Hip Hop Texas Artist Lil Flip > Ikohaus
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​written by DJ Sincere

Recently we had a chance to get together with long time platinum selling Texas artist Lil Flip. In this exclusive in-depth interview Lil Flip breaks it down from his beginnings in the game to doing heavy numbers in the streets, his dealings with major labels, present endeavors and a peek behind the curtain of whats to come. This is a must read for anyone trying to understand the “industry”. Enjoy.

Welcome to the Drtybsmnt I appreciate you coming through.

>> I appreciate you all having me.

Alright man, so let’s get straight into it. I’ve got my guest for today, Lil Flip is in the building hanging out with us in the Drtybsmnt. A real heavy artist, I know all of you should be definitely familiar with our guest. He’s been putting out hot joints for a number of years but let’s get back into the whole history and I guess at the same time there’s going to be a lot of the history of the Texas artists too. I know that after you really, really blew up, there was a lot of situations and a lot of the things that go on with you and the label and I definitely want to go into that and the whole major label verses the independent.

>>Yea well I started out freestyle battling. When we battle, you know we freestyle. You know we battle from just how people battle but I did a whole bunch of battles man and lost like no battles like never, and so from doing that you know I was always on the scene. and I bumped into DJ Screw multiple times because I’m affiliated with the Botney Boys as they stay in the same neighborhood where I come from. You know rolling with them and being affiliated with them DJ Screw call me the freestyle king and we put out so many mixtapes man it’s crazy. We still− I mean the same list of people that buy mixtape from us from the 90’s, I still got their info and I still do business with them to this day. So you know we sold a whole bunch of records independent and we still serve those stores and after that I put out a hit ‘I can do that’ which was on my first independent album called the ‘Leprechaun’. And man we sold like 300,000, when you’ve got double albums they count as two (2) or whatever man so the labels and they were trying to get in touch with us and we held them off. We waited until the album sold another 150,000 copy, so you know what I’m saying?”

“And then we started to negotiate with them. We sold 2 million records like before we even found our deal.

“So how long were you actually an independent artist doing it on that level before a label came to you?”

>> “I’ve been putting out independent albums since the project that I put out was an EP was like in middle school bro. I went to the same middle school as Too Low, and for a lot of people who don’t know Too Low, he used to rap with Scarface. He’s the rapper from a song called ‘The funky brother’ or ‘The funky little n****’ you know? So we started very young man doing concerts and being in the club at the age of 11 or 12… “Rapping and seeing the world.”

What was the game like back then compared to what it is like right now, do you think an artist could come out and do that and have that kind of impact now independently?”

>> “Yea its different artists that have that impact. You know sometimes things work for certain people and it might not work for you but you got a lot of artist that came up like that, like for instance Asap Rocky. Shout out Asap Rocky you know he always showed love for the DJ Screw era so you can tell that his music is influenced by Screw and 3Six Mafia etc. There is a lot of people that started their own movements and you know you’ve got to be self sufficient, you can’t sit and wait for a label to do everything for you and that’s why my contract was so different from anybody else’s. My contract in the game was way better because I had sold all those records before I got my deal”.

“Like if you sign a deal with a label and you haven’t sold any records, you can’t go in there with too much leverage and make any demands but in my contract I have cartoon deals, video game deals and it was crazy. I’m the first artist to make a record label pay them for the promo run.”

“You know most labels when you sign your deal and you say you are on your promo run, they’ll give you like a little per diem and give you a little bus but they don’t pay you, they want you to do that for free and you know I made them pay me. They wanted me to go on the road for 30 days, well I need $35,000.00.”

You said earlier that you had a video game deal in for contract and it kind of clarified something for me, when you did “Game Over” I always wondered how you got away with those video game sounds and nobody came down on you. So that was all a part of your situation?.”

>> “Yea well, they wanted me to rap to the Pac Man beat. You know I’m a true hip hop

head, I’m from the south but I listen to all kinds of music so, Beanie Sigil did him a record. he was rapping on the Pac Man beat. It was on his first album and so I didn’t want to rap over the Pac Man beat because I don’t like copying what other people do.” “But they were begging me to rap on the beat. Like they had the beat for me like two (2) months and they kept begging me man and so I told them if ya’ll want me to rap on it, ya’ll got to pay me. I made them pay me for rapping over the beat. You know? It was $20,000.00 or $30,000.00, one of them.”

When do you plan on making another notch in the belt?

