The untold truth of Trippie Redd

After linking up with Lil Wop to record his debut projects – 2016's Awakening my InnerBeast, Rock The World Trippie, and Beast Mode — Canton, Ohio rapper Michael "Trippie Redd" White was signed to a record contract in 2017 and made the big move out to Los Angeles to further his music career.

After releasing his first mix tape, A Love Letter to You, in May 2017, he joined the ranks of other budding musicians who had turned their hobbies of uploading music to their SoundCloud accounts into bonafide music careers. Infiltrating the industry as an underground artist, Trippie Redd eventually joined forces with other hip-hop newcomers and plowed his way through the Billboard Hot 100 chart with some help from South Florida rapper XXXTentacion and their track, "F**k Love," which peaked at no. 41.

By all outward appearances, he has the signature markings of all the great mumble rappers who've come before him — right down to his eccentric hair and face tattoos — but where Trippie Redd differs is in his execution. Fusing rap lyrics with his self-taught melodies, he's proof that emo-rap has landed on the map… and it's here to stay. So who exactly is the slurry-voiced, eccentric rapper who bares a diamond-encrusted grill behind his contagious perma-grin? Let's find out as we dive deep into the untold truth of Trippie Redd.  

His mom was a hater

Even though he's making waves in the industry and racking up co-signs from mega-artists, like Drake and Lil Wayne, there was once a time when Trippie Redd was doubted. And the main person who wanted him to shelve his rap aspirations was his own mother. "My mom would be saying s**t like, 'You can't always think about music. You gotta get a regular job,'" he told Rolling Stone magazine.

He listened to his mom's advice — albeit briefly. He worked at a Little Caesars pizza joint "for about two days" before declaring, "I was out. That's the only job I've ever had."

He went on to tell the magazine that he "didn't want to get no regular job," so after graduating from high school, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to kick start his music career.

Moms usually know best, but not in Trippie Redd's case. It's a good thing he didn't allow anyone to crush his dreams of making it big. Now, instead of working at a pizza parlor, he could probably purchase a few pizza franchises, especially since he claims to have a net worth in the millions, but we'll get into that a bit later.

Music led him out of a 'dark place'

Although he cites Lil Wayne as one of his favorite artists, he credits his older brother, who performed under the name Dirty Redd, as the person who really sparked his interest in rap. After experimenting with alternative music, he switched over to hip hop and really found his niche. But just as things were heating up for him and his music was getting a bit of online recognition, his brother was killed in a fatal 2014 car accident.

It was just one of many heartbreaks the artist went through during his teenage years. Without his brother by his side, and being raised by a single mother after his father was incarcerated, Trippie Redd's grief was exasperated. "I was depressed. I didn't have nobody," he told Rolling Stone about the years following his brother's untimely death. "I was on my own type s**t. Music took me from a real dark place to a real bright one."

Self-taught crooner

Many of his songs are recorded in a singsong voice that ranges from high-pitched inflections to raspy shrieks — similar to the melodic shrills that '90s grunge rockers perfected. And it's his vocals on his love song, "Romeo and Juliet," that prove he's not your typical rapper. "My voice—I can sing for real," he told Vice's Noisey, and he wasn't kidding either.

Although he hasn't trained with the best vocal coaches to perfect his voice, Trippie Redd is a self-taught vocalist, telling the website he learned how to belt out tunes "from just listening to people that knew how to sing." 

He would try to mimic the voices of other artists, such as Drake, The Weeknd, and Partynextdoor, and he got pretty good at it. "I was listening to whatever my mom played in the car, so I hit high notes. I made my grandma cry one day, I hit a note. I swear to God, on everything I love! On my dad and brother, she started crying! I hit a note in the car. That's just so funny," he boasted.

He later told Hip Hop DX that Drake's song, "Sooner Than Later," was what inspired him to perfect his vocal prowess. "Yes, [that song is] the reason why I sing," he told the website.

Who is Trippy Hippie?

The evolution of Trippie Redd began long before the rapper was uploading music to his SoundCloud account. In an interview with Big Boy TV for Power 106 radio station, the "Dark Knight Dummo" artist said his friends initially dubbed him Trippy Hippie. "I used to smoke and I like trippy s**t, so we just put Trippy Hippie together, and red, because I'm a Blood [gang member]," he later told XXL magazine.

After moving forward with his music career, he discovered there was already a group named Trippy Hippie, so a name change was definitely in order. "I've always been Trippie Redd and Trippy Hippie. I put Trippy and Hippie together and made it Trippie," he said.

Music fans who've followed his career may also refer to him by his underground moniker, Lil 14. Speaking of the number 14, let's discuss why it's so important to him.

