Your guide to Soundcloud’s next trap songbird, Trippie Redd.
Lil 14 or Trippie Redd. Who is he?
Trippie Redd is an 18-year old Canton, Ohio native who grew up with a mother that loved to play Alicia Keys and Nas, a father in prison, and an older brother that was pursuing a career in music. But when his brother suddenly died in a car accident, Trippie took it upon himself to fulfill his brother’s dreams of making it in the industry. After making a few tracks with his one of his cousins (all of which have since been removed from the internet), he moved down to Atlanta where he quickly connected with Lil Wop and began to stick his name in the game. Now he’s living in Los Angeles and finding the success that he knows his brother would be proud of.
Trippie’s been frequenting the Soundcloud charts since he debuted on the platform in 2015. His first breakthrough track was a drill song called “Angry Vibes,” a song that got a lot of love from his hometown of Canton in particular. Canton is undoubtedly intertwined in his mindset and how he looks at his success. "Anybody listening to my music is a blessing," he's said. "I'm an 18-year old rapper from Canton, Ohio, the second most-dangerous small city in America, and we don't make it outta there. Ain't nobody made it outta there, but Marilyn Manson."
Trippie is currently best known for the song “Love Scars,” which has garnered over 18 million plays on Soundcloud alone-- to say nothing of Spotify and YouTube (11 million). He released his last mixtape A Love Letter To You in May of this year, to very positive reception, a project that included the aforementioned “Love Scars” as well as his other buzzing track “Romeo & Juliet,” in addition to signing to Strainge Entertainment, a label owned by the son of Universal Music Group chairman Lucius Grainge.
What’s the secret to his style?
There’s a myriad of influences to Trippie’s unique take on hip-hop. Trippie described his sound and influences in an interview with Pigeons & Planes, claiming to mesh four genres together for his own unique spin.
"I grew up listening to a lot of different music, not necessarily just rock, I did listen to rock, I did alternative rock before, that's why my style is the way it is now, I just combined it. Cause I'm versatile, so to create my own style, I combined three or four different styles and put em together. That's Trippie Redd style. Hip-hop, r'n'b, alternative rock, and basically pop."
As for the artists actually influencing him, it ranges from PartyNextDoor to Kiss to Tupac. The young rapper also takes notes from auto-tune heavy artists like Lil Wayne and T-Pain, while still being versatile and lyrical. He's been able to successfully condense all of these influences into one refined style that favors singing and melodic rap. Don’t hold him to that, however -- he’ll still jump on a hard beat with XXXTentacion and go wild given the chance.
Comparisons to Lil Uzi Vert
Nowadays if you’re going to be a singing Soundcloud rapper, there will likely be comparisons to Soundcloud's most biggest success story in Lil Uzi Vert. But for Trippie the comparisons between him and Uzi have been numerous, particularly in terms of their cadences. Even Trippie acknowledges the similarities although he also argues for their individuality (and for a collaboration): “It’s like we low-key kind of have the same cadence, but not," he told XXL. He also added that they "make total opposite music" (agree to disagree, or as you will). "I feel like [Uzi and I] just need to make music so people will shut the fuck up. They wanna see us together in some shit and then they won’t say that shit no more, I’ll be my own person."
Tattoos, music and spirituality
Look Trippie in the face and you’ll see what's quickly becoming his trademark, “Love Scars” tattoo written just below his eye as well as a “14” printed on his forehead. The “Love Scars” tattoo is frequently misunderstood to be a symbol of his first huge hit, when in reality the song is named after the tattoo. The “14” on the other hand, is symbolic of several things: 14th street where Trippie grew up, and the angels and spirituality that resides over him and his family. “14” and “1400” are recurring numbers in Trippie’s life that have become both his symbols for religion and the callsign of his rapidly growing fan base.
The Trippie Redd Future
After releasing several music videos for A Love Letter To You, Trippie’s on a rapid ascent that’s will surely be capitalized on with a debut album soon enough. However as he continues to still build up his career and fanbase, he's released a follow-up to May's mixtape, A Love Letter to You 2, as a commercially-released project this time around.
In between the two mixtape releases, he also kept his name afloat with a series of collaborations and solo cuts. He was the only feature on XXXTentacion’s album “17,” appearing on the song "Fuck Love," and also teamed up with the controversial affiliate for the remix of another one of his more popular cuts, "Uh Oh, Thots!" He was hitting the studio with Lil Wayne. He traded melodies with D.R.A.M. on the recent "Ill NaNa" maybe Trippie’s break from Soundcloud is coming faster than anyone knows.