worth a $2 milli recording contract from the legendary Def Jam, then I’m seriously on the wrong side of the music business. Don’t get me wrong, Don’t Be S.A.F.E. is a decent mixtape with some great moments. I just have this feeling that everything is happening too soon and there won’t be much for us to consume from Mr. James when he’s finally ready to drop that proper debut. Heck, six months from now all of our focus could be on the “next” accidental star who stumbled on to stardom. And I reiterate, these views and feelings derive from a place of utter shock and not hate.

Overall, I can’t be mad at the ATL spitter for accepting a rumored seven figure deal. If you put me in Trinidad’s Gucci loafers, I’d likely do the same thing. I can’t say I’m ever really that upset when I see labels blow bread. Like Jay said, overchargin’ n—s for what they did to the Cold Crush is always fine by me. But based on the time frame and quantity of material, the rumored signing is certainly questionable. I know one thing, the streets is watching. If we know anything about hip hop, it’s a copycat sport. So don’t be surprised if we see more over-the-top novices going all out for a big payday.

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