As a young Clevelander battling in the underground scene in junior high, Chip Tha Ripper ripped his way through the Rap scene, as well as the tough streets of the Midwest. It was never a hard task to fulfill with his always-cool demeanor, and his vicious-comical flow. When thinking of Cleveland, Ohio, his mentor Kid Cudi and the legendary group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony may come to mind; however, the “Prince of Cleveland” is taking over and creating his own legacy one day at a time. Since being in the game since 2006 with a few very popular mixtapes under his belt, and a debut album in the works, Cleveland’s Finest wants to live up to his many titles. Whether you know him as the Prince of Cleveland, Cleveland’s Finest, Charles Worth, or simply Chip, you will take heed to the talented artist named Chip Tha Ripper.  

DXNext caught up with the S.L.A.B. Entertainment artist in the midst of his tour with Kid Cudi to find out where his dreams began, the meaning behind his name, spending time with Kid Cudi, and the goods on his debut album. Welcome to the world of Chip. Fasten your seatbelt, and enjoy the trip.

Dreams of Holding The Mic: “I kind of always envisioned myself, you know growing up on the Eastside of Cleveland, I kind of always envisioned doing it but I didn’t really take it seriously, it was always in the back of mind, I kept doing what I was doing till I was 12. That was when I knew that I really wanted to rap. I still didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I wanted to do it, and not do anything else.”

Chip Tha Ripper: “I didn’t come up with it, I used to do some battle rappin’ throughout the city when I was younger, and I went to some club on the Westside of Cleveland, and they had something called ‘spit boxing.’ It was basically battle rapping, but they gave it a cool named called ‘spit boxing.’ So I would go to that and that’s how I would earn my name. They would ask for my name and I would just say ‘Chip’ because that’s my dad’s name. I got up there, did my thing, then they started calling me Chip Tha Ripper, and I didn’t really like it but it kind of spread throughout the little underground community. They was like, ‘Yo there’s this new cat named Chip Tha Ripper coming in the scene, coming in the battle spots making himself known.’ That was still when I was in junior high school, I hadn’t even hit high school yet. Really, throughout school is how a lot of stuff spread. One school would hear, then the next school would hear. I started a little movement with not only myself, but a couple other artists that were around. I always thought it was a little cheesy. I just had to roll with that because it was how I was being identified. My name would be on the list at the clubs as ‘Chip Tha Ripper’ so I had to say that name to get in, so I said, ‘Cool, I’ll just roll with it for now.'” 

Cleveland Style: “I think my style just comes from my brain. It’s not really a lot of influence around me to even go off of, because when you from Cleveland and you say, ‘Hey I do music,’ people look at you and don’t really take you serious because the economy isn’t fit for someone to actually prosper off of music here. So it’s a whole different thing. It wasn’t a whole lot of people coming up the same time I was, so I couldn’t take their style. When you think of Cleveland, you think of [Bone Thugs-N-Harmony]. I didn’t really have anything to start with; we really started from the ground up.”

Holding Cleveland On The Back: “Wherever you’re from, whatever you’re doing, you’re going to represent where you come from. That’s how society looks at their roots. I think when people see me they see Cleveland. I don’t try to make that my number one goal, to represent Cleveland, but I do recognize that I have a certain responsibility to where I’m from, to represent right. I think it’s all going to come together. I definitely had that mind state of putting Cleveland on my back.”

Cleveland Browns Fan?: “Yeah, I’m a [Cleveland] Browns fan. I’m not going to leave them high and dry. I still believe in them. We just got to get out there and get to work. We gotta get our heads straight; we’ll get it.”

Competition Between Native Clevelanders: “It’s really kind of ying and yang with me and [Kid] Cudi man. He comes from a not far part of a town from me. I learned a lot from Cudi, and I’m sure Cudi has learned from me. It’s really just like, what next level can we take it to? The level he is at right now, opposed to the level I am at right now…he’s really going through a lot. He’s really done a lot of little grind moves…he did a lot of things that I wouldn’t have to do. It’s really just kind of like we got a tag team, we really just roll. There’s really no competition at all. We really are on the same team, killin’ ‘em. It’s really cool, when our duo album comes out, people are really going to know what’s up and see what’s been the fuss the whole time.”

Favorite Experience Touring with Kid Cudi: “I can’t name you my one favorite, but I can name you some highlight moments. When he introduced me to Snoop Dogg on this past tour, just chillin’ with Snoop. He [Kid Cudi] calls me over there and says, ‘Yo this is Chip from album on the song “Hyyerr,”‘ and Snoop is next to me and goes, ‘Oh, this him? What’s up, what’s up.’ Man, that shit was like a movie. But I’m not really a star-struck kind of person, I believe we all got talent, but I do recognize status. I definitely know what time it is. I know when I’m in front of the godfather. But it’s all love. The whole tour has been an experience really. The tour bus…that’s kind of new to me, and it’s kind of like second nature for him [Kid Cudi]. I’m just not getting into the swing of things. He got to do things before me, so I don’t have to bump my head as much as he did, and I don’t gotta make mistakes like he did. He’ll tell me, ‘Yo that’s going to be a waste of time,’ or ‘Yeah, you should do that.’ 

