Lil' Flip / Lil Flip
Rarely has a rap artist entered the global game with more superstar potential than the hip-hop pride of Houston, Texas, Lil' Flip (aka "the Leprechaun," aka "the Dirty South's Undisputed Freestyle King"). Spearheaded by the hot lead single "The Way We Ball," Undaground Legend , Flip's genre-elevating debut album is a milestone achievement.
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Produced by Tron, "The Way We Ball" has Lil' Flip flowing with flossin' freestyle flavor, lyrically slicing into the infectious chorus and bomb beats like a skilled surgeon wielding a freshly sharpened scalpel. Indeed, cutting edge rhymes, street inspired themes and powerhouse production rule throughout this impressively diverse set.
More prime Undaground Legend examples include: "I Shoulda Listened," a provocative, positive radio ready message track; "What I been Through," a righteously rhymed autobiographical journey into Flip's family's trials, tribulations and triumphs; "We Ain't Scared" (featuring Bizzy Bone), a slick, syncopated hip-hop/funk track, propelled by Flip and Bizzy lyrically bouncing off of each other; "R.I.P. Screw" (featuring Bizzy Bone), a fitting tribute to Houston's late legendary producer D.J. Screw; and "I Can Do Dat" (remix, featuring Juvenile), a rejuvenated return to the career-making hit that made Lil' Flip an Underground Legend.
"What makes this album so real, so raw, so reflective of me, my music, life and lifestyle," says the confident 21 year-old Lil' Flip, "is that everything I rap about on it is based on truth. So when I rhyme 'Dirty South' style about the cars, the parties, the platinum, the women, life's lessons, whatever, it's not bragging, it's just fact."
The fact is, if anyone has the right to brag about his self-made success, it's Lil Flip, who, with his manager and Suckafree cofounder Duane "Humpty Hump" Hobbs, went from a virtual unknown to one of the hottest rising rap stars in the business. Together they produced, promoted, distributed and sold 150,000 copies of Lil' Flip , the rapper's first (and Suckafree's second) album, which featured the hit single "I Can Do Dat."
"We put out our first project ( Hustlers Stack In' Endz ), in 1998, and sold over 30,000 copies. We knew if we did it ourselves we not only would make a lot of money, we'd also attract major labels," advises Hump, who met Flip through his father, with whom he'd been close friends for years. "I saw the talent and unlimited potential in Flip when he was very young. So when the time was right," adds Hump, who was one of the South's most successful concert promoters, "I stopped everything else, and devoted all my time and resources to Flip's career. I started the label, and made him a co-CEO. We're equal partners. After the first group album hit, we recorded the second one (Lil' Flip ). We took it to the (radio) stations ourselves, sold it out of our trunks, at concerts, anywhere we could. The more we got Flip in front of people, the larger his fan base got. He even goes to public schools, and after school centers and speaks to the kids; giving them records, tee shirts, hats, and telling them to stay in school and other positive things. See, we believe that if you want to get things done right, you got to do it yourself."
That may be true, but the wise businessmen they are, both Flip and Hump knew that a little help from the big boys couldn't hurt them or their already fat bank accounts. Subsequently, as Flip's popularity grew, word quickly spread throughout the industry. Not surprisingly, a major label bidding war broke out.
In 2002 Columbia Records offered Flip an artist contract and Suckafree a distribution deal. "We felt that they not only respected what we'd already accomplished on our own, but they also saw the big picture of what me as an artist, and Hump and I as Suckafree's CEOs were all about," shares Lil' Flip, who subscribes to a "go for it all" work ethic; instilled upon him by the beloved grandmother who raised him. "My album is dedicated to her; in fact the song, 'I Should Have Listened,' was inspired by her," says Flip, whose grandmother was an avid churchgoer and choir director. " She made me go to church all the time, and sing in the choir. And although I got into a little trouble growing up, like most kids do, it's because of her support and encouragement that I stayed focused on my music career."
Lil' Flip, who got his name because his freestyle based rap has an eclectic, able to instantly "flip the script" quality, began rhyming at a very young age, even getting an "A" for rapping on a 6th grade English oral exam. "After that I was hooked," chuckles Flip, who acted in last year's "Ace Town Mob," a straight-to-video movie which also starred popular Houston rapper Lil' Troy.
As Flip matured, his mic skills got sharper, and his reputation as one of Houston's true young talents blossomed. In his mid teens he hooked up with Houston's late legendary producer, D.J. Screw, who opened up the south's lucrative mix tape scene to him. Flip's mix tape credits include: Screw Heads, "Forever And A Day"; "The Classics: Chopped and Screwed by the Swisha"; "Key Players Vol. I"; Tomi Gran, "Bigdicballa" ;; 3rd Coast Finest, Staydown – "N-Da-Game," "Houston Hard Hitters, Vol. 4"; Big Snap – "Leanin' Hard Down South," and "Soldiers United for Cash: The Soundtrack."
From a 16 year-old rap phenomenon in training to the 21 year-old Suckafree co-CEO and celebrated "Undaground Legend" he is today, Flip has truly come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. Nonetheless, Lil' Flip reflects upon his many accomplishments as just the beginning. "Not long from now, me, Hump and the entire Suckafree family are going to be major players in the music business," Lil' Flip confidently predicts. "If we could do all the things we did on our own, now that we have Columbia as a partner, there's no limit to how far we can go."
"The Way We Ball" and subsequent hits from his stellar new album will surely add to the notoriety and success that Lil' Flip has earned to date. He's truly an Undaground Legend overwhelmingly destined to keep rising to the top.
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