When Don Trip dropped a Youtube video rapping his verses to “Letter To My Child” in September of 2009, the video of the relatively unknown rapper only began to pick up views at a moderate pace. It wasn’t until two years later, after steadily growing his buzz, that Don released the official video to the song. Adding Cee-Lo Green to the hook, Don had laid enough groundwork for “Letter To My Son” to finally pop and for him to finally start getting his just due.
For some, it seems Don Trip suddenly came out of nowhere. Though, if you ask him, the last three years have been quite the grind. Now—having signed to Interscope Records in 2011 and recently released his latest single “Allen Iverson” to critical acclaim—Don’s ready to drop his most anticipated project yet.
With Memphis on his back and his new mixtape Guerrilla set to drop on Febuary 27, it’s time you get familiar. We caught up with Don Trip, to talk everything from “Allen Iverson” to signing with Interscope to mapping out the next five years. Find out how he plans to continue his recent success and why he’s so cautious of being famous.
As told to Julian Pereira (@Broadway_Jay)
His latest single “Allen Iverson”
“When I first met Cool & Dre, they asked me who I looked up to growing up. I told them I looked up to Mike Tyson, Allen Iverson, and Tupac. I felt like I knew them or that I had grown up with them, and they raised me. I always had love for A.I., no matter what. So they understood where I was coming from.
“Cool & Dre sent the beat over with the interviews already in it. I had watched those interviews when they happened. So I knew exactly what Allen Iverson was going through in those moments. I wanted to show how much he and I had in common, without knowing each other or growing up together.
“I always felt that the way we use our celebrities is a little shady. We love them when they’re hot, but when they start to fall down, we realize that they’re human and walk away from them.
“I always felt that the way we use our celebrities is a little shady. We love them when they’re hot, but when they start to fall down, we realize that they’re human and walk away from them. I wanted to show how similar our situations are, and that I’m going through the same things.
“I may not be going through it as much as Iverson was, but I’m going through a lot, coming from where I come from and walking into fame. I already know they’re going to put me on the pedestal when I’m great, but if I ever fall, they’re going to treat me like I’ve failed.
“I’ve heard that A.I. likes the record, but I don’t know if that was credible or not. It’s easy to start hearsay. Hopefully, he does. If he doesn’t, I don’t have a problem with that.”
On his upcoming mixtape Guerrilla
“Guerrilla is coming out on the 27th. It’s going to show a clearer picture of who Don Trip is. For the most part, a lot of my mixtapes are aggressive, to show people that I can spit. The Guerrilla tape is more like an album.
“Of course, I’ve got Starlito on the tape. I’ve also got 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Yo Gotti, Rocko, and Wale. I wanted to keep the collaborations to a minimum and display that I really love to do music and that it’s not just about having the best bars. Guerrilla is more about the message, and the picture I’m trying to paint. There’s more storytelling, so it’s more visual.”
Signing to Interscope
“I signed to Interscope, because I got to sit down with Jimmy Iovine. He let me know how much he believed in my music and how he really wanted to put me in a good situation. The specifics of the deal also worked out.
“I had a lot of offers on the table, and I felt like Interscope’s offer was the best offer for me. If I was signing now—as opposed to when I did—my ticket would have been higher, but I still would have chosen Interscope.”
On his five-year plan
“In five years, I’m hoping to be someone who’s expected to earn Grammy’s. I’m expecting to be in movies and do more endorsements and commercials. I’m into competing. Competing in this industry means having the biggest buzz, selling records, and being in more places. I’m working toward being the biggest name I can become.
I don’t want to be the world’s best emcee, who can outspit everybody. I’m not interested in battling or making beef records back-and-forth with rappers. I like to speak about all human emotions.
“I don’t want to be the world’s best MC, who can outspit everybody. I’m not interested in battling or making beef records back-and-forth with rappers. I like to speak about all human emotions. Instead of all my records being about me being sad or popping champagne, I want to talk about what humans actually go through.”
”My music is from my heart. It’s my therapy. If I make genuine music and don’t force it, the people will grab onto it. That’s something that the people who are in charge of radio will have to overcome.
“‘Letter To My Son’ was a record that brought the radio to me. So if I don’t have the number one record in the clubs or on the radio, it’s easy for me, because I make those records, too.”
“Personally, I hope to have my retirement plan together. Where I come from, we don’t get a 401K. I want to get my money right and make smart investments, so that my kids’ kids and their kids can benefit from what I’m doing now.”