Underground Hip Hip Versus Maintstream: “I always want to tie myself with the bottom. I always want to identify myself with the ambition to get on top. When people say ‘underground,’ they look at it as like not good enough or not as good… as major, and I don’t believe that’s true. I believe it’s the other way around. I always believe that I don’t want to peak; I don’t want to get to that top point where it’s like I can’t get no higher because if you are in a room full of people, and you tell someone about Chip Tha Ripper, you’re cool, you’re a cool person. Because you told other people about someone who is not all the way on top where everybody can see him, but yet he’s good. So with people with your taste of music, they’re going to go tell 10 other people what they heard from you. I am able to make someone cool in the room. And as long as you are able to make someone cool, you’re always going to be rolling. So I really don’t have any rush to get mainstream, I’m fine right here where I’m at. If it just bubbles over like that, then it bubbles over like that but I’m not going to just be like, ‘Okay, I’m a mainstream rapper, and now I have to do mainstream shit.’ I always want to be organic, and I always want to have my style and be real. Like you could have did this, but I just did it. Some of my photos I take for my iTunes songs, I use Photo Booth on the Apple computer like anyone else could have did, but I just did it. It gives it that feeling. I think a lot of Rap has lost its feeling, lost its reality. It’s kind of blown out of proportion, with imagination, a lot of different other things that kind of just are the average person. Those are my bosses; the everyday average people that want to hear good music, I got to be able to relate to them in a stronger way. I want to make then want to play my music. I want them to get in tune with me. I think that’s the best way; to keep cool.”

The Almighty Glory Us: “Definitely songs recorded. We gotta get it right, it’s gotta go down in history. It’s gotta be like [Dr. Dre’s] The Chronic and that’s a high aim, but why would you not aim high? It’s definitely going to be something brand new that hasn’t been heard before. It’s going to be good and fresh.”

Chuck Inglish: “Me and Chuck [Inglish] just got together and it was really a thing where I’d be in Chicago, and we would just record a little this, a little that, and then me and Chuck came up at the same time with…we were just going to do an EP. All his beats, all my raps. It’s really just to show people what you’re sleepin’ on. Chuck is a very talented dude. And I told you about peaks and reaching peaks…Chuck understands what I understand about that. Where we are at right now is perfect to get together, and let ‘em know what two guys you are sleeping on can come up with. That’s really the whole reason why we came together with Gift Raps. A lot of people was sleepin’ on really good music, focusin’ on the wrong areas. We want to wake people up to let ‘em know where to look. We just came up with the idea to do Gift Raps, just me and him.”

Gift Raps:We have recorded songs into teams. We not sure about the release date yet, there’s a lot of different little situations coming out of the blue that we have to deal with, that’s part of Gift Raps. So it’s hard to put a date on it right now; we don’t want to miss out on any opportunities and play chess with the album. If we do release it, it’ll be my first album, so we gotta treat it like my first album. We can’t just put it out in a week. When people look back on what I did and my legacy, I want them to see everything right and see it done proper.”

From Me To You: “From Me To You was just…I don’t like to go to long without giving my fans some music.  I’m probably spoiling them, but at times my art changes up, and I feel like I need to keep the people that go out of their way to follow what I’m doing, I feel like I owe them effort to let them know what’s going on with me musically. I try not to go over a year without putting out music. From Me To You is really like an appetizer or a little snack that people can go off of.  The songs weren’t really…they’re real good songs, don’t get me wrong, but I got so much material; those were like the weakest links.  They weren’t weak, don’t get me wrong, but just as far as time and effort put into the records, there’s a lot of different formulas that I use, I feel like those songs I can let those out now and they will hold over until my next project.”

Luring In The Unfamiliar: “We are really focusing in on visual now, it’s not like with just music videos…I can’t really say any names right now, but just appearing in some sitcoms, and things like that, really just focusing on visuals….really clean visuals, because that’ll get people to lure in depending on what type of person you are and you’re taste.  The promo is the product, and I don’t ever want to be that person that let’s my promo outdo my product. I want my product to always outdo my promo. The product is the promo. So I want to have a balance between my product and promo, just to let people know that I am not just some cornball that is trying to bring you in because the music is the whole idea. You are really getting a treat when it comes to Chip Tha Ripper. Like the promo for Ruth’s Chris [Steakhouse] is average, not over the top like McDonald’s.”

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That: “I really just put my favorite songs on there [mixtapes]. I really just put the songs that I can play the most. I don’t really listen to my music a lot, but before I put it out I listen to it a lot. Just to see if I can sit through it. Whatever songs I can’t really sit through, I take ‘em off or I just leak them. My taste isn’t everyone’s taste, but for the most part it is. I was a fan of rap before I became a rapper so I know what I like. I know what I would want to hear. I notice what I like, a lot of people around me like. [Notorious B.I.G.] was one of my favorite rappers. He was one the greatest. Along with Pimp C. I just listen to songs that I can deal with that I can tolerate, and if I can tolerate it then it should be pretty good.”

Family Guy/The Cleveland Show: “Both of those shows are two of my favorite shows. When we put the mixtapes together, it was Mick Boogie’s idea to call it the Cleveland Show because the show hadn’t aired yet ,and he knew about it before we started the heavy promo for it. I was like, ‘That’s dope, let’s do that. I am the Cleveland Show. Let’s roll with that.’ We didn’t really know how we were going to do the artwork or anything, but we knew we had the guy by the name of Glen Infinite, he’s out of Cleveland and he designed the cover; he’s actually designed every cover of all my mixtapes. He’s a real talented guy, and cartoon stuff is not the only thing he can do at all. He’s amazing. But we just kind of ran with that, and just wanted to confuse people and have them see the cover and be like, ‘What’s this?’ Then when they put the CD in, they hear these real authentic raps with this cover that has been jacked off this TV show. It’s kind of like real Hip Hop.” 

If I Could Have Tweeted 2Pac: “I didn’t really realize that people on Twitter were real people. I kind of classified everything as the Internet. I didn’t really consider that what people say are real feelings. Some may guys with nothin’ to do; you know bullshittin’, saying what they couldn’t say in real life, the other percentage of people are real. Twitter and Facebook made me realize they are real. I think it really helps. If I could have tweeted 2Pac, that would have made my life. And respond back to me? I would have fucking melted. I think now because of our society, you got politicians holding each other’s ball about their tweets. It’s just a whole different ball game and I think that people are spoiled and now they are pissed if an artist doesn’t respond back…like, ‘You saw my tweet…’ It’s kind of a gift and a curse; it makes you too accessible but at the end of the day, if I wanted to say something I could say it, and I don’t need anybody to go through. I don’t have to call MTV and say that I want to sit down and say this; I can say it.  It’s kind of bittersweet, but I think the good outweighs the bad. I just wish that I could have had it back in the day, I would have been tweeted everyone like, ‘Will Smith….what’s up! I’m nine years old what’s up man.?'”

Calm, Cool, and Collected: “The type of guy I am…it really takes a lot to piss me off. I like to stay so cool, because when I get pissed off, it’s like a nightmare. The part of town I come from, you don’t want to let people know you have an attitude, you don’t want to get snappy with anybody. ‘Cause everybody is crazy, everybody. There’s really no road rage in my part of town, because they will hop out of the car and get a deal with you, for real. That goes for everybody. It’s a mutual understanding of respect. It’s a lot of jokes in the hood; we try to keep smiles on, because when you look around, it’s so bad. All it takes is someone to get in a bad mood and snap, and do what they gotta do to you. So you want to keep everybody in good spirits, you want people to smile, you don’t want to come around and people be like, ‘I can’t stand this person.’ In other parts of town you might not care if people can’t stand you because you know they not going to do nothin’, but where I come from you know that they are going to do something. You gotta be cool. So I just kind of built my character, it kind of built my outer shell to be relaxed, because I have seen what happens when you don’t be relaxed and you get jumpy, and get fly out the mouth, and say some thing because of whatever move. No one cares about your move. If I come from a whole new background, you gotta be cool for different reasons. It kind of helps in the end. I don’t have to deal with those circumstances anymore, but its good that that is in me because it helps me and people say they like me when they meet me.  If I was ever on Boiling Point, I would win $100 every time, and I would just switch the situation and make it funny so that I could get something out of it too.”

Dear Hip Hop: “It was actually rap in general…I never really had a favorite rapper, I was always a fan of the material. I had favorite songs. I have a lot of favorite Eminem songs, but I wouldn’t say Eminem is my favorite rapper. It goes along with Redman, Canibus, Nas, Pimp C. Those are the people who made the favorite songs that I have. I don’t want to really say I have a favorite rapper – you gotta like all of their music, every song. Rappers make songs for all different people; they don’t make them all for me. So every song can’t be my favorite song. So I just gotta admire their work. It’s definitely about the artist and who made the art. The list goes on though with that, there are so many old school rappers; Ol’ Dirty Bastard…so many different guys to pick from. Big L…the list is forever.”

A Gift, Of Raps: “A lot of people hear my voice and hear the things I talk about, and I don’t think they realize how smart I am, how much is really up here in my brain. ‘Cause at the end of the day, the only reason I do music is to have impact on people’s perspectives. I want to change people’s perspective in the hood and how they look at things; their logic and their reasoning. I want people to look at the hood from the outside who live in another world, and have their trials and tribulations; I want them to change their perspective and the choices they make and the way they view things. When you hear my voice you don’t really think someone like me could do that. That’s really the goal I have. I went to school in the suburbs my whole life; I never went to school in the hood. I got knowledge from a different aspect. My knowledge came from a whole different world- I learned things that motherfuckers in the hood didn’t learn. So I tried to soak it all in and used it everyday. After school I came right to the hood. I got the best of both worlds, but I got to use that to help people. So my first album is going to be just that; it’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be good music, it’s going to be everything you want. You’re not really going to see it until it’s embedded in your soul and you’ll be like, ‘Wow. This is how I’m thinking now.'”

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