Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ’Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Trinidad James is more than his “All Gold Everything” single. At the height of that song’s popularity, he toured with Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, B.O.B., and Joey Badass & Pro Era. Most of those artists went on to define the last decade of hip hop, making that tour a rare moment in time. For James, it was a crash course in his place in the culture.
“It felt like college. It was like I was a freshman, and they were sophomores and juniors. Tyga is a well-experienced artist. Wiz is the same, too,” REVOLT TV’s “DADvice” host told us. “They’ve done a lot of stuff. With me knowing that, I knew I was truly a rookie in all aspects of the term ‘rookie.’ But, you got freshmen that play on the varsity.”
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Trinidad James discusses his concerts; why he, Rocky, and Wiz didn’t share fashion tips on tour, and more. Read below!
‘All Gold Everything’ turns eight years old this year. What was that first live show like after the song came out?
It was incredible. I still know some of those guys that were at that show turning up. When you make a song, you’re only giving your perspective as much as you can give it. Once you give your perspective on the track and put it out, everything else is left up to the consumer to receive it and give their perspective back about it. Imagine me, being a new artist, making a new track, putting it out, and then going to perform it, which is a whole other medium. There are people who are really good in the studio, but the stage is a completely different animal. With that being said, I got to see when you really got the people, it’s going to show on stage.
You put the video out for All Gold Everything in October 2012 and four months later, you were already on a solo tour. How was that first tour and what did you learn?
I learned everything I needed to as far as the ups and downs of dealing with people. Not just the consumer, but also staff, friends, and family. You really got to understand people. When you become the person with the ball, it’s almost like soccer. When you have the ball, everyone’s looking at you, so everything that you do is calculated from so many different perspectives. It’s out of your control, but you have to make it count. I got to really understand the game.
You wore a ski-mask at Masquerade in Atlanta during that tour.
One of my first shows I wore a ski-mask to the venue with no shirt. That’s not me making a fashion statement. That’s me being like, ‘This is what I want to do today because I’m in my own world.’
On that first tour, what was the wildest fan reaction you saw?
I’ve seen pretty much everything you can see from nudity to fights. In the Bay, the radio station does a big show and brings out a bunch of artists. I remember performing one of the more mellow and chill tracks, this guy started a mosh pit fight. I was like, ‘How is this happening? How is this music playing and that’s happening?’ So, I was like, ‘Well, let me switch this song to match their fight.’
One of my favorite shows you did in that first year was at Santos in NYC in December 2012 when the A$AP Mob came out. A$AP Yams, J. Scott and everyone were there.
Wow. Then, you saw one of the greatest things in hip hop with your own eyes. That was incredible, right?
That was a special moment in the early 2010s hip hop. What was that night like? How did that performance come together?
A$AP Rocky had done a show in Atlanta (on November 14, 2012 at Tabernacle) and brought me out before I had ever come to New York. By the time I came to NYC for the first time for that Santos joint, it was the biggest thing at that moment. There was nothing more important in hip hop at the time than that particular night. I felt it was only right for me to bring them out and show love. You got to see the madness. That was crazy.
It was also special because the late A$AP Yams was on stage with you. Did you two have any interactions at the show?
Yeah, it was love. There’s a picture people remind me of every year of him and me from a long time ago. If you couldn’t talk to Rocky consistently, Yams was the person who would keep relationships that need to happen. He was that guy. He was the glue to everything. We weren’t super, super close friends. But, he respected my craft and how I was doing my thing on the business angle because it was so different than everyone else.
The ‘Under the Influence Tour’ in 2013 with you, Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, B.O.B and Joey Bada$$ was also pivotal. What was that tour like?
It was cool. For me, it felt like college. It was like I was a freshman, and they were sophomores and juniors. Wiz is a well-experienced artist. They’ve all done a lot of stuff. With me knowing that, I knew I was truly a rookie in all aspects of the term rookie. But, you got freshmen that play on the varsity. I felt like a freshman playing on varsity.
You all are also fashionable dudes. Were there any style tips being shared on tour?
Not necessarily. If you saw someone come out on stage, then you saw what they wore that night. We kind of kept it to ourselves for the most part. I wore so many crazy things on that tour. Out of Rocky, Wiz, or myself; the things I was wearing wasn’t even fashion. It was more, ‘What is he doing?’ Rocky is more formal. He’s always neat no matter what he’s wearing. It could be dirty, but it’s still going to be neat because he’s a neat person. Wiz is a mixture of hippie, ratchet, and elegant when he wants to be. Out of us three, we kept our fashion tips to ourselves because we all got a lot of pride, especially back then. I come from fashion. I was a stylist before the music stuff. I’m sure Wiz had his own opinion and Rocky, as well.
Over the years, what has been on your rider?
A bottle of champagne, a bottle of Hennessy for my DJ, pack of waters, granola bars; and mild, crispy wings all flat.
What songs of yours besides ‘All Gold Everything’ get the best reactions live?
‘Females Welcome,’ ‘$hut Up,’ ‘Dad,’ and I have unreleased songs that be having people go crazy.
You recently dropped your new song ‘Jame$ Woo Woo’ with the 1970s funk fashion style. Is that indicative of what your upcoming live show will look like?
You have to pop out and see. When we do the live show for this tour, I’m really putting everything into it because I spent the time to become a better artist and a better entertainer. It’s going to be a great time.
What are some things you’ve learned and will bring to your upcoming tour?
I’ve learned to stop making all of the attention about me. If you want to get a job done, you need to get the best people. You know you’ll never be Michael Jackson or Chris Brown. So, why don’t you hire great dancers, a great band, and just focus on doing what you love, which is to perform? The new project and music are crazy. We’re putting it all on the line.