What do his '14' tattoos really mean?

His affinity for tattoos means the ink covers most parts of his body. He has the number "14" tattooed in various locations, including his hands, but the number is most prominent in red ink right smack dab in the center of his forehead.

So what's the significance behind the number, and what does it really mean to the "Love Scars" artist? Well, according to Hot New Hip Hop, the number represents 14th Street — the same street where the artist grew up on in Canton, Ohio. The numeral has a spiritual meaning, as well.

The website reported the number is synonymous with "the angels and spirituality that resides over [Trippie Redd] and his family. '14' and '1400' are recurring numbers in Trippie's life that have become both his symbols for religion and the callsign of his rapidly growing fan base." This also explains why the numbers are plastered all over the merchandise he sells on his official website.

'Love Scars' was recorded in one take

The summer of 2017 proved to be Trippie Redd's breakout year. The garbled-voiced rapper dropped "Love Scars" in June of that year — a track that chronicles heartbreak with some help from Trippie Redd's high-pitched vocals and lyrics, such as, "You used to say you in love / I used to say that s**t back / Taking that s**t from the heart / Now look where the f**k where we at."

While listening to the track, one may think the MC took a considerable amount of time putting pen to paper in order to construct each and every angst-filled lyric, but that wasn't the case at all. In an interview with Billboard, he revealed that the song, which initially debuted on SoundCloud, was recorded in a "dark a*s room" where he couldn't see anyone at all. 

"I one-taked the whole song," he said while he described how he recorded the track from start to finish in one shot. "I didn't write none of that s**t. Like, I don't write my music. It became a vibe. I dropped that s**t on the computer at the crib." Now that's what we call talent.

Did his ex-girlfriend leave him for his rival?

Trippie Redd usually flies under the radar and isn't quick to hop into feuds with other rappers, but one long-standing conflict that has shrouded his career is the bad blood between him and fellow rapper, 6ix9ine. The two started out as friends and label mates up until Trippie Redd denounced 6ix9ine as a "pedophile" after news leaked that the "Gummo" rapper had pleaded guilty to the "use of a child in a sexual performance" in October 2015.

Their feud took an interesting turn when Trippie Redd broke up with his ex-girlfriend, an artist who goes by the name of Aylek$. During an Instagram Live session, Trippie Redd revealed that after their breakup, his ex tried to get chummy with his rival. "I heard she was going to go follow 6ix9ine. Just weird s**t. That's not no b***h I want to be with. That's not no loyal a*s b***h," he can be heard saying in the video.

But the two frenemies have seemingly put the past behind them, and it looks like they won't let anyone – not a sex crime nor Trippie Redd's ex – come in between them. A video was posted online of the two of them videochatting and attempting to map out each other's whereabouts so they could potentially meet up. 

Will Trippie Redd be singing the hook on the next 6ix9ine chart-topping hit? We'll have to wait and see.

Some major purchases

Aside from making music, the "In Too Deep" lyricist also makes a killing by selling his own merchandise, from T-shirts to hoodies and key chains. According to Trippie Redd, his business ventures have bumped his net worth to an estimated $7 million, and he hasn't wasted any time splurging on some pretty pricey gifts to celebrate his success.

He showed off his icy, custom-made grill covered in purple diamonds back in November 2017, and in February that following year, he made it rain and plopped down $200,000 on a diamond 8-Ball chain.

With thousands of dollars worth of diamonds in his jewelry collection, most people believed Trippie Redd was content with his major purchases and would slow down on his spending spree in 2018. But he did the exact opposite. Instead of buying an expensive toy for himself, he reportedly splurged on a gift for his mom, which he detailed in a since-deleted Instagram post (via Vlad TV), which read, in part, "Bought my mom a crib as well 300K." 

He may not have a Grammy (yet), but he definitely deserves the "Son of the Year" award after that purchase.

Timeless music OTW

He's not looking to drop a few hits, cash out his earnings, and fade back into obscurity. Many years from now, we'll still be playing many of his songs if it were left up to him. "I want [my music] to be timeless," he told XXL magazine.

But creating songs that will maintain their relevancy 50 years from now is just the tip of the iceberg for the "Bust Down" artist. Trippie Redd wants to go down in history as one of the best, alongside other musical legends. Aside from his goal to rack up Grammy and Billboard awards, he told XXL, "I'm really just trying to accomplish everything every major artist has accomplished. I want to do that and some more. I want to accomplish something for myself and set a bar for myself, for somebody to be like, 'Damn, Trippie legendary. He did such and such.'"

The way his career is panning out, there's no doubt in our minds that he's well on his way to G.O.A.T. status — that stands for the "greatest of all time," BTW.