Trip Lee’s music has long been an awarded flagship for Reach Records, the foremost faith-based hip-hop label. “Supernatural” is the most recent addition to a discography that includes albums like 2016 mixtape The Waiting Room and seminal 2014 album Rise (which was accompanied by a book of the same name).
In this episode of Trevor Talks, we dive deeper into the miraculous grace that allows Trip to continue saying “you got it” as an expression of soul surrender to God. The minister, husband and father of 3 is also someone who lives his day to day life with chronic illness. 12 years into his experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Trip Lee has a grounded perspective to offer anyone else dealing with long term suffering: “life is hard, and God is good.”
Follow Trip Lee:
Facebook: Trip Lee
Reach Records: reachrecords.com/artists/trip-lee
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Trip Lee 0:00
I think sometimes even a Christian music and in Christian circles, we're not that great at holding together the truth and life is really hard. And God is really good. We think we have to be like that is really good. And now let people know like it's still really, really hard or life is so hard. That must not be good. But I'm like, No, both of these things are true. And if I don't hold both of these things firmly and see the true photos, I'm not gonna be able to make sense of the world around me. Thank you for
Trevor Tyson 0:28
tuning in to Trevor talks podcast, where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today's guest is an author, teacher, hip hop artists and thought leader in his career, he's racked up stoer Award, a Dove Award, and has had multiple number one albums and played in front of 1000s all over the world. And to be quite honest with you, my inner teen is freaking out right now. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Mr. TRIPP Lee trip, dude. We're actually here. We made it.
Trip Lee 1:00
That's right. We made it. Thanks for having me.
Trevor Tyson 1:03
Dude, of course, thank you for coming on. And it feels like maybe 20 It feels like 20 minutes ago, I was on the car jamming out to rise and actually was but it that album in particular is just such a healing and the stylistic album to listen to, you know, a lot of people are like, oh, yeah, I grew up on Notorious BIG and all that. And I'm like, I've got Lecrae Andy Mineo. triply you know, I grew up in the woman 60 And I used to when I had my first job at Chick fil A, I dropped my whole paycheck on reach records merch. So I, we were, I had a 116 outfitted closet, you know, I'm saying,
Trip Lee 1:40
Wow, so yeah, I feel honored man. I was, there was all kinds of stuff that was less worried that I was wasting my Albertsons my grocery store paychecks on when I was a teenager. So that's dope, man. I appreciate No,
Trevor Tyson 1:52
no, for sure, dude. And I really want to dive into this single that you just had come out on the record summer playlist, man, tell us a little bit about it. What the message is?
Trip Lee 2:03
Yeah, so it's a song call you got it came out on the rich summer playlist, which came late summer. So people were liking this, there'll be some but yeah, I mean, it's a song that I was really excited about. And the really the theme of the song is, you know, in the verses, I'm talking about all the stuff that I could do, and some of the, you know, stuff that people will expect from public figures too, you know, I might get an eBay might try to do this rich stuff, I might try to pretend like I'm a gangster, I might do all these things, which will get me all this acclaim. And then at the end of the verses, it just keeps coming back to but I think I need something more than that. And there's this passage in the Gospels where Jesus basically says something hard. Everybody leaves looks at disciples, he's like, Hey, what are you all about to leave to? And then essentially, like, I don't even know where else I could where else can we go? We you have the words of life. And so that is a passage that always stuck with me. It always meant a lot to me, because it it kind of helps show shows what's at stake and me throwing everything at the feet of Jesus. So, so yeah, I thought I've always wanted to turn that into a song. And, yeah, I'm really happy with this.
Trevor Tyson 3:18
Well, the song is phenomenal. But the music video articulates everything in such a way that it's like, for you for Tripoli, like you've got the low key style you've always got on the Yankees hat, like it's a super chill thing. And you got people trying to throw Gucci on you've got these luxury cars, and it's like, it seems like it's extravagant for you. But if you really look into some of these, especially Hip Hop videos, that's literally what they're doing.
