Los Angeles, CA

When two accomplished solo rappers come together to record an album together, the outcome isn’t always cohesive. That’s not the case for Tennessee MC’s Starlito and Don Trip. Fresh off the heels of their third collaborative album, Step Brothers THREE, the Memphis and Nashville representatives stopped by the #DXLive set to discuss where they slot their latest album amongst their other group projects, Starlito’s time on Cash Money, and whether or not Post Malone’s platinum, chart-topping single “White Iverson” divulged in the culture appropriation realm.

“I put my all into everything I’m doing and with the Step Brothers project, that’s even more [of a] collective so if we was gon’ go in subpar we’d be wasting each other’s time on top of our own time,” Don says emphatically.

“I think this is the best project out of the series so far,” Starlito states. “I also believe if you don’t feel like [your last project is your best] then what are you really doing? Sometimes that’s part of the hindrance or what stops the music from coming out so fast because you’re trying to top the last. I’m not in the business of recycling the same material or giving people the same stories. I try to live in between releases and with this one was like three years since the last one.”

The duo also discussed the pitfalls of being two solo artists coming together for a collaborative effort and how they were able to overcome their individual egos. “We wouldn’t have been able to bond how we bond if egos was inflated,” says Trip. “That’s one of the reasons we get along on and off the beat. We got a lot of similarities; we got a lot of differences as well. I don’t agree with everything [he says]; he doesn’t agree with everything [I say]. We human. I think if we had egos in place that would be poison. We are both solo rappers but the fact that we know how to set our egos aside and come together – even if it’s not for a Step Brothers project – it’s family.”

Starlito also opened up about his days with Cash Money. “I wouldn’t know,” the tenured rap star said when asked about why artists still sign to the ever-embattled label. “I guess opportunity. I can only speak for me. At the time, I was 19-years-old with offers for record deals and going through that whole thing. You’re impressionable. You’re trying to understand [It’s] a brand name; you grew up on these people. They [were] the coolest people in the whole world now you sitting next to them or doing music with them — you getting a check from them. Don’t get it twisted; the majority of the people who sign to Cash Money [actually] make money. I know I made some money while I was there. I ain’t bitter or nothing. I learned more than I could have ever gained [elsewhere].”

Years before Post Malone earned the right to become a star, Don Trip released a buzz-inducing track called “Allen Iverson” as a tribute to his favorite basketball player. DX Editor-In-Chief Trent Clark asked Don about his feelings on Malone’s track only to find out he was as clueless as Stacey Dash (a vital subject of his Step Brothers THREE opener, “Yeah 5X”).

“I don’t know. I don’t know if I ever heard that song,” Trip admits. “I ain’t taking no shots, man. I don’t listen to everything. I couldn’t possibly keep up with everything. Just being real.”

Starlito quickly interjected, “I thought it was a little bit exploitive,” he scoffed. “On a lot of cultural levels. That’s what I thought and felt. I had an opinion about that record. I had just met the Sauce Twinz and they were the only people in the world that I had heard use [saucin’]. I was kind of taken back by it because it was a big record and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s they shit.’ Then, like, ‘White Iverson?’ I don’t think I could make a ‘Black John Stockton’ record. Maybe not me but a black artist in general, it would be taken in a whole different [way]. I don’t know. I’m a conspiracy theorist, I look at shit really weird like, ‘Damn is this not any different than some blackface type shit?’ That was my first impression of that record, seeing the guy with cornrows. That’s what I saw and heard, almost like some kind of bigotry-laden stuff. I mean I know [some of his] people, we got some mutual acquaintances. I don’t know. I feel like my first impression from the record wasn’t far off from the way it played out.”

For the rest of our exclusive #DXLive interview with Don Trip and Starlito and others like it be sure to tune into Facebook/HipHopDX and/or WAV every Thursday at 6pm EST/3pm PST. And, as always, for all of your exclusive news and music keep it locked right here on HipHopDX.