More than a fan. Julissa B known best as The Trophy Life has a passion for Hip Hop and knack for finding the greatest, hidden acts in the industry. Open to listening to all walks of Hip Hop, The Trophy Life is specifically determined to find the best out of her hometown, Brooklyn. Spotted Behind the Scenes with Phresher, Casanova, Desiigner & Manolo Rose to name a few; if you see an artist grace The Trophy Life‘s social media, there is a 99.9% chance they are about to take over the Hip Hop scene.
Gaining access into some of NY’s most exclusive hip hop events, you can find Julissa hanging out as a bystander at your favorite show (as seen on Yam’s Day) or casually mingling behind the scenes of a video shoot featuring the next rising star. Exclusively bringing her followers inside shows featuring A-Boogie, Rich The Kid, Dave East, G.O.O.D Music Pop Up‘s & more; The Trophy Life‘s Instagram content serves as its own digital Underground Hip Hop newspaper.
Breaking out with her intricate playlists tributing East Coast rappers on the rise and her interview series The Trophy Room, where the journalist was able to gain the exclusive story behind Money & Violence star Chyna’s departure from the infamous show, the BK native took to the Gram to introduce her latest creative segment. In The Trophy Life’s weekly Instagram Win or Bin series, artists are given a chance to showcase their latest music video and gain raw opinions from commentators, including the occasional music taste maker sliding through. Offering a platform where fans are able to voice their opinions straight in her comment section, Julissa B proves that she is not only on a quest to find the best according to her, but also taking note of what the listeners like.
Gaining the attention of some of Hip Hop’s Top Player’s such as Elliot Wilson & The Rap Radar team, Hot 97‘s notable In Flex We Trust, Global Grind, Rap Wave, Hot New Hip Hop and more, The Trophy Life shares her story with Unpopular Plug:
Where are you from & how do your surroundings inspire you?
I’m from Canarsie, Brooklyn which is a relatively nice community. I use the term relatively very lightly though, every neighborhood in Brooklyn has its cons, but being from here definitely helped expose me to the underground rap scene.
When did you know you wanted to be apart of the music industry & when did you start taking it 100% serious?
In the 4th grade I knew I wanted to be a journalist, but in Junior High I wrote an essay about Nelly’s Tip Drill video and the degradation of women and was considered for a textbook slot, and since then I didn’t want to write about anything else…. I would find a way to make my writing about Hip Hop and that’s when I knew.
What is your ultimate goal in this music industry?
To be a household name, A&R and get some of the names that I believe in put on the front page in this game. Everywhere needs someone to bridge a gap to the industry, and I’d like to provide that Avenue for Brooklyn artists, especially .
There have been several times where I’ve seen an underground artist make it to your IG then days/months later their single is in radio rotation, i.e. Cassanova, Manolo Rose & even Desiigner… How do you go about finding new music, artists that are about to pop?
Honestly, I just give people a chance. I could be anywhere…. at a showcase… in the house on SoundCloud clicking around…. on Instagram clicking around….Facebook…. or on the phone If I hear a song playing in the background, if I find a record extremely sonically pleasing I usually instantly know that it has room to grow into something huge…. when i start to see people naturally gravitating to the record it just confirms the notion I had.
& How do you go about building this connection with artists?
These days I tend follow them in their early stages of fame…. so since if I’ve been supportive of them already theres usually already a relationship there. Manolo Rose always remembers me as one of the very first blogs to post “Run Ricky Run,” and that was the record that took him to a whole new level.
Your work has been recognized by renown sites like Rap Radar, The Source what is a key piece of advice you can give to help creatives get their work picked up or go viral?
Go outside. You gotta stay on your toes. Produce content that nobody has been exposed to, new information and visuals is always going to be in demand and in this day and age literally anyone can be the supplier, so its important to find fresh and new things.
Explain a little bit about your new series on IG, where do you see this going?
It’s called Win or Bin where I handpick and select submitted video clips from underground artists, and my followers either give it Trophy or Big Red X emojis. It is in no way original or different from what other tastemakers like ItsBizkit, KollegeKidd, and DJAKademiks do when they post a video and ask “Lit Or Shit” but I wanted to give NY artists a place to go for that specifically and decided to start my own. Maybe one day soon it will be a showcase series.
One of your most memorable moments behind the scenes?
Wow. I don’t even know. Well recently I was on set of Casanova “Fucc Boy Don’t Run” shoot with Fabulous and Jeezy Mula, and that was pretty special to me because I had never met Fabolous before and being that Jeezy Mula is a next generation rapper coming out of my neighborhood it was a pretty special moment to see the veteran embracing the “who’s now” and the “who’s next.” It was dope.
How was it meeting the legendary pink bandit Cam’ron? ( I’m Jealous AF)
Man, I’ll never forget it. My moments with him always seem to top everything else I’ve ever done in life. Lol. He’s extremely approachable and being the big fan that I was a purchased a limited edition jersey at one of his pop ups the first time I met him and he hasn’t forgotten me ever since. Since then he makes me feel like his only fan the way he shows me love. He’s mad cool.
Favorite Rapper Then & Now?
Man, I have a top 3.… I love music too much to just have 1 favorite. But I love Cam’ron. He’s #1 always. Jay Z and Fabolous… But If I’m looking out for new music… Drake, A Boogie, and my unsigned NY rappers usually do it for me.
Favorite Music Video & Favorite Movie?
Favorite movie has to be Paid In Full, its one of the most iconic urban movies to date. & its hard to have a favorite Camron video because he dresses so cool in all of them but I’m going to go with “OH BOY”
If you had to pick one hip hop song as your everyday theme song, what would it be?
It’s not a song it’s a freestyle but Jay Z’s “Grammy Family” gives me a whole lot of life. I feel like there’s 100 life lessons amongst those lines…
The power of social media, is it a gift or a curse?
Definitely a gift for me because I was able to utilize it to build a platform in the game, but it’s a curse as well because it gives a lot of undeserving people an opportunity to build platforms as well.
Any misconceptions/ critiques you receive as a woman in this industry? And how do you battle bias within the industry?
People either assume you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re sleeping with someone in the realm of whatever you’re doing. I don’t befriend a lot of people. I may speak to you but we don’t have to develop a thorough relationship because people tend to think you’re supposed to like everything they do or be on their side because you’re their “friend”. There are no friends in business. So to avoid misconstruing professionalism, being polite or friendly…. I just keep a cool distance. My work is ABOUT artists… but it is not FOR the artists… it’s for the PEOPLE.
Favorite Quote to live by?
“People either have to want to be you or believe you” – Lenny S. (Senior Vice President of Roc Nation)
Because it’s so true if you want to be an individual of importance, and if you aint got IT then you ain’t got SH*T.