Flipp Dinero has been bubbling in the scene since 2017 and by 2018 his voice was everywhere. His huge hit ‘Leave Me Alone’ cracked the Billboard Top 20 and has since racked up over 500 million streams across all platforms. Its infectious hook coupled with Flipp’s signature husky verses proved to be a recipe for success, helped only further by a co-sign from NFL superstar Odell Beckham Jr. in a viral video showing the wide receiver getting down to the track shortly after its release. Since the success of his breakthrough single, Flipp inked a deal with DJ Khaled’s We The Best label and released his first album Love For Guala with features from heavy hitters like Rich The Kid and Lil Baby. On a call between New York and Melbourne, we chat to the Canarsie native about his success, dream collaborators and why everything he does is Guala.
Flipp, what’s good man?
What’s going on man.
Let’s start right at the beginning for you. I wanted to ask about growing up in Canarsie. What kind of kid were you?
Growing up in Canarsie was very challenging, there was a lot of negativity surrounding me growing up as a child. It put me in a position to either be about my business or to be someone in the hood— a young delinquent, but I was striving for better, you feel me?
So would you say that music helped you stay away from the negativity?
For me, it showed me that I had something going on for myself. Something to apply myself to as opposed to being outside.
Your parents are Haitian right? What was it like in your household growing up, was there music being played?
Aw man, there was definitely a lot of music being played in the crib. Growing up in a Hatian household, my parents were very strict so there were certain things they didn’t allow you to do. Music was the last thing on the agenda for me, so to actually succeed in music showed my parents that whatever they taught me was put to use.
I read that you were about 15 when you started, what kind of rappers were you listening to at that time?
I was listening to everything I could get my hands on. I was listening to Jadakiss for real for real, I used to listen to Jada all day. Shout out to Jada.
How did you first get linked with Joey Badass? I know he was one of the first people that gave you a real co-sign.
Yeah Joey is actually like family to me, you know what I’m saying? That’s like my big bro. One thing about Joey is that he pays attention to a lot of underground artists that aren’t mainstream, that are on the come up. I was just this one artist that caught his attention. He just kept hearing about me through word of mouth and we linked up. The first time we met we just built a relationship and he turned out to be my bro. I was just talking to him the other day, we got a real tight relationship.
Joey started young too, he’s been around for a while but he’s like a young OG.
Nah most definitely he’s a young OG.
What kinds of things have you learned from him?
Work. One thing that Joey told me is that no matter what you do people is always watching you. That’s one phrase that always stuck with me. I always keep my head down and stay humble because I know that my work is going to be observed, it’s going to be viewed by other people.
I wanted to ask man, how did you first get linked with DJ Khaled and then go on to sign with ‘We The Best’. Can you speak a little about your relationship with him and how he works?
Pretty much I met with Khaled through my big dog Sav, who is like a mentor to me, so I look up to him. Sav would give me pointers on music and how to conduct myself in business etcetera, while we were building our relationship he just kept telling people about me. “Yo I know this kid, he’s pretty dope, he makes music.” That’s how Khaled and I linked up, through Sav.
Obviously DJ Khaled is such a big personality, people might not realise how much of what they see is really him. Is there something you can tell me about him that people might not know?
He’s always happy. I think people think big bro isn’t really happy but I swear to you he’s always like that. He’ll be walking about the crib happy, speaking motivation “Flipp, another one!”
Another one! So that’s really him, huh?
Nah, I swear that’s him. I got texts on my phone, I was just texting him last night. We were just talking about music and he’s like “Flipp, I’m so proud of you. Another one, let’s go.” I was laughing, that’s really like him.
That’s the best. Can you talk to me about Guala? The word comes up a lot in your work and I know it has a deeper meaning to you than just money. Can you explain what Guala means and how it represents your lifestyle?
