Lil’ Flip hails from Houston TX and has earned mad respect from all those who understand that this is no ordinary rapper. Wesley E Weston Jr.
AKA Lil’ Flip has earned his place as one of the most intriguing rappers of our generation. He believes in putting God and his family first above all else. Lil’ Flip has been in the game since 1999.as Lil’ Flip has had major hits such as “This is the way we ball”, “Game Over” and “Sunshine”.
Lil’ Flip has collaborated with some of the heaviest hitters in the rap game such as 50 Cent, Chamillionair, and David Banner. Flip has also written a best seller called “Don’t Let the Industry Kill You”. He is also an unstoppable business man who has his hands in several businesses including a technology company.
Lil’ Flip has two new singles that are currently climbing the charts; BITM and Street Doctor featuring MJG off the double CD called King Life. The video premiered on MTV Jams and BET.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Freestyle himself and here is how it all went down:
Nayomi: How are you doing Flip?
Lil’ Flip: I’m doing great!
You have been in the game for quite some time now since 1999
Lil’ Flip: Yes, pretty much my whole family does music and if you’re born in my family you do music. I pretty much didn’t have a choice. My grandmother was a choir director so I pretty much didn’t have a choice. I’ve been doing music all my life.
Nayomi: Who really inspired you to do Hip Hop?
Lil’ Flip: I mean I come from music so the people like the Ghetto Boys, I’m from the south and different labels so people from those labels inspired me Like we don’t have the liberty to walk down the street and go to a Def Jam so everything I learned I learned from the Rap A lot and J Crenshaw. Everybody from No Limit to P Diddy and Death Row. I sucked it up like a sponge and applied it to my life and career.
Nayomi: So you just take a little bit from everybody
Lil’ Flip: Right and put my own Flip on it and make it work.
Nayomi: So when it came to deciding your stage name how did you come up with Lil’ Flip?
Lil’ Flip: They always called me flip from when I was younger. I used to always flip and then at the same time I was always trying to make money. I used to get the Jordan’s early from this store in my neighborhood that always had the Jordan’s in my size like a year early or a half a year early. So I would wear them for a couple of months ad then I would sell them. You know how it is in the hood if you get the Jordan’s a month or 2 weeks early then you feel great. I would keep them in good condition and would just sell them I would always be flipping shoes and turning flips to hustle.
Nayomi: So when you say turning flips are you talking about physical flips?
Lil’ Flip: Right!!!
Nayomi: ok So you did the physical flip and then you did the money flip by selling the sneakers?
Lil’ Flip: Yeahhhaaa!!!!
Nayomi: So, lets talk about your single BITM of the Double CD called King Life. The single just dropped and was premiered on MTV James and BET. I saw the video and it was like in the form of an actual movie. Who came up with the concept?
Lil’ Flip: I’m a director and an actor as well. I just wanted to present this music to the fans and to the public and in whole different manner. I’m basically shooting videos to every track on the album and we are connecting them like movies. My business partner TJ and I have a jewelry store in Austin and he was telling me that we need to do a skit within the jewelry store so since I’m a business man I said while we doing a skit, we might as well get them in a video so we ended up doing a video with Dan Rough and Nick Patty Wack from New Orleans! And shout out to them for posting it on their social media and website. As far as the hook, shout out to FREON ICY COLD who is my artist. He came up with the hook. I knocked out the verses and you can’t have a track on their and not have somebody on there from Memphis. I had to put one of my favorite rappers on there MJG! That was my third record I did with MJG. That’s my favorite rapper.
Nayomi: It is a fabulous single and I definitely loved listening to it. I really love everything about it and the video was very entertaining! Another one that I liked was the Street Doctor video. What led to the concept of that one?
Lil’ Flip: Well I’m in the dispensary business as well and as a veteran in the game I was able to come up with a concept. I’m tired of watching videos where people are just standing in the video in front of cars and with girls. I like story lines. I remember watching videos back in the day like when Michael Jackson would put a video out we used to stand by the video waiting. It was like a movie. You never knew if he was going to have Eddie Murphy, Iman
Nayomi: Right! A lot of that is missing these days. There is no creativity anymore. Everybody wants the check and not really want to do the creative part. I would like to thank you for being creative
Lil’ Flip: Not problem
Nayomi: Can you give us a little information on Arctic Nation? Is there a single out?
Lil’ Flip: Yes. That’s Freon ICY Cold and he has a single dropping called “Bring in the Band “and we just shot the video for that. He is one of the few artists that just had a strong work ethic. Most artist say I want to rap but they don’t have a plan. He came to me with a full plan about how he wanted to promote so I really didn’t have to do too much except look over his plans and make changes to a few things. For the most part, he already has where he wants to go. He is 98 percent doing this on his own. I’m just guiding him in the right way on certain things. I’m at the point in my career where I want to sign people who don’t need training wheels. I need people that know how to go to the studio and they can come to me and ask me to check this out. He is a musician just like me and can play instruments.
Nayomi: So what instruments do you play?
Lil’ Flip: Piano, drums and I’m learning guitar. Never played horns because I see what it does to the bottom lip. Can’t have the lips messed up.
Nayomi: Oh, I didn’t know that the horns can mess up your lips. We definitely don’t want that to happen since you have very kissable lips.
Lil’ Flip: Laughing and Blushing
Nayomi: So, you have had some hard times like everyone else has but through it all, you have really cared about your community and you have done so much for your community that you have a day dedicated to you in your honor. What was it like finding out about that day and receiving that day?