Trip Lee 3:44
Yeah. And, you know, even in the song, you know, there's a playfulness to it, you know, and some of the stuff I'm saying in the verses is overboard, you know, it's, you know, my faux charity benefit and keep all the money, I might do all of this stuff. But you know what, at the end of the day, it's never gonna get anywhere. So when we were talking about the video, I was like, Look, we don't do it. Let's go all the way. Let's, let's let's get a car. Let's get some sit on a throne of money. Let's get some some fake cocaine bricks, I listen, do the rapid things and try to use it to show to get a point of the song.
Trevor Tyson 4:19
Yeah, and for the message of the song. Why right now? Like, why was 2021 the time for this message is there's something specific that was going on in your life to where you're like, man, like I really got to put this out right now.
Trip Lee 4:32
You know, is it really has been a passage this always stuck with me that I really wanted to. Because I think there's so much stuff, you know, that I see in Scripture about who God is that that I think if we really looked at it, we will see how it resonated with us. I mean, you know, the disciples in a place was like, it's hard to follow Jesus. He just said something that's hard. Often when people like oh, no, but following God, you want me to do this. You don't want me to do this. And the disciples were at a place where was like, yes. Well, he just said it's hard. But on the other hand, he has something that I can't get anywhere else. So where else am I gonna go? Because you have what I need. And so I wanted that to connect with people. And I think, you know, and this is what a lot of the stuff I've been writing right now we are in a place just culturally, it's been a really hard couple years, you know, and there's so many hopes and dreams and stuff we thought was gonna go one way that hasn't really gone that way that I think really connects well with, you know, kind of where my heart is man with the music that I've been trying to write. And I've always tried to write stuff that's honest about difficulties about what it means to live in this world. And so I hope my music keeps doing that. Nope, the song did that.
Trevor Tyson 5:41
It did for sure. And you're one of the founding members and 116. So I, that's a big deal. It's almost like okay, this dude's on the pinnacle of like, if there were a Mount Rushmore for Christian rap, and for me, hip hop, you'd be on it. And for so many young kids that are coming right now and they're like, you could record songs in your house. A lot of professional musicians have studios in their homes now. What? What is your encouragement for them? Like it's a whole new generation of just unashamed kids. I saw a kid at a show we did the other day, he had a 116 hat, and I asked him about it. And he was impacted by the music. So for me personally, and millions across the globe. What does it mean to you to be a part of this clique? Still unashamed here in 2021?
Trip Lee 6:27
Oh, man, it means a lot to me. You know, people say something like, oh, man, we grew up listening to you. I'm like, oh, man, it makes me feel kind of Oh, even though I was the, the young, but, you know, I was in high school when I met these dudes, you know? So it feels amazing. I love what we built. And it's funny sometimes because we weren't setting out to build some big thing, right? We was just like, Hey, we love God, we love hip hop. Let's Let's rap we don't like some of the stuff. Rap was a saying let's talk about where we at. And let's push back against some of the stuff that we don't think is good. You know, this for me even as like stuff that music did for me that impacted me and unique seasons. And also some of the stories I love to hear most will people like man I first show I did after I hadn't done I think was super long time because of the pandemic. The very first show I did. There was a girl who came up to me after the show, she said, Hey, I can't count the number of times where you saved my life where I felt like taking my life and your music actually helped me to change my mind and helped me to see things in a little bit of a different way. And she said that to me living eyes verse and Sivan. said thank you and walked off. And, you know, that's, that's the type of stuff that for me is like you, I just don't always know the way that music is impacting people. I can't always see that. I don't know all the stories that I don't know. But stuff like that makes me very grateful to get to be a part of this. And I hope you know, the Lord continues to use it. And I hope that some of the stuff we did, you know, blazed the trail for other people. And, and yeah, and I'm excited for for this new season for me, too. You know, I'm far from from being done. So I'm also excited about what's next for us.
Trevor Tyson 8:15
Yeah, and I mean, if you don't look at the reach catalog right now, you've got whole v one o RG 1k. Few, like, we're actively seeing these kids living out their dreams. They have your poster on their wall, and now they can use it with you. So like, a funny thing about you getting into it in high school man. It's like, my first national tour was in high school, it was out cry 2015 Oh, wait, you were on. And it was like, that was the thing that showed me like, Okay, if you want to do this whole, extravagant journey for Jesus, like, how far are you willing to go? I missed over 180 days of high school, my senior year, interning with Nicole, like doing all these fun things. And yeah, it was like, are you willing to drop like prom and homecoming, all that and I was like, I don't care. Like, let's get out here and do it. But so many kids are willing to chase this music thing now and even just chase Jesus. It's not super encouraged.
