DON TRIP: Memphis Heat
Now ten mixtapes deep, newcomer Don Trip is banking on being the one to set it off for his neck of the woods.
With Help Is On the Way, his upcoming debut album on Interscope to soon come, Memphis bred MC Don Trip confirms that he’s out for much more than just “venting” on wax. Trip promises to deliver a well-rounded Hip-Hop album, one that will not only put him on the map and further etch his hometown into Rap history hounds’ minds, but one that will also bring back what’s lacking in the game today—honesty. With the help of some of the top producers and hitmakers from the South, like Cool & Dre, DJ Toomp, David Banner and more, and a no-nonsense approach to how he spits, Don Trip might just win.
“Letter to My Son” is an honest record that’s getting some burn.
Are you surprised by how much attention it’s getting?
I didn’t expect people to like the record, I was just venting and it just happened to work out.
What’s the feedback been like?
It’s shocking, but I get emails from men and women. I get love from the fans that did not grow up without a father. I get it from the women who’s fathers have left. I get messages from all kinds of people, even older people.
“Don Trip” that’s a unique alias my dude, how’d you come up with that name?
I didn’t even name myself, the fans named me. It just so happens that it has a ring to it, so I kept it. The “Don” came from battle raps, and from there they kept calling me that. I can’t tell anybody that it wasn’t my name, “Stop calling me that!” You gotta take that and run with it.
Your delivery and tone is very impressive, how long did it take you to balance that out?
I recorded a lot for my own benefit. Like they say, “Practice makes perfect” after you do a couple hundred songs you’re going to find your style.
But you’re a fairly new artist, right? How long have you been rapping?
I’ve been recording since I was 16 years old, but been rapping since I was 11 years old.
So what was it that got you to take Hip-Hop seriously?
I’m a big Jay-Z and [The] LOX fan… just listening to them was pretty much all I needed.
You mentioned earlier that you use to battle-rap before making records. Was the transition from battle-rapping to recording artist difficult for you, what’s easier battling or making songs?
It’s easier to battle; you don’t even need substance. All you have to do is know how to talk about your opponent. Once I realized that in the music industry 99 percent of the battle rappers don’t survive, that kind of killed the whole battle-rap vibe because I want to survive in the music business.
So how did you link up with Cool & Dre?
I met Frank from First Family and he introduced me to Cool & Dre and from there it took off.
I understand you rep Memphis, were you born or raised there?
Both. I was born and raised there, I’ve never lived anywhere elese.
I noticed many cats put you on that top 10 list of rappers coming from Memphis. How does that make you feel as an artist?
I’m glad that people are acknowledging my music. I don’t really care on where they rate me at. But the fact that they have me in mind while they’re rating is good enough for me.
Let’s talk about subject matter. Being from Memphis, which is known for its Blues, is it natural for you to stay within that frame of mind? Does it influence you at all?
I honestly never listen to Blues. Experiences in life inspire my words, most of my lyrics are actually weighing on me at that moment, when I write them.
Why talk about some of the subjects you discuss on your records now? What’s pushing or inspiring you to do so?
When I’m gone, I want my music to serve as my audio-biography. I want people to be able to listen to my music and clearly see who I am in all shades. I want my music to keep me alive, so I keep my music filled with real life.
So what separates Don Trip from the rest that are out here in the game?
You feel like a lot of rappers are not honest?
Yeah, I don’t want to give out any names or point any fingers, but the music business lacks honesty.
So is honesty your spiel? Bringing honesty back to Hip-Hop and in what ways?
I believe honesty is a big piece of Hip-Hop’s puzzle that’s been discarded. I’m not aiming to be a depressing artist, I simply intend to show EVERYTHING, not just the shiny parts.
What projects do you have dropping this summer?
I have a Step Brotha project that just dropped on July 25th with my step brother Starlito. After that, I got the Gangsta Grillz and after that, I couldn’t tell you. I never stop recording.