Album Walk: The City is Ours by Trinity – Chicago, IL

Behind ever album there is a story. These stories make the album worth so much more to the artist. For this reason when a bad review is written, it’s hard for the artist to understand why. Because of this we have created an interview format that will take the artist through the each story that brought them to the completion of an album.  The goal is to help bring the artist’s fan closer to the artist and hopefully help to make the fan feel the same as the artist when the album succeeds and or fails.
SonicBids/iMoveiLive Contest Winner: Trinity
Take us back to the beginning of your most resent album. Please give us the reason why you band started writing this album? What album are we talking about?
I made my album The City is Ours because there are a ton of artists I wanted to collaborate with in my hometown Chicago. It’s not easy to collaborate with a lot of different artists on one album. I say that because as an artist you want your album to have certain cohesiveness.  Some song features just don’t work for your concept or tone of the project.  I figured if I made a collaboration album with all the Chicago artists that I wanted to work with then the listener would expect to hear varying styles and beats. I tied together all of the artists who were featured on the album by using a Chicago theme.  Around the time of the album’s release no labels or big industry media were paying Chicago any attention.  The album was released May 2012. So I named the album The City is Ours as a way for the world to know that we represented Chicago’s Hip Hop scene.  It’s now October 2012 and as we all know Chicago is “The hottest city for hip hop” as said by MTV2in their recent Chicago Hip Hop documentary.

What was the first song that was written for this album and did it make the final cut. If it did and or did not make the album please tell us why?
The first song I wrote for my album The City is Ours is a track called Odds & Evens.  This song is now my biggest record to date. I was inspired to write the song after I got fired from my gig.  My supervisor at my gig couldn’t understand me, to say the least. I just use my work life to support my music life. Odds & Evens lyrics speak about being looked at as odd in character and using success to get even with the people who told you that your dream was too different to be realistic.  My homey ROE added a verse to the track and it was perfect. I was later inspired to shoot a video for the record as well. I shot the video months later after recording the song.  I had never released the song and decided to do a straight to video single release. I initially second guessed myself when I came up with the idea to shoot the video in Chicago’s Millennium Park.  I was afraid that I was thinking too big and outside of my capabilities. I would soon attend the Jayz and Kanye West Watch the Throne concert which changed my outlook on creating compelling visuals. That concert is visually the best concert I have ever seen.  I followed through with the video for a 3day shoot during below 0 Chicago weather. And that video definitely changed my career as an artist.

Tell us about how the first melody for the album was created? What brought the idea? Was it a drum hit, was it a synth? What brought it to your mind?
My homey is a producer that goes by the name Int’l Mc. He emailed me a bunch of beats and this one stood out the most. It’s a dope sample. The beat was like the perfect soundtrack for the way I felt at the moment.  Later in the studio my engineer DC added some change ups to the beat that made the song more dope.
So, how did the overall concept of the Album come about?
Overall, I had met so many dope artists in the past couple years from Chicago who I hadn’t had the chance to collaborate with. I decided to make a whole album full of the collaborations. I developed the theme by using interludes of Chicago local news, both Sinatra’s and the Blues Brothers Chicago themed songs and the early 90’s Chicago Bulls championship player introductions. Majority of the song topics on the album spoke on Chicago’s current state. We made songs addressing the murder rate in our city, local political corruption, and more. If you listen to that album you’ll get a good feel for Chicago in this snap shot of time.

So, any funny stories that happened during the creation of this album?
I created a song called Chicago Summer with my homey and Mc Griffen. The song discusses the high murder rate in Chicago. We wanted the video to be very political and defiant. We shot one of the scenes with me sitting on a police car. It was funny because we were nervous as ever. The police cars were in front of the police station. Every time a police officer would ride by we would almost run off, nervous that they would swipe the video director’s equipment. Oddly enough none of the officers stooped us and we got a very disrespectful shot for the video lol. My guy Griffen was supposed to have that scene for his verse but he was totally against a possible arrest.
What were some of the hardest parts in creating this album, from writing the lyrics to selecting the studio to record?
The hardest part of making The City is Ours was recording it.  Studio time costs money and in order to save as much of the budget as possible I had to make sure that each artists were ready and available for the time slot we booked. Aside from that, all of the artists lived in different parts of the city and we had to get a central meeting spot that worked for everyone on the track we’d be recording. There was a ton of cancelations and artists who uncommitted their contributions to the album. The artists that you hear on the album are the ones who stuck it out with me.
What song means to the most and why does it mean the most?
Chicago Summer means the most to me. I wrote that song for my city. The young black youth are murdering each other in Chicago at an increasing rate.  That song talks about how it feels to live in my city during these times. The video we created was just as compelling as the lyrics. We shot it in the cemetery and at the police station.  We used the Chicago flag as the centerpiece of the video and captured some very dope black and white images of the people who represent the flag.

Is there a story behind the artwork?
The artwork for The City is Ours is very simple. It’s just me with a picture of my neighborhood in the back. I wanted all the visuals to show Chicago. The back cover for the art is a picture of the city skyline.

How was the first single selected and why was it selected? Did you flip a coin, did management tell you to pick it? You know management always has final say. lol
The first single was actually Chicago Summer. I had written it back in summer 2011. The 1st and 2nd time I released the song it honestly went unnoticed. It wasn’t one of my songs that got a lot of feedback or a lot of attention at all. It wasn’t until the video dropped that the city and my fans really paid attention to the message. The video helped notch my career up a level. It made the impact that I wanted which was to bring attention to the violence in my city.
Was there some thought going through your mind when selecting the order each song would play?
It’s always hard to pick song order. You definitely want to grasp the listeners’ attention as soon as they turn on the album. The interludes I used made the song order a little easier.  One of the dopest sequences on the album is the transition from the song Nightmare into a news interlude into Chicago Summer. All three tracks transition and tie into each other nicely. I had listeners acknowledge that as a creative point of the album.
What was the first thought when the album was completed and you listen to it all the way through?
When I first heard the album I thought it turned out exactly how I envisioned. The features were perfect for each individual concept and beat. I feel like the album really represented Chicago musically. Here,  we listen to a lot of soul music. We like a lot of 70’s and 80’s music where the singers song with a lot of passion. We have a dance we do to that type of music called “stepping.” The beat selection on the album definitely speaks for our culture here.

How was the first review for the album?
The first review had dope feedback. A lot of people told me that The City is Ours has a classic Chicago vibe.  It feels good to hear that because it’s exactly what we wanted to do.
After all that hard work, did you accomplish your goal?
The goal of the album was to collaborate with all my friends and fellow artists I’ve met throughout the years and also to speak for my city. We definitely accomplished that.
 Thank you so much for this great interview. Good luck to you Trinity!!!

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