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Rip - conducted by Bill "Low-Key" Heinzelman  

I Got Next

March 2005

The Windy City was overlooked by the Hip Hop community for nearly a decade. That was until Kanye West and Twista, among others, recently broke the door down. Now Chicago is a hotbed for Hip Hop, as a variety of talented up and coming emcees have started to make their mark. Newcomer Rip is one of these individuals. The producer/emcee has paid his dues over the years by releasing three independent albums and now all his hard work is finally starting to pay off. Rip hopes his newest mixtape Presents The Midwest ReMixtape, takes his career to even greater heights. The albums features new material from Rip and exclusive remixes from Twista, Do Or Die and a variety of Chi Town artists. This is Rip, get familiar.

MVRemix: Lets start with some background and history questions so people can get to you know. Where were you born and what was it like growing up there over the years?

Rip: I was born just outside the northwest side of Chicago. Lived in the Chicago area my whole life. When I was 6, we moved up to Waukegan a city about 35 miles north of Chicago, it's on Lake Michigan and the Mid-point between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Growing up in Waukegan is like growing up in a part of Chicago. It's like a piece of Chicago, just moved up north a little bit. Waukegan ain't your typical "suburb" or what have you. I think it's like the 9th largest city in the state, and it's got all your typical poverty, gangs, drugs, violence, prostitutes, cultural diversity and urban culture. Whites are actually the minorities in the high school.

MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?

Rip: Hahaha, them baggy ass velcro MC Hammer pants.

MVRemix: What was that one album you constantly listened to over and over as a kid?

Rip: Snoop Dogg's Doggysytle and Warren G's G Funk Era.

MVRemix: How did you first get into rhyming?

Rip: I remember rapping along to all my favorite songs as a kid, then taking the instrumentals to the songs and the cassette singles and trying rap the full song along to the instrumental. But then I started DJing at age 12 and got my first pair of tables at 14. After that, it was over with. I would take the hip hop records I spun and flipped 'em to the instrumental side and started getting on the mic, rhyming on some goofy shit and I started recording freestyles. It jus got more serious from there. Then I picked up producing cause I wanted to put out my own original shit and make money off it.

MVRemix: From there how did you start to make a name for yourself locally?

Rip: Man, it's been hard, but just persistence and keeping at it, and creating that buzz. One accomplishment led to another and over time I just earned that respect. It ain't come easy though. And I gotta say much luv to my main man Fabo on my street team, he helpd spread the word throughout the high school and keep all the youngins updated and spread that Rip sound. So help from my street team and just word of mouth.

MVRemix: From there how did things progress to where you started to grow beyond the local scene?

Rip: People started hearing about me somehow and wanted to book me for a show outside of the Chicago area. So we did that and I realized that outside of the local scene it ain't nothing but love!! The local scene is actually the hardest scene to get love from cause ain't nobody wanna show love because everyone else and they momma trying come up too, so it ain't nothing but haters round here. But last year when we did a show up in Wisconsin, we set that joint on fire. The other acts before us wasn't cutting it, and the crowd was dead as hell and just wanted to see the main act (which was the Ying Yang Twins). But we changed that. We rocked the shit out that show, and it was nothing but love. When we were done with our set, we went to the front of the crowd and were signing autographs, selling CDs, and taking pix wit the fans. And I don't wanna say who the act on stage was when we was doing that at the time, bbut the crowd wasn't even paying attention to them. They were focused on us and getting CD's and autographs. I sold more CD's at that one show in 30 minutes than I did in 3 months here back at home. We also did another show in Madison a few months after that show and I got emails from people saying how much they loved our performance at the show and they wish that we performed again and that we were one of the only good groups that performed that night. So outside of the local scene, it's been all love. And on top of that, we have fans from all over the world who get up on our music too!

MVRemix: How would you describe your style and in your opinion, what separates you from everyone else?

