Fire Starter: Don Trip
Don Trip would rather make music from his heart than chase a hit, and sure enough, trusting his instincts led the 26-year-old Memphis, Tennessee MC, to his biggest song yet. Trip wrote and recorded the Cee Lo-assisted "Letter to My Son" two years ago after quarreling with his son's mother fought over visitation rights.
"That's my whole aim as an artist, the fact that I'm human," Trip told Mixtape Daily. "We become artists and once we get a celebrity status, we start to act as if we are machines, and we're not. In real life, I cry too.
Now, thanks to the popularity of the track, Trip has signed a record deal with producers Cool & Dre and Interscope Records. " 'Letter to My Son' is 110 percent true — I'm still going through it," he admitted. "It isn't as bad as it was at first, it's a little better, but I gotta take it one day at a time."
Trip first developed an interest in rapping when he was 11; by 16, he realized he was actually good at it. During his very first studio session, Trip recorded a song in one take, a task that even veteran rappers can find daunting. The Memphis rapper had no doubt he was on to something. Trip soon began distributing his music, personally handing out free mixtapes until he built enough of a buzz to get booked for shows.
Eventually, a mutual friend would connect the up-and-coming spitter with production duo Cool & Dre, who took Trip to Interscope earlier this year. There was no denying the appeal of "Letter," but the original version of the song didn't have a chorus. "Jimmy Iovine personally asked for a hook to be added to the record," Trip revealed.
Still, Don was initially reluctant to tamper with his art and argued that the record should stay as is. After some thought, however, he realized the Interscope chairman was right; the MC suggested getting someone soulful, like Cee Lo, for the song. The decision proved to be a good call because the Goodie Mob singer's feature has given "Letter to My Son" a sound that's ripe for radio without losing its emotion and integrity.
Things are definitely looking up for Don these days. He has a bubbling single, a debut album slated for a 2012 release and he's finally getting quality time with his son. And he did it all by following his gut and baring his soul on record.
Trip added, "I feel like that's what music is missing: honesty, especially in rap music."
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