“I’m from Canton, but the whole country’s where I blew up big,” raps Ohio native Trippie Redd on “Hellboy,” a cut from his newly released and highly anticipated mixtape, A Love Letter To You 2.
The latest addition to Ohio’s hip-hop lineage, which includes the likes of Kid Cudi, Machine Gun Kelly, Bow Wow and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redd is also one of rap music’s latest breakout stars to emerge from the Internet. Songs released by the 18-year old like “Love Scars” and “Poles 1469” have garnered millions of listens on streaming platforms like SoundCloud and Spotify, while the accompanying tripped-out visuals continue to tally up millions of views of their own.
Those massive numbers may equate to success for most teenagers, but to Redd, those digits haven’t quite added up. “I’m on some bigger shit than Soundcloud,” proclaimed Trippie Redd. “People really need to stop giving SoundCloud too much clout. They think everybody is just a Soundcloud rapper, but that’s not what it is bruh. Flat out.”
Co-managed by Coach K, who at one point or another has been behind the careers of successful trap stars Gucci Mane, Migos, Jeezy and Lil Yachty, and signed to Strainge Session, the label distributed by Capitol Records and co-founded by Elliot Grainge, son of Universal Music Group’s Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, Trippie is ready to make the jump from Internet fame to mainstream chart-topper.
Equipped with tunes like “In Too Deep” and “Bust Down,” the follow up to the first installment of the A Love Letter To You series is pivotal to that transition. According to Redd, A Love Letter To You 2 is a continuation of what its predecessor offered, but just with a little extra sauce on the side. “This one is like a body of work put together nicely,” he said right before he broke out a chuckle. “Even though the first one was also put together nicely, this one is just like more put together nicely.”
In an era where having a knack for crafting hypnotizing melodies and catchy hooks has taken precedence over showing how ill of a lyricist a rapper is, it can be refreshing when a student of the new school of hip-hop still feels the need to prove themselves on the mic. It can also be frustrating when those attempts aren’t acknowledged, which Redd knows first hand.
A Love Letter To You featured “Can You Rap Like Me?,” a track where Trippie’s flow, choice of beat and even some of his bars were surprisingly golden era of hip hop-ish. “It this doesn’t make no sense when people are like you need to rap like this or rap like that, and then when I rap like that y’all give me my credit, but y’all barely listen to that shit,” argued the young rapper, who feels he has displayed noteworthy levels of growth over the course of his still budding career. “I feel like I improved a lot,” he said a confidently.
Although Trippie Redd has had to fight off comparisons to Lil Uzi Vert, the real architect of his style is Lil Wayne. After images of the Hellboy and Fireman in the studio together began to circulate around blog sites, Trippie confirmed that he and Weezy had worked on music. When asked if they had linked up to collaborate on one of his records or one of Wayne’s, he would only tell us that the two worked on: “Trippie Redd and Lil Wayne music.”
The rapper, who with A Love Letter To You 2’s recent release, joined the “dropped two mixtapes in six months” club, already has his sights set on his next project. “With the next project, I’m going to give a lot of versatility,” said Trippie.