Rip: My style....I would have to say is definitely an original style. Definitely some Midwest influences, but mainstream appeal at the same time. Plus my style is soo distinct, when you pop in a song of mine, you know off the bat it's "Rip". I just have that distinct raspy voice and style. I don't sound like the next cat coming up. Also, I think what else sets me apart is my ethnicity, being a Caucasian/Latino artist.

MVRemix: I read that you have done three albums already. Tell us about them and the responses you got?

Rip: Yeah.... 3, now 4 albums out with this new "Midwest ReMixtape". The first 2 albums we did were pretty much us getting our feet wet and figuring out how the game works. The first album "In the Lab 1.0" in my opinion is straight garbage. I mean it was hot to me when we first dropped it in 2002, but looking back now I can see why it didn't do so well. The next album "Coming up in the Game" production and flow was stepped up a bit and it did better than the first album. But still didn't do as good as I wanted. Then after that we dropped "The Bootleg Album" which was like a promo CD, kind of like a mixtape but not really, that did pretty good. Through all the time since those first 3 albums, my style and flow has matured alot and in 2004 I went through ALOTTA personal shit...I mean ALOT...which led me to lyrically and emotionally be at the level I'm at on "The Midwest ReMixtape". That's the newest mixtape we're on, and to be honest, this mixtape is gonna surpass all our past 3 albums put together. It's a promotional CD/album and it's really doing its job. In just the first month of it's release we already have had over 5,000 downloads from all over the world and thousands of units already moved in just the streets of Chicago. And that's just what I can keep track of. There's probably alot more out spread by just word of mouth. So get this new Mixtape and tell all yall friends and burn them copies!!! Bootleggers, get at me! Yall my best friends right now.

MVRemix: Besides being an emcee, you are also a producer. What is your production sound like? Do you sample? What equipment do you mainly use?

Rip: My production sound is like my rapping style. Midwest/Chi-Town influence with a mix of mainstream & commercial appeal. That's just what I been influenced by. Growing up where I did, in about '96 I started getting heavy into that Chi-Town shit like Twista and Do or Die and them grimy ass Chi-Town beats. So I got a mix of that with a mix of what really makes that money, that commercial shit. I use software such as Adobe Audition and Fruity Loops with alot more added samples. Hardware, I got a decent little keyboard and my Roland MC-303. That 303 is my shit. Small and portable, yet gets the job done too. As far as sampling, I stay away from that right now. I think sampling songs can be banging if done right, but it's starting to get played out already. Plus its too much bullshit to get copyright clearances and shit, so if I ever sample something, best believe its gonna be on a mixtape jo! haha!

MVRemix: Tell us about Rip Records?

Rip: Man...RiP Records is my independent label, Rise in Power Records, which I started back in 2000. It now consists of Me (as CEO, Producer and Recording Artist), PR Thug who is a long time friend from school and has been there almost since day one, Maricelli (Mari) a female singer who sang the hook to our single "Rags 2 Riches" (and a few other things in the past) and my man Influence. These artists ain't just "artists", they actually family. We get down outside of the studio and work. We actually chill. Me and PR grew up together, these are my boys, they are my fam. It gets deeper than just being artists on my label, which is why I think we work together so well. But RiP Records I'm trying to take to the top, like Roc-A-Fella out in New York. I wanna have one of the strongest labels out here in the Chi eventually.

MVRemix: You have your new mixtape out, Presents: The Midwest ReMixtape. Tell us about it. Who is on it? What can fans expect out of it? Etc...

Rip: " Presents...The Midwest ReMixtape" is a promotional mixtape to promote Chicago and Chicago artists to the rest of the world put out under There's remixes with Twista, Belo from Do or Die, Bump J, Shawnna, and exclusive stuff from The Legendary Traxster (Twista producer), Jah Rista (Swamp Family) and of course my family (RiP Records). It's 28 banging tracks of remixes from nothing but Chi-Town artists. So if y'all into Midwest or Chicago rap, this is Chicago's Hottest Mixtape and y'all need to get up on it! Old RiP Records fans can expect new shit from the RiP Fam, which is the hottest shit from us to date. They definitely won't be disappointed. New fans who never heard of us can expect some straight Chi-Town heat from them kids who's bout blow! There's alot of familiar beats so I think the fans would definitely love it! And if you don't oh well, you can't please everybody. But we've been getting alot of good response from it. We was actually on the South Side of the city today selling the mixtapes in the streets and some cat that bought it said he heard Mike Love on GCI talking bout how he heard the mixtape and it was hot. Whether that really happened or not, I don't know. But either way much love to Mike Love. But words getting out about the mixtape & Rip Fam.

