Backstage Pass: Don Trip

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As Memphis rapper Don Trip readies a couple of new projects, he'll talk about his journey through the tumultuous music business this week as part of the Memphis Music Foundation's “Backstage Pass” series.

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Trip, who released his best of many mixtapes, Guerrilla, earlier this year, will return on October 31st with Help is On the Way, a new full-length solo mixtape. The collection is named after the song “Help is On the Way,” which was featured on Guerrilla and was once slated to be the title of Trip's debut album for Interscope Records.

Trip is still working closely with Miami-based Epidemic Records producers Cool & Dre and is still affiliated with Interscope — which re-released Trip's breakthrough single “Letter to My Son” last year — through them, but isn't sure when he'll release something else through the label.

“I need to build my audience up before putting out an album,” Trip says, noting that Guerrilla was his most downloaded mixtape yet. “I don't want to have any excuses when the album drops.”

Trip describes the upcoming Help is On the Way mixtape as “honest and dark,” with more “Chris Wallace” (Trip's real name) and less “Don Trip” in the songs.

Trip has also completed Step Brothers 2, a sequel to his popular 2011 mixtape with Nashville rapper Starlito. Step Brothers 2 was initially going to be released this summer, but has been on hold while Trip and Starlito determine an avenue for release that makes the most business sense, according to Trip.

Like few other Memphis rap acts before him — 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Yo Gotti — Trip now has experience negotiating an increasingly rocky business where “getting signed” is a guarantee of nothing and where making a living is more likely to come from concert appearances than records.

“You have to stay on the road, especially in this business,” Trip says of his tour schedule. “If we aren't on the road, we won't eat.”

Trip will talk about his experiences Friday at the Memphis Music Foundation's Music Resource Center at 431 S. Main Street. The event is runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is open to resource center members but space is limited. You can register to attend here.

“I expect a lot of questions,” Trip says about the event. “The reason I agreed to do it is that that's what steered me in the right direction. I used to go to [similar] events sponsored by the Rap Coalition.”

In advance of the Halloween release of Help is On the Way, Trip has released a single from the project, “Prolly”:

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