The wonder-kid phenomenon that has stunned people for years; you know those underaged, high achieving individuals – child prodigies if you will. Many would put 18-year-old Trippie Redd into that category. Born in the summer of 1999, Trippie Redd is one of the leaders of the youth in hip hop and one of the youngest to enter the game since Joey Bada$$ did some five years before. Now at the tender age of 18, Trippie is eight projects deep and 424th in the world on Spotify’s monthly listeners. Well on the path to global domination, he confirms that age ain’t nothing but a number as he shows the industry that he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Before speaking with him, my first impression was honestly a little judgemental. I made the assumption that based on the colour of his hair, his face tattoos, his age and the type of music he makes, he was going to be an immature, overly excited kid who’s managed to cultivate a following by making ”turn up music.” I was completely wrong. Within the first few minutes of our conversation, it was evident why he’s already so established in the music industry. Speaking in a mature, eloquent and passionate way about what he’s doing, Trippie Redd is a young maven that’s taken a very calculated approach when it comes to becoming a global artist. Following his first shows in Europe, he announced his signing to Quality Control Management, the home of Migos, Lil Yachty, Cardi B and more.
Trippie Redd was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, a state that’s definitely not seen as a music capital. Trippie took it on himself to break out of his hometown and at the age of 15, he’d identified that in order to really take his music somewhere, he’d need to go to places where the music scene was thriving. At this time the Atlanta music scene was blowing up; 2015 saw Rich Homie Quan drop ‘Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)’ now double platinum, Future and Drake blessed us with the ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ mixtape, plus the platinum ‘March Madness’ by Future. Young Thug gave us ‘Slime Season’ with the platinum single, ‘Best Friend’. With all this music coming out of one city in Georgia, Redd moved there in search of opportunity. His independence at this age was the turning point in his career. When asked whether he’d always been so independent, he replies, ”It’s always good to get in people’s faces before you turn 18. A young person out here grinding on his own is kinda like a great image, I didn’t wanna be one of those guys that waited ’til I’m 21 to try and become something.” The hunger and determination Redd’s shown from a young age is admirable, risking everything in the hope that it will grant him an opportunity to advance in his career.
Redd went on to say he feels like people make the mistake of dragging out their youth and capitalising on the opportunities we’re given when we’re young. A lot of creatives wait until they are older out of fear of being too young, or not being good enough. Redd went against all of these common fears and is now selling out shows globally. On his first time coming to the UK to perform, his show sold out in 11 minutes, forcing promoters to add another show because of the high demand for tickets. Ohio’s wonder kid is taking the world by storm with his no-holds-barred approach. Having moved to Atlanta, Redd felt like the next step was to move to LA, so at 16 years old he packed up, left Atlanta and jetted to the west coast. Moving with just his DJ and a friend from Ohio, he soon met up with Lil Twist at Mally Mall’s residence and from that point, decided to stay out in LA by himself. He spent the time connecting with everyone and anyone in order to build a name for himself. In 2017, he released ‘A Love Letter To You’, the first of a two part series in which he openly spoke on love and the emotions that come with it. The breakout track, ‘Love Scars’ saw him play-listed on Apple Music’s radio station Beats1, among many other stations. Shockingly, the track was recorded just once, “I actually one-took that whole song, one take! I didn’t even need to do it more than once. I was gonna change it but [my team] stopped me. I’m glad they did.”
Redd’s music career started while in high school in Ohio. When asked whether he was a good student, he responds, “I had my share of time getting in trouble, but every time I got in trouble I would finish my work. If I got suspended, I would take the time – like the first day of suspension – to do all the work that I got suspended for. Then the whole suspension, I’d have time off school where I was just chilling, vibing out playing new games, making music.” Redd didn’t take the punishment as a negative, instead seeking inspiration in a similar way to how Chance the Rapper utilised his school suspension to create his ’10 Day’ mixtape. As we get into the discussion of education, I ask him whether he’d like to go to college. Redd’s initial response is, ’’I might go, but right now I’m trying to finish off this work. Music is work to me and I feel like I’m not where I need to be at yet, as far as money and music and goals wise. So after I get done finishing my goals on music, of course I’ll go to college.” Redd’s focus is unmatched amongst his peers, he not only understands that music is a great source of income for his life right now but he has plans to do more than the music and broaden his revenue streams. Though if he did go to college his major would likely be in, ‘’game-testing [software engineering], you know how people go to college to learn different shit with software like as far as computer work? I’d like to learn how people make video games.”
This is an extract from Issue 9, The Get Money Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photos by Duncan Telford
Words by Dylan Aroloye