MVRemix: What is your connection to Twista and

Rip: It's just all love between Twista and me. I started up back in 2001. It was the first Twista site ever on the net, and still the #1 Twista site on the net. So I helped campaign and promote Twista's "Kamikaze" album, so both ways it ain't nothing but love. But since I got my own career going now and have been soo busy with it lately, my guy from Excedra is holding down the site for me for now, which is all love. But we just decided it was time to let the world know what's up with Chicago so we put out a mixtape to help promote and Chicago Artists! That's how that went down.

MVRemix: Overall, what is your main career goal?

Rip: My main goal is just to become successful and prove everyone wrong. I don't need to sit on millions or in a mansion, I got humble beginnings. Just making it and proving to everyone that I could do it and living better than how I am now is successful to me. I would definitely love to be #1 on Billboards, definitely go Platinum and would love a Grammy. Those are my goals before worrying about the money.

MVRemix: Just from reading various interviews you have done, I see it has been tough coming up as an emcee with mixed ethnicity. How so?

Rip: It's been tough for the simple fact mugs like to judge a book by its cover and can rarely distinguish my Hispanic ethnicity. The immediate reaction people get is, "He's a white rapper", so they immediately think cause I appear to be white I'm well off. Or they don't think I've seen half the shit I have, and I rap about the stuff I do just because that's what everyone else raps about. Naw, I rap bout what I lived, done, seen or experienced. Whether the folks wanna believe me or not cause of my skin color, that's on them. But Chicago is a tough market to come up in as it is. And if you white it makes it even 10 times harder. Ain't really alot of other white Emcee's in Chicago but my man E.C. Illa "Whitefolks" and he got alot of street cred and respect in the Chi. But I'm sure even he has a hard time coming up dealing wit the same issue, but I can't speak on his behalf. As far as my Hispanic side, I don't really have a problem wit that side. I grew up around alot of Hispanics and they know the demo. I don't wanna make music for white folks or Hispanic folks. I wanna make music for everyone to enjoy and listen to, but like I said it's hard. You just gotta spit some real shit and hope people feel you no matter what your race.

MVRemix: Are you working on a new solo album? If so, tell us about it and what to expect.

Rip: Yeah I'm actually working on a solo album, but I'm taking my time. I wanna make it right. I'm working on a few Chi-Town collabo's but don't wanna give nothing away yet. It's definitely gonna be hot though. Since I'm taking my time and making the shit right, I might drop another mixtape before it's release jus to keep buzz going and fresh shit out for the fans. But I wanna drop my solo hopefully later this year in 2005. But look out for it. It might be called "Rise in Power" or "Rise of The Empire", I don't know yet fa sho. Then after that, look out for my mans Influence solo! That's gonna be hot too!

MVRemix: Anything else you have going on in the future?

Rip: I wanna produce my own movie/short film. I've always been into that stuff (film), but now since I've gotten into music, I think I have a better outlet to do so. So look out for that maybe in 2006 sometime. This jus the beginning of my Empire, so y'all gonna see alot from me in the future.

MVRemix: Any last words, shout outs, or plugs?

Rip: I gotta shout out my man Eric aka "Deep". That man's been there for me through alot of difficult times which I am thankful for. He is among a few of the people who's helped me get where I am today and if it weren't for him I definitely wouldn't be here. He's like a brother to me. Check him out at, Other than that, y'all know where to get at me, and cop the midwest Re-Mixtape at! Don't sleep on it, and if you do, make sure you cop it when you wake up! Fa sho!

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