“Skippa Da Flippa [is] the most lyrically talented unknown to come from the trap.” – HipHopDX
“I don’t understand how somebody could not be a fan.” – GreatFrank’sPlace
Skippa Da Flippa may not yet be a household name, but his presence has been ubiquitous for years. Native to Palm Beach, Fla., the trap rapper was one of the pioneers of the dance move known as the dab—everyone from Hillary Clinton to Cam Newton and LeBron James has done it—as an affiliate of Migos, the Atlanta trio often credited for its cultural prominence. But Flippa was the center of the movement, a key piece to its virality that helped push ATL even further into the spotlight.
“When I was dabbing, everybody was like, bro, you look so lame,” says Skippa, born Kevin Markees Purnell. “I take it all the way back to 2013. People was calling me lame, ‘Cut that shit out.’ So really there was a time where everybody just stopped and I was the only one still [doing it]. I caught the friction, you gotta catch the friction.”
It’s not just the dab that’s made Flippa a buzzworthy name coming out of the southern hotbed of hip-hop. Over the past few years, he’s parlayed his Migos co-sign into a fruitful solo career, from releasing a string of mixtapes to dropping verses on hits like Lil Yachty’s “Minnesota (Remix),” Migos and Young Thug’s “Crime Stoppers,” and Jose Guapo’s “Run It Up.” And it’s all happened relatively quickly, ever since unleashing his debut 2014 project I’m Havin, which got almost 750,000 hits on Live Mixtapes upon release.Read more
For Flippa, who’s currently recording his full-length debut arriving in late spring, hip-hop wasn’t always a priority. Hailing from Florida, he grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with three sisters, four brothers and two cousins, along with his mother and father. Every day was spent trying to get by—“We were trying to get up out the goddamn ‘hood,” he says—and though he soaked up more localized music like Pitbull and Gucci Mane, he didn’t think of art as an escape.
It wasn’t until he moved to Atlanta around the age of 16 that he started to take rapping seriously, when he met Migos’ Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff. A staple on their projects, they recorded music while he was signed to the Florida-based Quality Control—“We had a home studio in the basement in the bando in the closet, in that bitch all night sweating”—that yielded smash singles like “Trenchez” (8.7 million YouTube hits) and “Safe House” (5.8 million YouTube hits).
After touring with Migos as the group’s star rose, Flippa decided to branch out on his own and plant his flag as a solo emcee. “I’m me, and I have a lot to do with the old Atlanta shit,” says Flippa. “Of course the dab… This shit comes from us. As long as that shit’s relevant, I’ma be relevant. As long as I stay real and as long as I stay solid, I’m gonna stay fucking relevant. I get mad love out here.”
His output has yielded a number of tapes, from I’m Havin’ and 2015’s Flippa McFadden to last year’s I’m Havin’ 2 and I’m Tellin Ya, the latter featuring guest appearances from Young Thug, Juicy J and Trouble. Up next: his official full-length debut, which promises numerous all-star features and guarantees to take his sound to the next level. “It doesn’t even sound like how I sound. It’s a whole new sound,” he says. Flippa is currently independent, particularly after a rumored deal with 300 Entertainment, but he’s content making moves on his own. “I’m not really pressed to be signed to anybody. But if a good deal comes by and I have no choice but to take it, that’s what it is. But until then, I’m just fine.”
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