But according to James, if you’re criticizing him, it’s because you just don’t get him.

“My success came so fast — and it’s different,” James says modestly. “A lot of times in life when we don’t understand something, 8 out of 10 times, we’re gonna go negative before we go positive. It’s very rare that something happens that you don’t understand and you [respond with] ‘Oh, that’s good.’ You’re gonna think it’s bad because you don’t understand it. And with misunderstanding, comes negative thoughts. That’s just how life is. It’s something to get used to. But it is what it is. I gotta do me.”

The mantra of “I gotta do me” came up a lot in a conversation with Trinidad James. And that phrase seems to be the unofficial slogan of a new generation of hip-hop stars who believe in themselves and their abilities. Regardless of how much older fans and media may pine for the genre’s “golden age” of the 1980s and 1990s, a brash new crop of artists are doing it their way. And they could care less how you feel about it.

Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    As Dr. Carter G. Woodson said in 1933, ”At this moment, then, the Negro must begin to do the very thing which they have been taught that they cannot do.”

  • ATL

    Munston: what in the HELL are you babbling about? Who are YOU to decide how an athlete or celebrity should make their money??? Who are YOU to decide that ALL athletes and celebrities are responsible for the economic growth of African-Americans, are you kidding me???? You really think Dr. Dre, who had to partner with THREE WHITE MALES to get Beats By Dre done is a better business man than Jay Z??? A man who partially owns an NVA team, a stadium and now his own publishing rights to his entire music catalog???
    You sound like a hater and I’m pretty sure if Rolling Out could actually get one of these artists on the cover, you would keep your mouth shut.

    • munson steed

      Collective progress is a part of everyones responsibility. Here to keep communicating about collective progress.
      You sound like a Haters. What is a nva team?

      There is always a problem with calling issue to a few who benefit while many suffer. Their success is not yours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terryirvingrocks Terry Irving

    Mr Steed as with every issue there are the “haters” Yours is a call to action..a friendly neighborhood reminder. Now see if you was saying the same ISH that Corney West and Tabby Smelly(Tavis Smiley) against President Obama i bet this “aTL”(by the way be a man and stop trolling anonymously) would be clapping cause the Devil loves hate.

  • iluvblackwomen

    I would have to agree with Terry Munson did an excellent job as an INSIDER who works with the corporate side and entertainment i didnt read any put down or ”shade” but rather a call to action! ATL needs to show some true brotherhood so he can be positive vs negative. If you aint a part of the solution you ARE a part of the Problem!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/theresamackdiva Theresa Mack

    I just think when someone in the industry speaks up we all should be saying thank you for your courage. Stop the silence because silence is deadly oh yea ck out my blog on my FB. xox