Trip Lee 9:12
And I did forget to say I didn't answer all your questions. Certainly advice. Oh, yeah. Who tried to do it? It's like, you know, when I was first starting, I recorded like a little mixtape in my room. But, look, it was not. It was much harder to do that. I just said like that it was much more difficult to do that. There were less ways for me to get music out. It was a whole different situation. So they are amazing. Yeah, there's amazing ways to kind of get going and sometimes I'll tell people that be like, Nah, man, I can't wait to do that. You know, as soon as I as soon as you know, I can raise this money to go buy this thing and then I'm gonna start doing my music thing or as soon as I like meet a couple people. And I'm always trying to encourage people like the dudes who say that, to me, are usually the people who you look up to From now on, there's still more things that they can point to. And for me, it was like, I was even in a little group when I was really young and basically just dragging my feet and I was like, Well look, I'm about to just do it myself then like, there's all kinds of stuff we can wait on, but just go out there like whatever you have in front of you make the most of that and then when you have more stuff at your disposal, and then you will be ready to go. So I just want to encourage people if, if you think you have beautiful art to, you know, to put out there in the world or you got things to say, You got stuff you want to make, and you think it would encourage people to challenge people like find a way to do it, you can do and then you know don't wait for other people to put the opportunities in front of you make those opportunities and and yeah, walk through open doors when they there.
Trevor Tyson 10:42
Yeah, and even the highlight you a little bit when you were coming up in the music scene, there was barely like I doubt YouTube was around when you were in high school and such right or was just coming maybe.
Trip Lee 10:54
And yeah, like, yeah, I didn't have like I never put any bad songs on SoundCloud. You know, there's one way where it's like, Hey, make sure you put some of this out there but you know, like my bad mix they wouldn't on SoundCloud or wasn't uh you know, I didn't have what No, YouTube wasn't easy ways to get it out. So there's some ways I've benefited from that I was at least a little bit more fully formed people first and Jeremy but
Trevor Tyson 11:16
and even distro kid CD Baby, like you just put your stuff on Apple Music Spotify. Now, it hasn't always been that way. It used to be you had to have a manager you had to have an agent you had to get with a label. If you want distribution globally, you got to do this, that and the other and it's like, now you got it pretty good. Like these kids are here. bone up on tick tock, there definitely wasn't tick tock. But like, God's done such miraculous things through you. And your story alone in its own right is super unique. So I really want to dive into what that looked like for you like from childhood up before you met the 116. Guys before you even started making music, like, what was life like for you?
Trip Lee 12:01
Yeah, that's a big question. Um, you know, I grew up in Dallas, which is where I live now. That's where I'm at now I'm in my kind of office studio at home. I grew up in Dallas. Both my parents and house had great parents raises well loved music from a really young age. My dad was a music level. So he was always playing music all the time. And good music he put me on put us on a good stuff. Stephen, one of one of I, you know, Snyder family stone, like classic excellent music. And was always like, Ah, you don't want to hear you know, your generation without doing this is what you know what real music is type stuff, which I'm sure I will do to my kids when the time comes. But that just gave me a love for music at a very young age. And you know, when you look at the stuff you love, you try to do yourself love basketball I did. I tried to play basketball, baseball, whatever. I also tried to do music, wrapping my friends all the time. I assumed that I was a Christian from a really young age, just because I repeated a prayer after the children's pastor one time and I thought Oh, that makes me Christian. But I don't think I was because I didn't understand what that meant. I didn't understand who God was or what my relationship why why my relationship with God would have been strained at all a while I really needed to save you to take me back to home. When I was so Middle School, me and my friends, I was rapping freestyle, battling and lunch getting in trouble writing rhymes and little notebooks and class getting in trouble. And it did come a time. And I was like, I think I might be a little better than them. Or at least I take us more seriously or means more to me. And then when I'm like 14 years old, I think that's when I meet Jesus when I like, Oh, I'm not a very good lord in my life. Like there are ways I've led myself astray. And there's actually no way for me to pay the penalty of my own sins, I'll get myself back to God because I've gotten myself in this mess, and got us in a save you to take the tone that clicks. And you know, I still struggle, but my perspective on life begins to change, my life begins to change. And that impacts every area of my life. So I'm like, oh, man, I should change how I'm interacting with these girls and change how I'm interacting with my parents when I'm doing the school, which is a bumpy road. But for me also, it was like, Oh, what about my music? Like, at that point? I'm just rapping about how dope I think I am how many girls I can pull greatest rapper of all time, whatever stuff. And, and yeah, so you know, I started listening to rappers who are rapping in ways that are life giving and stuff that helped me understand things about the world and about God. I'm like, I want to do that for other people. So I started Yeah, I started doing that. I was like rapping and whatever opportunities I had in my church some and I wasn't good, but they still let me do it. Yeah, and then I met do some reach when I was 15 Ain't nothing. And and yeah, long story short, you know, linked up with them, but the relationship with them and you know, ended up signing a record deal with reach for I graduated high school in my senior year. And that's what I did. My first record was when I was singing high school. So
Trevor Tyson 15:14
Wow. And when did your faith become real for you? Like, I know you started going to use groups to meet girls, but when did when did this really come into play for your life?
