The city of Canton, Ohio, is mostly known for its Pro Football Hall of Fame headquarters and home to rocker Marilyn Manson, but 19-year-old Trippie Redd is looking to the change the landscape of the northeastern area of Ohio as hip-hop’s next big superstar and 2018 XXL Freshman.

Born Michael Lamar White II, Trippie has quickly established himself as a solid force in the digital era of hip-hop. With only three years in the game, the rapper has already reached milestones like three certified gold records ("Bust Down," "Poles 1469" and "Love Scars") and a platinum single ("Dark Knight Dummo") ahead of many of his peers.

Trippie, who was raised in a single-parent household by his mother, grew up listening to everything from Nas and Alicia Keys to 2Pac and Beyoncé. He even names Kurt Cobain and KISS as artists he loves. "I just love their image," he shares. "It was crazy." His interest in rap, rock and R&B would later infiltrate his sound. When it comes to music, Trippie's older brother, who was pursuing his own rap career, had a big influence on him as well.

"I really just blend like rock, R&B and rap together to create a sub-genre, but it's very versatile," the artist tells XXL. "I do very versatile music."

Unfortunately, tragedy struck the their family at an early stage in Trippie Redd’s life, after his brother was died in a fatal car accident. Deciding to carry out his brother’s dreams, the "Love Scars" rhymer began to experiment in the studio, recording a number of songs with his little cousin Nigel. Though Trippie shared many of his early tracks on the internet, many of them were eventually deleted.

In an effort to perfect his sound and craft, Trippie moved to Atlanta to start recording professionally. His trip Down South led him to meet with his now-good friend and collaborator, Lil Wop. The pair then joined forces with Kodie Shane, and the trio recorded three projects titled Awakening My Inner Beast, Beast Mode and Rock the World Trippie. The success of the projects eventually led Trippie to sign a record deal with Strainge Entertainment, which eventually was renamed 10k Projects.

Under the imprint, Trippie would release his first major mixtape, A Love Letter to You, in spring of 2017. The tape spawned the smash hit, “Love Scars,” which showcased his ability to sing effortlessly and create an anthem for the masses." "'Love Scars' blew up pretty fast," Trippie acknowledges. "That was one of my biggest songs. It was crazy. I one-took the song in a dark room. It was on some like screamo shit."

A Love Letter to You also helped Trippie get the necessary exposure to catapult his career. Gaining the recognition from his rap peers, Trippie was asked to join XXXTentacion on the single “Fuck Love,” a track off X’s 17 album.

The guest appearance on the track would prove to be another success story for Big 14 as it led to his first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Fuck Love" has since been certified platinum by the RIAA. In October of 2017, Trippie returned to the charts, but this time made his presence felt on the Billboard 200 with his second mixtape, A Love Letter to You 2, debuting at No. 34.

Now, with a highly anticipated debut album on the way and millions of followers combined across his social media platforms, Trippie Redd is set to take over the rap game with his versatile sound and blend of rap, R&B and rock. Only time will tell where he ends up in rap’s history books, but the way that things are shaping up for Trippie currently, it’s only a matter of time before he reaches superstardom.

Watch Trippie Redd open up about his hip-hop influences, how he created "Love Scars," the rap-rock sub-genre he's promoting and what he's got on his plate next. After that, take a look as he stays suckafree in his 2018 XXL Freshman freestyle.

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Trippie Redd at the 2018 XXL Freshman Cover Shoot


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