Trinidad James - Celebrity Theater - 6/8/2013
All photos by Jonathan Alvira
By Jonathan Alvira
June 8, 2013
Groupies, strippers and first-time stage dancers were "turnt" up all night with Mr. "All Gold Everything" himself. As I watched a blonde bombshell from the crowd get pulled on stage to shake her ass for the screaming fans, I came to a realization. You truly cannot judge a trendy rapper by the holes in his skirt.
The young Trinidadian sensation Trinidad James stepped on stage an hour late for an already restless crowd at the Celebrity Theatre. When the crowd heard his voice over the microphone, boos turned to cheers. "Popped a molly, I'm sweatin'!" he shouted, signaling his DJ from backstage. Leading up to his dramatic entrance, he walked up the dark, narrow ramp towards the stage with traditional Caribbean music in the background as the fans screamed his name.
It was a slow beginning; leading up to his performance several local rappers took stage with at least three generations of their extended family. It was to the point where no one knew who was actually rapping. In defense to the negative backlash, the rappers decided to bang on the crowd. The whole environment became real hostile, real quick, so I decided to step backstage.
Walking through the cramped hallways past the groupies and the entourage, I looked into Jonn Hart's dressing room to see three of the most beautiful women celebrity and status could buy. In the room directly next door was a contrasting scene of a herd of 300-pound men feasting on a huge-ass plate of beef smothered in gravy on a bed of rice. I finally reached the green room and walked in on Power 98.3 radio personality Bootleg Kev getting in a drunken shouting match with Glasses Malone about how to drop an album and sell units. Fans awkwardly stood across the room as they waited for a meet and greet with Jonn Hart. At this point I grabbed a few of the many refreshments available backstage and took my chances in the photo pit.
Twerking was the theme of the night, and it wasn't just when Trinidad James hit the stage, either. Stepping up the stairs and down into the pit I saw two strippers giving onlookers a peep show in the V.I.P. Once Jonn Hart hit the stage he called upon the beautiful women in the building to join him on stage for a full-fledged twerk contest. By the time the concert was over the females of the audience were invited on stage a total of four times, giving the drunkest of groupies several chances for any of the rappers to take back to the hotel. Assuming the members of the entourage weren't just getting their phone numbers to just "chat."
Despite stepping out in what appeared to be a torn skirt over a pair of floral-pattern capris, Trinidad James flexed his celebrity to the fans and they loved it. Judging by his lack-luster appearance and demeanor during a radio interview earlier that afternoon, it's like the rapper popped a molly to start sweatin'. Full of energy and draped in ridiculous gold chains, he started off the song with "Tonk For The Money," his intro track from his mixtape Don't Be S.A.F.E.
"Damn, I love it here in Arizona, but how the fuck y'all hustle out here in the heat!" he said, as he took a shirt a fan handed him. After unfolding the shirt to unveil a silky, gold Chinese design and pattern he looked up and said, "this shit is tight as fuck!" He continued to take off his own shirt to put the awesomely tacky-ass button-up silk shirt on.
After looking to his DJ, Trinidad James asked, "What do you want to hear? How about that turn up?" The bass dropped and the crowd started chanting in unison, "Bitch that's that turn up, turn up!" to his song appropriately titled, "That Turn Up."
In between songs he kept addressing the crowd to spread his inspiration by delivering the same message, "Dream, Deliver, Turn Up!" Probably due to the fact that he's had overwhelming success considering he's only been rapping for about a year and a half.
Red stage lights gleamed through the crowd as Trinidad James stepped up to the edge of the stage and asked the for ladies to join him as he performed, "Females Welcomed." Although he asked for five girls, about 15 questionably young girls stepped on stage. The majority of them were blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls straight from the north Phoenix suburbs. Even Trinidad James recognized it himself, " I got a new shirt, got white girls workin', I'm good!"
Jumping off the speakers, jumping into the crowd, and smackin' asses, Trinidad James slowed it down to show his appreciation to a special handicap fan. He pulled the young boy on stage and had him open with him to his track, "Givin' No Fucks."
Nearing 1 A.M., Trinidad James ended the evening with his hit single, "All Gold Everything." In the middle of his performance he pulled out his phone and stepped from one side of the stage to the other and said, "I gotta take a moment and take pictures of my fans."
I was a harsh critic of Trinidad James before I stepped into that venue last night, possibly because he bears a striking resemblance to Jerome from the '90s sitcom Martin. His untamed Afro and missing teeth make him a rapper you can easily judge but can't overlook. The southern influence of his music mixed with that deep bass makes you typecast him as another Atlanta rapper. It's his fresh choice of beats, his style and delivery, which earned him title of the freshman of the year. Just when we thought we were past the days of ice and bling bling, Trinidad James brought rap back to that era of all gold everything.
Critic's Notebook: Last night: Trinidad James, Jonn Hart, and Kat Dahlia performed last night at the Celebrity Theater. Better Than: I could have imagined, for a rapper who just started rapping in 2011 his performance and deliver was immaculate. The Crowd: Thug-ass dudes with tattoos and flocks of beautiful blonde girls. (Must have been for Jonn Hart.) Random Notebook Dump: Don't get weed for Kat Dahlia, she's very particular about her favorite strain and will openly shit on you if you sold her shwag.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.