Trip Lee 15:26
Yeah, you know, I did start going to youth group trying to meet girls. Bad motivations, but God is sovereign even over that stuff. And he when I started going, Yeah, I had a go you pass man. I mean, he's actually a friend. Now back in Dallas. He's a good friend. And he, yeah, I mean, gas was being preached. So I'm starting to see stuff. And so around that time, when I'm 14, that's when the gospel clicks that, oh, I need a Savior. And that's how I'm forgiven of my sins. And that's how I can have new life. And so from that point on, stuff starts to change. I started to read the Bible. Soon after that. I'd had a Bible before my grandma gave me a Bible. It was like a children's children of color Bible. And so it was like King James, I couldn't understand nothing. Whenever I tried to read it. It was like pictures of all these biblical characters. Everybody was super black. Solomon had like dreads braids. And, you know, so I was like, oh, here are these cool. It was also like, random African kings and queens, you know? So it was like, it was just a story. And I couldn't understand none of it. You know, I'm saying so when I put my faith in Jesus for real, and then I started reading the Bible. I read something, James, I don't remember what it was. Something happened to me the next day and what I read, apply to the situation. And it just blew me away. I was like, Whoa, like, what God says in his old book, says something to my life right now. And that changed my life. And so yeah, I mean, they will people that guy just kept saying to my life to help me, my youth pastor and then I'm in cranium. And, and that's been a lot of my story throughout my life as the Lord has sent people into my life to pour into me, who helped me to grow helped me to mature helped me to understand God, all kinds of stuff. So I'm really grateful for that.
Trevor Tyson 17:22
And now you're a father of two you got your wife three now
Trip Lee 17:27
three games is right, I gotta warn you row got a house?
Trevor Tyson 17:34
Well, one thing about you that I really admire and can relate with as you struggle with chronic fatigue. So with being a father of three now one year old, that's I haven't to there for a while, you know, I get to busy busy times. How, how do you balance like your church life, your family life, and then diving back into music, all while struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome?