Lil’ Flip: That is actually my second day. I got my own day in this place in Port Isabelle where all the spring breakers go. I used to always go out there doing concerts since I was little and I brought so many fans and tourist to that location that the mayor of that town gave me that day as well like on my birthday. He gave that to me about 7 years ago. This is my second day now that I have one in my own city so shout out to Ms. Monica and those who helped me put that together because I just said that it was time for me to get my own day in Houston and I’m one of those people who speak things into existence. I said I wanted my own day since they were seeing the things I was doing in my community such as the “Art over Drugs” program which helps the kids paint. I was able to receive my own day here in Houston. Shout out to Monica and the Mayor Sylvester Turner because they made it happen.
Nayomi: That sounds wonderful and is definitely an honor! I was reviewing some of your information on YouTube and you seem to be a family man and family means a lot to you. I know you have had some deaths in your family however you seem really close with your grandmother. How does she and your other family members feel about you being in the music industry.
Lil’ Flip: My grandmother always sings the lyrics to my records. She loves “This is the way we Ball” Ands she always sings the lyrics to it and says she is about to be the oldest granny to put out a rap album and her first single is going to be “This is the way we ball” The Senior Citizens edition.
(We were both laughing at this)
My grandfather was a little resistant to the rap music and then he started seeing me make money and I played basketball and he wanted me to go to the league and go pro but I was making so much money off music and I was like I’m traveling everywhere now and don’t have to get a busted lip or a sprained ankle. I just stuck with the music and that’s what they trained me to do anyway so I just stuck with the music. I was doing it so long for God and for the church and for me to get paid to do it anyway so it was like a no brainer for me.
Nayomi: Right so isn’t it wonderful when you realize your dream and get paid for it? Would you agree?
Lil’ Flip: I agree
Nayomi: So let me get into your personal life a little? What is your status? Married, Single, In a relationship?
Lil’ Flip: Well I took media training so personal business I kind of leave it separate.
Nayomi: Ok I got you!
Lil’ Flip: But you know; I did finally find a SUNSHINE! Yes Yes Yes!
Nayomi: Ok that is wonderful! Any children?
Lil’ Flip: Yes. I have children.
Nayomi: Thank you for sharing that. Can you elaborate more on what you are doing with the youth?
Lil’ Flip: My Art over Drug movement, we teach kids how to paint, how to act and how to play musical instruments. Also I do work with the football team from the neighborhood and know someone I grew up with who is helping with that. Most people wait until they are in middle school or high school to decide what they want to be so just imagine being 8 or 9 years old and you are doing art auctions with your family and friends and you’re making 1200 dollars. You aint got to be mad at your mama for not buying you those Jordan’s and that iPad cause guess what, you making the money on your own.
Nayomi: That’s definitely commendable and thank you so much for contributing to our youth because a lot of them think that its about cars, money and half naked women. Thank you for contributing your time and sharing your life with our youth.
Lil’ Flip: That’s just how I was raised. The bible says you do it to the children, you do it to me. If you mistreat the kids, you are going to have worse karma than doing an adult bad.
Nayomi: You are absolutely right! So. you have liquor deal coming up?
Lil’ Flip: I got a couple of liquor deals. I have my own liquor called Lucky Nights it’s a a pineapple almoretta with Vodka. I did a deal with Bellaire so I’m one of promoters and ambassadors to promote that brand as well. Working smart not hard.
Nayomi: Lets talk about what you have coming up next. Where will you be performing?
Lil’ Flip: Right now, we working on a Texas Tour. I usually bounce around everywhere and go to all these towns. My album drops in March the day before my Birthday so we are going to take the tour everywhere.
Nayomi: I pray that the Carolinas would be one of your stops so I can be in the audience cheering you on.
Lil’ Flip: Yes! I love the Carolinas so that is definitely on the list.
Nayomi: Please provide all of your social media handles so that we can know where to find you.
Lil’ Flip: Yes, I keep it simple. My IG and Twitter is Lil Flip 713 my Facebook is Lil Flip Aka Flip Gates so I just keep it all simple no underscores and all that extra.
Nayomi: Is there anything else you would like to share before we conclude?
Lil’ Flip: Well just want to send prayers out to everyone that is going through what they are going through with the Hurricane in my city. Its a lot of people in shelters and waters in their house so shout out to everybody out there that’s doing what they doing to help. Shout out the people that are riding around in their trucks and boats helping others. Shout out to the mayor and Sheila Lee Jackson and the state representatives and everybody. Those are the people who help other people as well. We just praying that this hurricane is over so that our city can get back to being the dopest city ever H Town as we are known to be.
Nayomi: Are you there now where all the water is?
Lil’ Flip: I’m here and we aren’t flooded out like some of the other parts of Houston. We been calling and checking on everybody in the family.
Nayomi: Can you drop any encouraging words of wisdom for anyone who may want to follow in your foot steps?
Lil’ Flip: In my book “Don’t let The Music Industry Fool You” I talk about being careful of how you treat people. Because you never know that the person you talking trash to could be the one you might have to answer to one day. I’ve done frat shows for people and eight to nine years later, the same frat would book me and because of how I conducted myself.
Nayomi: So, would that be your words wisdom to be careful how you treat people?
Lil’ Flip: The Golden Rule! Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Nayomi: Vision Radio and I would like to thank you for your time and sharing your story and your life with me and Vision Radio.
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Author: Nayomi Charnelle