Don Trip Talks "Letter to My Son", Forthcoming Album, Johnny Depp in "Public Enemies", and More
Thu, 15 Sep 2011 11:47:11
Hip hop legends are some of the best storytellers.
Guys like Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Slick Rick, Eminem, Nas, and Jay-Z could all weave tales that stood toe-to-toe with the best novelists of their respective day. At heart, rap continues the storytelling traditions that have been around since the beginning of time, but with a modern facelift of course.
Don Trip has got quite the tale to tell. On his debut single, "Letter to My Son", the gruff and tough Memphis MC touts a style that's undeniably captivating. You can hear and feel the pain in his voice as he sums up a story that all too many men know. However, this is only one of many experiences that he catalogs on his forthcoming major label debut, and if it's any indication, we may soon be adding another legend to that list.
Don Trip spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about "Letter to My Son", his upcoming album, movies, and so much more.
Is it important for you to write autobiographically?
I feel like my honesty is the only thing I can offer you that nobody else can offer you. I think that'd be the one thing I can say that's mine no matter what. They can say we got our delivery from other rappers. They can say we got our swag from other rappers. However, they can't ever say I got my material from other rappers.
How did you build "Letter to My Son"?
The way I record is I really zone out to the beats. They tell me whatever I come up with. When I heard that beat, it just happened to be what I was going through at the moment. It was heavy on me. The beat spoke to me, and brought it out of me.
Was it a freestyle or something you wrote out?
I write everything. I don't know how to explain it. That's how I record everything. No matter what, when it's time to speak it, it's different. When I'm rapping, it's less like I'm reading and more like I'm keeping myself in the lines.
Have a lot of fathers reached out to you reacting to the song?
I get mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They tell me how they grew up without a father. Or, I get women who tell me they wish they didn't do the exact same thing I'm going through. I get all kinds of support mail. I was in San Francisco, and this woman who was 50 called in and said she related to the record. She explained how her kids grew up with just her. She and their father were separated for like 20 years. I hear new and different stories every time. It's still shocking. To think that people outside of my age bracket can identify with this is the biggest thing.
Do you aim to tell stories with the songs?
I can't really help but do that. That's how my imagination works. I try to give you everything I can provide you that the next artist can't. I'm not saying I'm a better artist, but I have to give you something that's my own in order for you to cling to me and feel like you can relate to me. I have to write something that's worth relating to.
Do you feel a connection to the blues?
Blues is one of the only genres of music where you hear pain. You hear joy in every record. You hear sorrow in every record, but you never hear pain. I think that's one thing which closely relates me to blues music. Since I'm from Memphis, it's in my genes.
As a child, I was a big Jay-Z and Jadakiss fan. I listen to a lot of old records now. I'm a Cee Lo Green and Andre 3000 fan too. There's a lot of music out now that I can't really rock with so I have to go back to draw inspiration.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question! I think I'd compare it to Public Enemies. Hearing the stories about John Dillinger and knowing he's an outlaw bank robber, you only see one side of that. When you see the movie, you see he had a heart. He was in love with that girl and you see how far he'd go just for her. He walked into the police station and they had a whole division dedicated to finding him.
Have you heard Don Trip yet?