Over the past few years, King Chip, a/k/a Chip tha Ripper, has established himself as a solid emcee and managed to put an increasing amount of spotlight on Cleveland. Now, in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Chip discusses his hometown's Hip Hop scene. Chip said that he believes that while Cleveland's industrial economy has made music less of a priority for residents, the city's scene is growing stronger on a daily basis.
"Cleveland Hip Hop is very active man. It's lot of great talent still cooking up, still brewing up in Cleveland," he said. "It's a really industrial city, so it's hard like when you do music in Cleveland, people are like, 'Yeah, whatever.' When you go to LA or Atlanta or New York and you say you do music, they're like, 'Oh, okay - it's like your thing.' It's not really a thing in Cleveland, you have to make it your thing."
Chip also discussed the meaning behind his new name and why he decided to change it from Chip tha Ripper. He explained that he had actually been given his first moniker while battle rapping, but after years of building his brand, he wanted to change his name to reflect something more positive.
"Well really, Chip tha Ripper was never [my name]; I didn't pick that name fore myself," he explained. "Chip tha Ripper was given to me [when] I used to battle rap in high school, and I just was Chip. Chip was my dad's name, so I was Lil' Chip. My real name is Charles. But anyway, I got on the battle rap scene in the city…and [people were like], 'We're just gonna call him Chip tha Ripper.' I thought that was whack, but it stuck…[later], I got approached by an agent at the CAA by the name of Carol Lewis, and she had interest in bringing me into the CAA. That's when I was kind of like, 'Man, I want to change my name.' I wanted to stay with my 'Chip,' but at the same time, I wanted to be inspirational. I turned my name to 'King Chip' to let people know that I know my worth. I think that's important for people to let other people know that they know their own worth, because without that, you've goth other people taking advantage of you."
Finally, Chip discussed his relationship with fellow Cleveland rapper and frequent collaborator Kid Cudi. He said that watching Cudi's career has taught him the importance of maintain his artistic integrity above all else, as opposed to putting out a glut of music.
"From watching Cudi for so long, i just learned to not spread myself so thin," he said. "I haven't taken [my music] and ran with it, but I use it a lot, therefore, when you do hear King Chip, it's like, 'Oh shit,' know what I mean? The Internet has made is so where a song is only new for two weeks. After two weeks, they don't care what it is - that's not right. This is my way of fighting back. I want people to really take in my music for what it is."
Check out the full interview below.