Memphis rapper Don Trip is a deft MC with a distinctive, raspy flow, a sharp, often playful use of wordplay, and a wry sense of humor. But what most sets him apart is that he always has something to say. Trip not only knows what it's like to live in a world of everyday want and scarcity but describes it in gripping detail.
Trip's latest mixtape-style album, Help Is On the Way, opens with "Shelter" and a consideration of his own mother's daily struggle.
This is a world where unemployment checks don't go far, and even fast food can be a luxury. It leads into the menacing, swaggering, in-the-moment single "Prolly," featuring fellow Memphis rapper Yo Gotti, the song's seductive celebration of an outlaw image implicitly connected to the struggles established in the opener.
And so it is with most of Trip's work. Here, the sensitive relationship look-back "Too Little, Too Late," which might be a sequel of sorts to Trip's breakthrough single "Letter to My Son," is balanced by the tag-team banger "She Want," where Trip trades rhymes with local scene-setter Juicy J. The coming-of-age showcase "Hold Back Tears" informs the defiant, plain-talking "Trap Shit."
An Interscope Records signee, Trip remains stuck in the major-label limbo that's almost become the norm for rappers. But that hasn't slowed him down. Trip's released roughly a dozen mixtapes over the past three years and this marks one of, by my count, four that have the consistency and focus of a legitimate album. — Chris Herrington
Don Trip and Starlito perform at Minglewood Hall on Saturday, November 17th.