Yeah Guala to me means “God’s Unique Accolade Life Acquired”. I feel like we’re all blessed, I feel like life is a blessing to us. It means more than just money to me. It just shows people that you stand for what you stand for. I’m Guala. I’m God’s unique accolade, you know what I’m saying? It’s really just a homage to the way I live my life so when I spit it in my raps, people just appreciate it.
It’s good to have a motto. Guala sounds dope too, so that helps.
Good lookin’ man, thank you. You Guala too man!
So obviously ‘Leave Me Alone’ was such a huge track and a big moment for you. How do you feel about it now that you’ve kind moved onto the next thing. Was there a lot of pressure for you to follow up with another big hit, or are you thinking more long-term?
I’m definitely thinking long term, some artists are always thinking about the next big hit you know what I’m saying? It’s really no pressure on me now, there wasn’t really no pressure on me before either but I made ‘Leave Me Alone’ and people didn’t think I could do it again, but I knew I could do it again. Then by the grace of god, we got another song called ‘How I Move’ featuring my brother Lil Baby that’s doing just as much damage, if not more. So like, the older shit is precious and I’d never say I’m past ‘Leave Me Alone’ because that song changed my life, I’m grateful that I had a song like that and set the bar so high for myself and I’m happy that I met that bar again. That’s how I’m feeling man. Music is a way of life for me, not a competition.
Let’s talk more about ‘How I Move’; I agree it’s definitely doing the damage. How do you think Lil Baby added to the song, and what was your reaction when you first got his verse back?
When I made ‘How I Move’, I previewed the song just on Instagram to get people’s reactions. I asked my fans who I should feature on the song and everyone was saying Lil Baby. So you know, my big bro Khaled has a relationship with Baby and we’d shared a few words too so I asked Khaled let’s make this happen. When I got the verse back, you could tell it wasn’t just something he was doing. It was obvious the song did something for Baby, he goes hard on the verse and it just made me appreciate my work even more. I’m just happy that he appreciated it too. Then, when we linked up for the video it was nothing but love, it was good vibes. He’s really the homie, he’s a good guy.
Can you tell me more about shooting the video for ‘How I Move’? Were you scared to fall off that building?
[Laughs] Nah, that was funny you said that bruh, I ain’t gonna lie. It was directed by my bro Kid Art, he’s a dope director. He had the vision for the video and I didn’t even wanna argue with the vision, I felt it was perfect. So we linked up and shot the video, it was a movie you feel me? The last scene was what really made me want to shoot the video.
Let’s talk about the Love For Guala, I really like that the project shows your versatility as an artist. What are some of your highlights from the project?
Word. My favourites are ‘Looking at Me’, ‘Hills’ and ‘Shawty Do You’. I did want to show people the versatility, show people that I can cook up and create different vibes. The mission is complete. I showed people I can be versatile and tap into different areas of music, and not just be a quote unquote “rapper”.
You have some great features on there too, Lil Baby of course, Rich The Kid, Kodak Black. Who else is on the wishlist for you, are there any dream collabs?
It’s the law of attraction right now so I’m going to say I want to work with everyone. But my dream dream collabs—I gotta get one in with Future. I gotta get one in with Meek Mill, and I gotta get some more tracks in with Khaled.
Maybe a Jadakiss track in there too sometime?
You know what’s so crazy, I’m about to tell you some shit. I actually got a track with Jada. It’s just for my listening, for my ears only. [Laughs]
That’s wild, dreams come true. Ok last question for you, when are we going to see you get out to Australia man? We’re waiting on you!
Bruh! We’re planning it you know what I’m saying but real, real, real soon. We’ve got some tours in the works, I don’t wanna speak too much on it and jinx it, you feel me. But I’mma be out there man. I really wanna come touch the people my nigga. I really want to see everyone and catch the Australian vibe. Aye, you know as soon as I come out there I’m linking you dog, you know you my homie now.
I got you.
I’ll see you soon big homie, you know I got you mane.
For more from Flipp Dinero follow him here, and check out his track ‘How I Move’ feat. Lil Baby below.