Trip Lee 18:00
Yeah, man, you know, I wish, I wish I had like a very pretty picture to paint of how I figured out how to make it all work. But I really don't you know, it's, it's different from season to season. You know, there's some seasons was harder than others it is and has been for the last. You know, at this point, about 15 years, it's been the hardest part of every part of my life. And in different seasons, it impacts me in different ways. But really, man, it is me trying to have an incredible wife, who I couldn't have known how amazing of a wife she was, when I married her, I would like to be like, when I saw it, I knew the kind of mom she was gonna be, and I know how strong she would be. But, you know, we didn't know all these things would happen. So I'm super grateful for her. And in each season, we are always trying to reevaluate and say, Okay, here's what's on our plate. What does it look like for us to be faithful in this feels like too much? Because it's just a season, is that something we need to change? And it's been for me, there's been a lot of things that I felt would go particular ways it did not go that way. And that is one of the things that yeah, one of the things about having a chronic illness did that is unpredictable. There's not even understood that well is. Yeah, I mean, when in James when. Yeah, when he's like, you know, you say you don't go into town and do this the next day. And he's basically like, I mean, you being a fool your life is available, you should say, I'm gonna do this. If the Lord wills and that phrase Little Women with sometimes we just get tagged on the stuff. It's just a nice, cute Christian phrase. means more to me than then certainly than I did when I was younger. It's like, I know I have plans. I know here, missteps. I'm trying to take towards something but at the end of the day, it's in the Lord's hands, so I just got to hold stuff with open hands and I got to try my best to be faithful and some seasons. I'm like, Great season some seasons. I'm like this is a disaster. that would help us to kind of put stuff in a new tab was organized differently and try our best to be faithful. And there are a lot of times where I'm just like, I don't know, but I'm gonna just try to put my head down and be faithful. And then trust that the Lord can work this out. So yeah,
Trevor Tyson 20:14
man that's so deep and out on outcry. And then a few of the winter jam dates I always made sure I was out in the crowd, when you would start doing sweet victory just because for you, as an artist, like people don't realize they think tour like you just wake up, they'll do a show you go back, sleep, do whatever you want. But for someone like you that struggle with chronic fatigue, and on top of having a family that you can't really take out with you, you're away from your family, you're out of your home, you're sleeping on a bus, you don't sleep that good of buses, like you sleep, but it's sleep, you know, and every single night when you did sweet victory, it just helped me find this newfound appreciation for what you were out there doing. And there's some of the lines in that song that really stuck with me. It's like, even as I write these lines, I'm close to tears, my body ain't been working right? For seven years, that hit hits me with that, keep your chin up, try to smile. And you were 26 that time, I should feel better by mouth keeping cute quotes, I pass on cliches when I get into it, but that whole Why don't you fill in for me? You gotta like that song. In particular, though, it's like, that's vulnerability. And you can feel it and even with Demetri and the lady you had on the song with you, like, that is a masterpiece on his own. And God use that to hit me. And I wouldn't even want to know how many other people I mean, I do, but I don't because then I'm gonna be like, dang, I need those kinds of views. You know, like, it's so vulnerable and honest. And it's like, you really allowed God to use you within that as you have with all your music, but this in particular, as a deep, how did you have any experiences writing that song where you're like, Man, I can't put this out. Like, I don't want people to view me as I'm weak or this or that. What did that songwriting process look like?
Trip Lee 22:08
Me and Gabby worked on it song together. So I you know, we we had some like references for him where I wanted to go production wise wanted to feel kind of cinematic. I wanted it to start first having a song no drum. So we had some very specific things I wanted musically. Got it did an incredible job. Wrote the hook with Natalie Lauren, and the worship spot party at the end of the summit, the singer. And, you know, Joseph realizing this string arrangement like this stuff about that record, and when I got it back, the final mix, I think it's been one of the few times where I gotta find a mix. And I was like, this is something special. And not just like, Oh, cool. By the time you like mixing stuff. He's so tired of hearing everything. But that one just felt special. As I was writing it, I mean, really experienced I had writing it, I wasn't worried about being vulnerable. You know, I don't really know how else to be man, I don't really know how to be honest. I don't know how not to be fake, while not being honest about where I'm at. I don't know. And sometimes I'm like, I don't want people in that maybe I shouldn't say that. Whatever. I just don't know how it's to be honestly. And I think sometimes even a Christian music and in Christian circles, we're not that great at holding together the truth. And life is really hard. And God is really good. We think we have to be like that is really good. And now let people know life is still really, really hard or life is so hard. That must not be good. But I'm like, No, both of these things are true. And if I don't hold both of these things firmly and seated true for those, I'm not gonna be able to make sense of the world around me. And even as I was writing that song, literally. Yeah, like, that was one of the songs was just really hard for me to finish up and get out because it was towards the end of a process and I was running out of gas and just kind of barely got it. So that song means a lot to me. And it's one of the songs that I hear from people the most about ways it's impact. And it just makes me really grateful to Yeah, you know, it's crazy to like write songs at my house, in my room in my office, and the ways that the Lord are using for people, you know, it blows me away. And you know, I'm just grateful for those opportunities to do it.
