Los Angeles, CA – “I just love to make music. I don’t really look at no one else. I create, it’s like a drug,” Trippie Redd answers matter-of-factly when asked where he drew the inspiration to create his just-released ! album.
Although laconic with his responses, Trippie is thoughtful, if not calculated as he speaks. Though the self-proclaimed “genre-less” artist admits to “just doing what feels right” in his artistic process, that isn’t to say he’s not inspired by those who came into the game before him—the 20-year-old rapper cites “Wayne” as his favorite artist, a fact only solidified by track 12 (titled “Lil Wayne”) on his new album. We sat down with Trippie at the iconic Capitol Tower in Hollywood on the heels of his ! release to discuss collaborations, his laid-back music-making process, how he categorizes his music, and more.
Trippie slowly sauntered into the conference room with an entourage and his girlfriend, Coi Leray, in tow. Perhaps it was the smoke session (the crew admittedly hotboxed their car in the parking lot just minutes prior), or simply Trippie’s signature calm, confident demeanor — the group was unlike what one would expect a young, colorful-haired, eclectic rapper’s squad to be: they were silent, eyes glued to their respective phones, allowing the Ohio native to focus on our conversation.
The following was edited for clarity and brevity.
HipHopDX: So, obviously we have a new album on our hands, but take me back to how it all started. You’re from Ohio. Is that where you started making music?
Trippie Redd: Yea. I just moved to Atlanta to promote my shit, get my shit out there. When I was like 15.
HipHopDX: What inspired you to start making music?
Trippie Redd: Really my brother, who passed away. I had seen so many famous people, people on TV, making music. My brother just blew my mind. It was crazy to see him doing it, to see that he could make music. I saw it was possible. It just inspired me to make music.
HipHopDX: What was the process making “Love Scars”? Take me back to 2017.
Trippie Redd: Yea I was in an abandoned building recording that shit. In a dark room. It didn’t take long. One take.
HipHopDX: Did you know it would do so well?
Trippie Redd: Hell yeah! It was actually two songs before just “Love Scars”. It was another song in front of “Love Scars”. “Love Scars” is the other beat, reversed. “Bust Down” came next. Then I dropped A Love Letter To You 2. That was a moment for me. Then “Fuck Love” was a moment for me too.
HipHopDX: How did they change your career?
Trippie Redd: Shit. It’s just more exposure at the end of the day. LA-level shit. After “Love Scars”. I came out to LA, that’s when I got signed.
HipHopDX: How did the link-up with XXXTENTACION happen for that one?
Trippie Redd: I was staying with him in Miami. I was there just at his place, chillin’ n’ shit. I lived with him for a little. I had went to the studio with him. We heard the “Fuck Love” beat. He wasn’t fucking with it like that. I asked the producer to give it to me, I ended up going to Lil Wayne’s studio, and I recorded the song there. That’s when I made the chorus. And the next day I made a little Instagram video with it, and [X] saw it and was like “send this to me for my album” and I sent it to him, and he finished it.
HipHopDX: Do you think your music-making process has changed at all since X passed?
Trippie Redd: No, I’ve always had the same way of recording. All out.
HipHopDX: So back to your new album—many fans have noticed the Playboi Carti track has been removed from your album. Do you know about that?
Trippie Redd: I didn’t know that.
HipHopDX: Do you know why that would happen? Some people think it’s beef.
Trippie Redd: Definitely not. I have no idea.
HipHopDX: You still plan on working with him for an EP?
Trippie Redd: Hell yeah!
HipHopDX: What was the process with creating the album?
Trippie Redd: I’m just always in the studio. Always experimenting. I freestyle a lot. I recorded it everywhere I went, honestly. I was on the road a lot, so I recorded on the road.
HipHopDX: Did you end up making a lot of tracks that didn’t make the cut?
Trippie Redd: Definitely. I made like 40 songs, the album has 13.
HipHopDX: Will we ever hear the others?
Trippie Redd: (Laughs) Maybe.
HipHopDX: I know Diplo, Wondagurl, some other prominent producers are on this album. How was working with them?
Trippie Redd: They mainly sent me the beats, we weren’t in the studio together. Due to me being overseas, touring n’ shit, they sent them to me and I’d record. I would have liked to be in the studio with them though. I’ve had Diplo produce something on each of my last three projects.
HipHopDX: How did the features on this album come about?
Trippie Redd: I didn’t plan them, they just came together this way. There weren’t any features I was dying to have.
HipHopDX: You even got The Game on there.
Trippie Redd: Yea, we did that at his house.
HipHopDX: How do you describe your sound on this project?
Trippie Redd: I’m never really in a genre. I just make music. Every project, I feel like the music sonically just gets better. As far as my sound and my craft, I get better — I clean it up, make it sound better.
HipHopDX: A lot of people describe your music as “emo-rap.”
Trippie Redd: I would just describe myself as a versatile musician.
HipHopDX: This is your 3rd consecutive project to debut on the Billboard Top 5.
Trippie Redd: Yea, every project I’ve dropped since A Love Letter To You 1 has been up there. I expect that for my music.
HipHopDX: When you’re creating music, do you do that expecting to make a hit?
Trippie Redd: I just do what sounds right to me. And it works. I feel like when you try too hard, it just don’t work. You gotta “accidentally” make a hit.
HipHopDX: Are you back in the studio working on more?
Trippie Redd: Yes, I’m in the studio making more music. That’s kinda my job. (laughs) I live up to very high expectations. So I don’t feel like I’ve reached my goal yet. I always keep creating. I’m young, but I want to reach my goals—more hits, more M’s. Maybe then I’ll slow down, eventually. But for now, I learn something new about music all the time.
HipHopDX: You know there are many artists such as Meek Mill that advocate for things like social justice, prison reform. Do you ever plan on using your platform for anything like that?
Trippie Redd: My platform is for making and sharing music. For now.