After moving from the dreary Cleveland winters out to L.A., Ohio-native Chip Tha Ripper is finally seeing what it’s like to live like a rapper—even if he’s really not sure how. In the past four years, he’s released three mixtapes—including 2009's The Cleveland Show and last years Gift Raps. However, he's still probably best known for occasionally playing wingman to fellow Ohio-native Kid Cudi.
Chip's hook on Cudi’s “Hyyerr” off Man On The Moon may have earned him a gold plaque, but now it’s his time. His new mixtape, Tell Ya Friends, dropped earlier today right here at Complex. Plus, he's gearing up to drop his full-length debut sometime this year.
The new mixtape has his son's face gracing the cover and features songs like “25 Wives” (which boasts a guest spot from Wale) and the Lex Luger–produced “Out Here." We figured it was the perfect time to get on the horn with the 25-year-old to talk about Tell Ya Friends, being unsigned, and what Kanye West told him at SXSW.
Interview by Lauren Nostro (@LAURENcynthia)
The making of “25 Wives”
“I got that dumb idea [to do] "25 Wives." Nobody ever touched on that topic of having however many wives in a fresh aura like that.
“I ran into Wale at one of Kid Cudi’s shows at the Roseland Ballroom, this was during the beginning of [The Cud Life Tour]. I didn’t even recognize Wale. He was like, ‘What’s up, Chip?’ I’m like ‘Oh, damn—what’s up Wale?’ It just clicked right away and he was like, ‘Let’s just do something.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m down with that.’
“We end up leaving New York [before making the song]. So I emailed ‘25 Wives’ directly to him and he sent it right back to me. So that was really fresh, 2012 style.
I had people calling me from the hood. I didn’t even know these guys knew what Complex was. They calling me like, ‘I heard Complex released the ‘25 Wives’ with you and Wale, that’s crazy!’ I’m like, ‘Huh? You know how to use the Internet?’ [Laughs.] I don’t think it could’ve been that big without Complex dropping that.
“[I dropped the song] right on time with Wale’s album—that’s really the sole reason I released it when I did. A few days before his album dropped, I hit him like, ‘Yo I want to release ‘25 Wives’ to get my fans ready for your album.’ He was like, ‘Let’s go.’ Then we just dropped it and it was crazy. Of course I wanted to do a video but [it’s tough] with us being at different places at all times.
“That song went pretty far [despite] not being pushed by a record label. A lot of the stuff we do, you would think we were on a label too because sometimes we have way more downloads or views than some of the guys that are signed to the majors.
“I had people calling me from the hood. I didn’t even know these guys knew what Complex was. They calling me like, ‘I heard Complex released the ‘25 Wives’ with you and Wale, that’s crazy!’ I’m like, ‘Huh? You know how to use the Internet?’ [Laughs.] I don’t think it could’ve been that big without Complex dropping that.
“From me getting on both of Cudi’s albums to whatever it’s just like, ‘Oh hey man, why don’t we do that?’ It’s not me hounding anybody or being annoying, hitting [people] up constantly. It’s better like that.”
The making of “Out Here”
“Lex Luger hit me up and was telling me he was a fan of my music. I was like, ‘Whoa. That’s what’s up.’ He didn’t hesitate at all, he just sent me a folder filled with nice beats. I’m like, ‘Let’s record this.’
“‘Out Here’ is the type of song I used to make when I first hit the scene. Since then, I’ve been trying to make a lot of different types of music so people can’t put me in a box and say he only does this or only does that.
“I recorded to the song in the summer of 2011. It’s been done that long but I just decided that I wanted to release it. It’s a fishing rod to reel everybody in to Tell Ya Friends because it's got a different sound than Gift Raps or The Cleveland Show.
“With ‘Out Here’ it’s bringing it back to those fans that fell in love with that type of Chip. To work with Lex Luger—who was going HAM with Jay-Z and Kanye West and so many other crazy records—that’s amazing. Shout out to Lex, that’s the homie.”
On his new mixtape, Tell Ya Friends
“With Tell Ya Friends, I picked the best songs I’ve been recording lately. Right now, I got like over 100 songs. I’m letting some of the good ones really go and giving everybody music that will make them make the face my son makes on the cover of the promo.
I got that picture and I was like, ‘We gotta use this as the cover.’ You can’t look at it and not investigate it. You have to see what this is when you see this picture. That’s really why his face [is on there]. I want everybody’s face to be [like that] when they listen to the music.
“I got that picture and I was like, ‘We gotta use this as the cover.’ You can’t look at it and not investigate it. You have to see what this is when you see this picture. That’s really why his face [is on there]. I want everybody’s face to be [like that] when they listen to the music.
“Lex Luger’s got some production on there, so does my best friend Duke and my other friend Rami Beatz. Dot da Genius, who produced "Day ‘n’ Nite" and the whole WZRD album, [produced some tracks on there].
“I actually got a record that’s nothing but house music. Chuck Inglish gave me this beat and it was just so fresh I had to do something with it. It’s a record with no rap. I just ad-lib the whole thing. I named it the ‘Art of Motion’ because you can’t sit still when you hear this record.You just have to move. [Laughs.]
“I’ve been producing for myself lately. I have my own studio and I engineer my own records. I been sitting with Hi-Tek watching everything he’s been doing for two years in a row. He taught me and that led me to production.“
On being unsigned
“I’m a guy off the street making music. I’m not contractually bound to anyone on God’s green earth. I’m blessed to have the same opportunity as everybody else who’s in the game.
I could definitely see myself [signing a record deal] that’s suitable. I been having offers from you name it for years. I remember the first time I ever got offered a serious record contract it was with Barry Weiss.
“People are now considering me a rapper. It’s new for me because when I first started, all I wanted was to hear my songs being played in people’s cars around the hood. I never thought it would ever go past that. Now, it’s past that and I don’t really know what to do.
“I don’t know what a rapper does, how he lives, what he’s like. I’m not familiar with being a rapper. I’m just a guy who is good at making music. I always feel like I’m a new artist no matter what. It’s cool to be able to work and not really have to care.
“I could definitely see myself [signing a record deal] that’s suitable. I been having offers from you name it for years. I remember the first time I ever got offered a serious record contract it was with Barry Weiss.
“He flew me to New York and put us up in Times Square. Then we came to Jive when he was at Jive and we played him a bunch of records. We had a real good time in that office. We was smiling, cracking jokes, and he was telling us about different times he was in Ohio. I would definitely consider signing with Barry Weiss. As long as it’s good, I’ll do it.”
His upcoming debut album, Charles Worth
Kanye told me he was willing to help out on my album—which is amazing. Him and Cudi pulled me to the side and said, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna get some work in for your album.’
“I’m recording for my album as well. My album—it’s not no date set right now but were aiming for the summer 2012. Me and Cudi have been working on it. The album is gonna be called Charles Worth—that’s my real name.
“Kanye told me he was willing to help out on my album—which is amazing. It was at South by Southwest when he did that G.O.O.D. Music showcase. Him and Cudi pulled me to the side and said, ‘Yeah we’re gonna get some work in for your album.’
“Kanye’s the type of person that will say no to you. I was really humbled by the fact that he was down with working on my project. I’m nervous because I just want people to like it as much as I do—or as much as they should. I always get nervous before I drop a project.