Trevor Tyson 24:22
Yeah. And you and GAVI like that's a monumental record on its own rise in general from the cover art to the book. I mean, you touch on so many different topics in the stories within the album on guy contemplating cheating on his wife all the way down to you struggle with chronic fatigue, like there's a little bit of everything and that and just shot off to you on that. And then you went into the waiting room which you got your Dove Award on, and God's just really been amazing thing, doing amazing things through your music. For how long have you been a musician is going on two decades or more?
Trip Lee 25:02
Oh, man Don't say that. Um, yeah, I mean, yeah, my first my first album came out 2006 You know, so that's the 10 years ago. So yeah, and I'm very, very grateful and, and I will say like it's rare for artists to get to do this for this long. I suppose I'm I like new keeps disappearing. But yeah,
Trevor Tyson 25:23
in 2011 or 12 You're like Nam don't want music, then you came back with the best album ever. Alright, man, keep doing it.
Trip Lee 25:32
Yeah, man, you know, it's been a while since way when we came out to and you know, I'm working on new music that I'm very, very excited about. And I'm grateful that people still care. I'm grateful to people who've been impacted by stuff and Lord willing, they'll continue to be. And I don't assume that I will always have the platform that I have had. And I do have every moment I have it is a gift. It's mercy from God, every opportunity I have ever known. Somebody wants to have an interview with me is a gift. It's a merciful God, I don't I'm not old. Because I want to be faithful, as long as those doors are open. And yes, try to keep making stuff that impacts people.
Trevor Tyson 26:09
Well, I'm so glad it's a gift when people ask for interviews, because you best know, I've texted Jackie, and I was I love. This has to happen. And she's amazing. And then as we kind of wrap this up, like, I like to ask questions and really have conversations on things that are going to be encouraging to people but also help them grow spiritually. And they're faced with their family, just their everyday life. So when it comes down to it, if someone's watching or listening to this right now and they're struggling through mental health, maybe they're feeling suicidal, maybe they're struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome themselves. What would the message from Tripoli be to them?
Trip Lee 26:52
Yeah, I think part of it for me will be a reminder that hard seasons doesn't mean that God has gone that there is a real dad, who, who is not only like he's not annoyed when you bring your situations to him, like he, he commands you to bring that to me. Like, don't try to carry that by yourself, bring it to me, I'll carry that burden, but He commands us to handle it over to him. And he says, I'll get in there which clearest example man, Jesus puts on human flesh and comes to this crazy Earth lives the perfect life that we couldn't live to feed. You know, like, there's a God who has done everything to show you like in substance, like it's not like he's not with you he is. And he'll walk in that with you. And there's, especially for someone with chronic illness. There's a very, it's very isolating, it's very alienated from other people. And it can certainly feel like no one really understands it can feel like even the people who want to understand can't fully because they met in it. And it is encouraging for me to remember like Now the Lord is in this Whitney. He understands it far better than than I even do. And sometimes there's enough
Trevor Tyson 28:11
if you're listening this you heard it from Tripoli himself. Keep pressing on know that God's got a plan for your life. We love y'all so much. And Tripp, thank you so much for taking time to be with me today. This is quite refreshing. And one of the bucket list items just got checked off right here on the server talks. If you've tuned in, I made it this far in the interview. Thank you so much for your support. Be sure to check out all the links in description for the waiting room for you got it for all trips, records. We'll put the link for social media and everything in there as well and keep pressing on know that God loves you and He has such an amazing purpose for you. And we'll talk to you guys next week. Bye now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Trip Lee is an author, teacher, hip-hop artist, and thought leader. A pastor in Atlanta, he regularly preaches and teaches at Christian conferences and events, and has performed his music for thousands of listeners around the world.
In his first book, The Good Life, Lee points to the abundant life available only in Christ – a life beyond anything the world can offer. His second book, Rise, calls a younger generation not to wait to follow God, but to get up and live now.
As a hip-hop artist, Lee’s music has received critical acclaim, while reaching a large and growing audience. He’s won a Stellar award and been nominated for several Dove Awards. His last three albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel charts, and his most recent album, Rise, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Rap charts and #16 on the Billboard 200.
Trip’s deepest desire in his writing, teaching, and performing is to declare the goodness and glory of Jesus Christ.
To book Trip Lee to teach, preach, or perform at your event, contact WME.