>> “Well right now I am promoting my book. I put out a book called ‘Don’t let the music industry fool you’ and I put that book out on 4/20 and its available on kindle and itunes, an audio book and I put a sound track out, I’ve got a cartoon coming along and it’s the same title. At this point man I’ve got a lot of different things going on and I have a management company. I have an MMA fighter named Tony Gwen and I have a boxer as well so I’m just diversifying my portfolio. I’ve been doing music since I was a kid, my relative is Terry Ellis she sang with En Vogue and then one of my uncles, he sang with Archie Bell and the Drells. That was one of the first groups to get a gold record. So I’ve been having music over my household since I was little. I played the drums, I played the piano,I mix my own music, I direct my own videos, edit my own videos, I own a tattoo shop, I sell my own liquor, I’m about to come out with my own champagne etc. So you know I’m just doing a lot of things and I just think that a lot of new artist they don’t really understand the difference in music and just a quick beat you know? And in my music I put live instrumentation, live guitar, live piano, you know bridges and different things. So yea I still do music because I love it. You know it pays me but this year alone I release probably like 15 mixtapes and I do it because it’s like an exercise to me. You know like me getting another studio rapping over all the new stuff that’s out, that makes you a better artist when it comes to rapping on your real stuff because I’m able to rap on any tempo. It don’t matter if it’s a dub step, reggae or if its opera, it don’t matter man so you know I’m just blessed and I don’t take it for granted.”

“You know, one of my O.G’s told me that if you can count your money you aint made enough. So I don’t stop working, I don’t look at the score and I don’t care that I sold 23 million albums and 10 million ringtones, that don’t matter to me. I get up every day and I do like four (4) or five (5) songs a

day, I still do like 20 beats a week etc., you know I’m blessed man and I don’t take it for granted.”

I’m really glad that you put it out there for the people to hear that because you didn’t put all your eggs in one basket. I didn’t know that you had a liquor and I didn’t know that you were doing certain things so I definitely am glad that you are one of the brothers that can paint a picture and show some of the dudes that is in the industry that’s working towards that same thing to have a goal. So I definitely salute you, keep up the great work.

>> “I appreciate it, it’s like an extra side of you and mainly in hip hop everybody is more focused on how they are looking and what they got. They really don’t focus on the relationship that its people that help you to get from Point A to Point B. And you know you can’t be greedy, you’ve got to spread the wealth. A lot of the people that help me to get to where I am at we’re still alive as they do different things for me and vice versa. So at the end of the day for all the new artist listening, you just got to watch how you treat people man. You can’t go around talking crazy to people because the same people that you talk crazy to might be the program director to you two years later.”

What do you think the internet has done as far as the marketing and approach to the game?”

>> “The internet has actually helped some people and it hurt some people but I can tell you it have done more help that hurt because now you have access to shoot a video or try something on your soundcloud or twitter and it goes around the whole world without you having to actually pay somebody to promote your music in France. So it’s kind of like we have got a free network to use to our advantage and it depends on how we use it. Some artist are tape artist and they drop mixtapes and they do a whole bunch of downloads, and then some artist they still do it old school and print some CD’s. Like every mixtape that I do, I put them online as well but I print up to at least 20 to 30 thousand of each mixtape that I do and I make sure that they are in the streets. I give mine away to the fans free and over the years you can see the different things different people that listen to your music like but you know some people like it when you freestyle, some people like it when you do real music, you know some people like you for different reasons. But throughout the years, no matter what label I was on, I never stop collaborating with the underdogs. I told them from the start that these are people that if I feel like an artist want to do a verse with me and the music is dope, and this artist is actually putting forth a real effort taking− you know how you would give somebody a mixtape and the album cover looks super cheap? But when you see the person and they got on nice gear and they got look but they won’t put the money in to get them professionally graphed and professional video? So that’s where I am with my life trying to teach the youths and the people who are older that don’t look at the mirror and blame everybody else for not being where you want to be. You’ve got to put your money in the right place and you’ve got to be a person that comes with something that’s new, don’t be a copycat just go straight, and that’s what I did with my career. I don’t want to be a follower. When everybody is going left or right, I’m going straight.”

You said that you came up freestyling, do you follow the different battle leagues?

>> “Definitely, actually next year were starting a battle league. Its gonna be two divisions and one is gonna be strictly freestyle. Yeah so I pay attention to everything and I’m glad to see that battle rappers are starting to get money and exposure. “

Do you have any artists that your working with to bring out, what do you look for in an artist?

>> “Talent is cool but i look for the type of person. I rather have a person that has the right frame of mind, a stand up type of guy cause you can have someone with a lot of talent but have a messed up attitude and at the end of the day that artist can cause you alot of problems and mess up your relationships. A person who doesn’t mind sharing is understanding and has patience. They have to understand music and know history.” “I’ve got this one artist… I can’t say his name until I get the paperwork done but this guy is dope as f***. He a singer, plays all his own instruments. He’s about to give Justin Timberlake a run for his money.”

Lil Flip, thank you for your time

>> Thanks for having me.

written by DJ Sincere

DJ Sincere is the founder of Drtybsmnt Multimedia, mobile/mixtape DJ, (Tune In To DJ Sincere DRTYBSMNT Show Right Here) syndicated radio host and columnist

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August 1, 2016

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