After instructing the hip-hop nation to "Shut Up" last year, Trick Daddy has taken a more welcoming approach with Thugs Are Us, scheduled to arrive in stores on Tuesday.
The first single from the follow-up to 2000's Book of Thugs: Chapter A.K., Verse 47 is "Take It to Da House," a party cut featuring many of Trick Daddy's Slip-N-Slide labelmates, including Trina and Money Mark.
Originally scheduled to be a compilation album, Thugs Are Us was restructured as a Trick Daddy release to heighten its profile.
"It's still like a compilation," Trick Daddy said, "but we needed to get everybody else on the label seen."
The man best-known for the club-friendly "Nann" single, which was culled from his 1998 album, www.thug.com (see "Trick Daddy On The Meaning Of 'Nann'"), also had a modest hit in 2000 with the politically charged "Amerika," a Book of Thugs song also included on Thugs Are Us. Regardless of the topic, the Miami rapper composes his lyrics the same way.
"As long as the beat is right, I'm fine," he said. "I like to write to the beat. The beat determines how I'm going to write."
Another one of Trick's inspirations is Trina, the sultry female who plays up her sexuality in many of her raunchy raps. Their back-and-forth helped "Nann" become an underground sensation and set the stage for Trina's solo career, which was launched last year with the release of her first album, Da Baddest Bitch (see "Trick Daddy Helps Out On Trina's Debut").
"She's the baddest bitch and I'm a thug," Trick said. "The chemistry is right. It's like we're meant for each other. Plus, you've seen her. How could you resist working with her?"
Prurient interests aside, Trick doesn't completely shed his hardcore image on Thugs Are Us. The collection's second single, "I'm a Thug," follows in the footsteps of "Amerika." Both feature what sounds like a children's choir on the chorus, while Trick Daddy explains what it's like to be a thugged-out black man in America. On the former, the children sing "I know one thing/ that this is the life for me/ ... wouldn't change it for the world," while on the latter, they opine, "Our country 'tis of thee/ land of liberty/ but that'll never be/ no way, not in Amerika."
Next up for Trick Daddy is work on sets from labelmates Deuce Poppi and Trina, both scheduled to release albums by the end of the summer. Trick, who also has a song on the "Exit Wounds" soundtrack (also due in stores on March 20), will be working on his fifth album this year. Regardless of where work takes him, Trick Daddy says he'll always be a proud Miami resident.
"There's no other place like it," he said. "Some places' clubs, by the time things get going, they're shutting down. Miami never sleeps. They've got the after-hour places that stay open until noon. You can't beat that. And, the women."