Deep Album Cuts Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
I haven't had much hip hop in this series -- largely because I do the playlists on Spotify, and almost every rapper whose career has taken place primarily in the last decade or so has done the bulk of their work on mixtapes, or on other artists' albums (the only previous rapper, in fact, was Jay-Z, who is admittedly the last guy who needs to have his deep cuts championed, so I went extra deep). But Trick Daddy is perfectly suited to this exercise: a guy well known for his singles who's never been taken too seriously as an albums artists, but whose albums have been incredibly consistent and full of underappreciated gems. Of course, he's the guy who put the word "thug" in the title of 7 consecutive albums; that's not the kind of thing that serious rap fans tend to take seriously.
Trick Daddy occupies an odd niche that puts him on the halfway point of several spectrums. He's either an unusually grimy pop rapper or a hardcore gangsta rapper with shameless commercial instincts. He hasn't quite been around long enough to be one of southern rap's real trailblazers of the early and mid-'90s, but his career peaked before the mid-'00's generation that still holds a large influence over the current state of affairs. He enjoyed a streak of 5 albums that all went gold or better, but only one got up to platinum, and he never hit that big multi-platinum level.
Since that streak ended, things went downhill -- over the last decade, he's released one last underperforming major label album, an indie album and then a mixtape, none of which made much noise at all. Other than appearing on a few DJ Khaled singles, he's just fallen off the mainstream radar. This month, he was briefly in the news a couple times, for a cocaine possession arrest, and for having some kind of run-in with Lil Wayne (apparently after Wayne had an issue with the Miami Heat and talked shit about the city, Trick took it personally). Trick Daddy has been known to have lupus for years, and so mostly people talk about how terrible he looks in his mugshot and other recent photos, which is just sad to hear. So hey, let's talk about the good music he made at his peak.
As the flagship artist of Slip-N-Slide Records, Trick Daddy Dollars presided over a crew that seemed to pattern itself after the No Limit/Cash Money model, if those labels were from Miami instead of New Orleans and based their sound on bass music instead of bounce music. But other than Trina (and, much later, Rick Ross), Slip-N-Side never worked up a big roster of stars like those labels, just a bunch of guys I've only heard when guesting on Trick Daddy albums. But with a run of singles like "Nann" and "Shut Up" and "I'm A Thug" and "In Da Wind" and "Let's Go," he almost singlehandedly built that label into a recognizable brand. And ever since I got a promo of Book Of Thugs back in 2000, I've been consistently impressed by his albums. In fact, he's one of only a handful of artists who had 2 albums on my top 100 albums of the 2000s list.
Trick Daddy Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):
1. Down Wit Da South (featuring Trina, Ying Yang Twinz and Deuce Komradz)
2. Sittin' On D's (featuring Izm)
3. Gangsta (featuring Birdman and Scarface)
4. Where U From (featuring Trina and Deuce Poppi)
5. Thug's About (featuring Dirtbag)
6. Ain't A Thug (featuring Trey Songz)
7. Thug Life Again (featuring Money Mark Diggla and Myiera B's)
8. Could It Be (featuring Twista)
9. Fuckin' Around (featuring Kase 1, Young Jeezy and T.I.)
10. Ain't No Santa
11. Ho But You Can't Help It (featuring Buddy Roe)
12. Let Me Ride (featuring Rick Ross)
13. I Wanna Sang
14. Living In A World (featuring Society)
15. God's Been Good (featuring Betty Wright's Children's Choir)
16. The Children's Song
17. SNS / Roland (featuring Deuce Poppi and Tre+6)
18. N Word (featuring C.O. and Deuce Poppi)
19. Tonight (featuring Jaheim and Trina)
20. Tryin' To Stop Smokin' (featuring Mystikal)
Tracks 11 from Based On A True Story (1997)
Tracks 14 from www.thug.com (1998)
Tracks 2, 7, 8, 11* and 20 from Book Of Thugs: Chapter AK Verse 47 (2000)
Tracks 4 and 18 from Thugs Are Us (2001)
Tracks 3, 10, 12, 15 and 17 from Thug Holiday (2002)
Tracks 1, 5, 6, 9, 13 and 16 from Thug Matrimony: Married To The Streets (2004)
Track 19 from Back By Thug Demand (2006)
* "Hoe But You Can't Help It" appeared on both his first and third albums, in the exact same form, although it was never a single. Something similar occurred with "Amerika," which was on two different albums, but was released as a single the second time.
One thing I will note, with some annoyance, is that it's gotten harder and harder to find versions of rap albums with explicit lyrics on Spotify, or distinguish them from the clean edits, and I've unfortunately only been able to find clean versions of songs from Book Of Thugs and Thug Holiday for this mix. So I apologize if you are offended by the lack of profanity on a few of these tracks.
Trick Daddy never really relied on guests for hits -- on most of his singles, the biggest guest was Trina, who became famous initially by collaborating with TDD -- but his albums were always full of great features by guys like Mystikal, Scarface, and Twista. He had DJ Khaled talk all over a track back in 2001 ("The Hotness" on Thugs Are Us), and had Rick Ross on three tracks on Thug Holiday, 4-5 years before anybody outside Miami really heard of those guys. He was really just ahead of the curve in general, giving Young Jeezy and Trey Songz their first feature credits on a major label album.
One of my favorite things about Trick Daddy is his propensity for songs featuring little kids singing on the chorus -- something that comes off corny and pandering from some rappers, but makes for an interesting contrast to TDD's rough style. "I'm A Thug" may be his greatest hit, and "Amerika" was also a dope single, but he's got 4 different deep cuts with kids on the hook, which make up tracks 14 through 17 here. And really, "The Children's Song" is the only one that I think is a little too saccharine, the rest are just straight up good songs. Trick loves the kids!
The most remarkable thing about Trick's catalog is his consistency. I never checked out the mixtape he did a couple years ago, hilariously named Dick & Dynamite, but I can really say he never made a bad album. Even the last one, 2009's Finally Famous: Born A Thug, Still A Thug, which I didn't include anything from here since it didn't have any hits, was pretty decent. And the early albums from the '90s, which I hadn't really checked out before doing this, impressed me with the quality of the production. Trick Daddy never really had a formative stage in his career, he pretty much arrived the way you know him and stayed that way, whether you love it or hate it.
Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan