Trippz was the grand prize winner of Funk Volume’s “Don’t Funk Up Our Beats 7” contest this year.

The rapper recently changed his name to The Weird One as he works on his second album, Revelation.

“I realized that Trippz had a very ‘druggie’ kind of connotation to it,” he says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, “and that is not what the message in music is about. ‘The Weird One’ popped up in my mind one night and I instantly loved the name. I had a revelation a couple minutes after when I realized the acronym for it was TWO. I instantly looked down at the tattoos on my arms and had a ‘Eureka’ moment. One arm says ‘nightmare’ and everything on that side symbolizes my demons, darkness & pain. The other side says ‘dream’ and the tattoos on that arm symbolize my spirituality, love and the universe. I have lived my entire life going back and forth between the two sides and have always been trying to find a balance.”

The Weird One was selected to open for three stops on Funk Volume‘s nationwide tour. During his time with the label, the rapper says the artists were “really inspiring.”

He had an especially important talk with Jarren Benton after the second show when he felt winded.

“I talked to Jarren after his performance and was like, ‘Dude, I don’t know how can do those long sets with so much energy,'” he says, “and he laughed and said, ‘It just comes with time,’ and I knew exactly what he meant by it.”

Winning the contest gave The Weird One a new sense of purpose in his music. He was awarded $2,500 for the contest and around the same time, received a $1,700 check from ASCAP for writing.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘Damn, my luck must be changing,'” he says. “I had been pretty broke for a couple years after the advance from my songwriting deal ran up and I was trying to figure out the next move to make in my career. Within a few hours I went to the bank and made a new bank account. A few days later, I waited patiently for them to announce the winners. I started getting nervous as the the final hour sank in. When they announced that I had won, I jumped out of my seat and yelled, ‘Fuck yeah.’ I was shaking with excitement. That was truly a night to remember. I celebrated with one of my best friends and my grandparents. We cracked open some Angry Orchards, looked up at the stars and talked about how crazy it was that I won. It was a truly surreal feeling that night. I knew this wasn’t me ‘making it,’ but I literally needed some hope for my career at that time. Stuff like this doesn’t really happen to White rappers from a middle class suburban family.”