Life As I Knew It | Trill Youngin Sonnie’s Personal Stories of Oakland

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the concept that, the things we go through in our lives change us. What’s even harder to grasp is that most times we’re unaware of these changes until we reflect back, sometimes years later, and are dumbfounded by just how little you knew back then. For Trill Youngin Sonnie, there was plenty to reflect on and he turned to music to do just that.

Story | Madison Lippincott

Trill Youngin Sonnie — one of five of the Bay Area rap group Trill Youngins, which consists of himself, Trill Youngin LayEmDown, Trill Youngin Capolow, Trill Youngin Mitche, and Trill Youngin ClearItOut — is an avid producer of “gangsta rap”, who released the rather personal album earlier this year. The seven tracks on Life As I Knew It speak to a number of events and hardships that occurred in Sonnie’s life.

The first song on the album holds the same name as the album itself: “Life As I Knew It”. A mellow intro leads into strong lyrics about perspective. Sonnie seems to be addressing an unidentifiable third party, claiming s/he can’t relate to the “pain” and struggles he has come to know in his life.

You ain’t seen what I seen nigga
You can’t feel my pain

From a city where a vest don’t work
Cause they shoot at your neck
I’d die for respect
My life was a mess

There’s quite a bit of gun talk riddled throughout this first song, and the rest of the album for that matter. This reflects on the gun violence Sonnie’s experienced firsthand on a day-to-day basis in Oakland, California, which is known to have one of the highest gun crime rates in the United States.

The second song on the album, “Street Nigga”, while a bit slower than most of the other songs on the album, tells a story of a time in his life where his choices were not ideal but also not of the selfish variety.

One day I walk up in the house with a whole lot of money
My momma like “well, where you get that from?”
Momma, just go ahead and take this money
“Not til you tell me where the hell you don got that from”
I got it from the streets baby yeah
I had no choice to be a street nigga
Been in the ghetto all my life so this is me nigga

“Street Nigga” talks about the parts of life that involved hustling hard in the streets of Oakland, California and these lyrics listed above give us insight into his intensions. It was not greed that drove young Sonnie to the streets, but circumstance and the need to help his family.

The final, and by far most popular song, on the album is “I Work For This”. This song contrasts the rest of the album in more than one way. We feel a hard, thudding beat in the rest of the album while “I Work For This” is light-hearted and reminiscent of the vibe we felt from Big Sean’s Finally Famous.

Whoa I work for this
Don’t get me started right now
I came a long way since being broke down
Whoa I started right now
Whoa just look at me now

Individual songs throughout this album have told stories of dark times in Sonnie’s life but this upbeat tune at the end of the album shows us listeners that he came through those hard times. Fixating this positive song at the end of the album sends us a message that, in the end, everything can turn around if you work for it.

This album by Trill Youngin Sonnie, as well as several other albums and singles from Trill Youngins can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.

One thought on “Life As I Knew It | Trill Youngin Sonnie’s Personal Stories of Oakland

  1. This is a fair review of the project that Trill Youngin Sonnie produced. I like the points you tapped into and highlighted. For the most part, much of what the project encompasses was I stalked about, but try taking another listen to some of the tracks because a few of the lyrics are wrong. Also, try to really feel the music, you’ll have a totally different experience if you try to imagine everything he’s speaking about.

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