Rapper, pastor, and founding member of the 116 Movement, Trip Lee, is back, and this time it's for good. In 2021, he surprised 116 fans with a new song, "You Got It," a single released on Reach Records' Summer '21 Playlist. He followed quickly behind with "Supernatural," a warm-up song for a forthcoming album. He officially announced his return with a creative video that also reveals the album title, The End. The album is set to release on March 4.
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Every Ending Has A New Beginning| Posted March 04, 2022 What You Need To Know: Recently relocating back to his hometown of Dallas Texas, hip-hop veteran Trip Lee returns to the active music scene with the release of his seventh project, titled The End. Designated as one of the founding members of Reach Records and the 116 Clique movement in 2005, the last 17 years have been quite the journey for Lee. His resume is as follows: authored two books and working on his third. A recent pastor at his childhood church, Concord Church. He’s also begun learning the craft of music production. Lee possesses one of the most authentic and hilarious personalities in the CHH space.
As most know, Lee has been relatively absent since his last project (The Waiting Room) was released, but with good reason. He stated, “It’s been about five years (2016) since I released an album and it wasn’t because I wasn’t inspired to make music or that I haven’t been creative,” shares Lee. “I didn’t have the time or energy to pastor and bring a project to completion. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to step away from my daily pastoring duties and focus on bringing the ministry through the music.”
Although, time in-between releases have been sprinkled with a few singles, touring, and appearances on music from his label mates. During this hiatus, Lee focused on pastoring, family, and managing personal health issues related to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Lee’s first signs of new music for the album appeared on the Reach Records Presents Summer ‘21 playlist with the track, "You Got It." Due to its popularity, the track was even featured on NFL ads during the regular season for promotion of the NFL Shop’s website. He proceeded forward with two more singles (“Supernatural” and “Stone”) leading up to the release of The End. on March 4. The artistry of Lee’s talents and creativity extended into three dynamic music videos accompanying the singles with a fourth dropping on the album’s release date.
The End. is a new beginning as fans will be captivated to learn the concepts behind the album and what’s planned in the near future.
What it Sounds Like: With no lack of free time during the pandemic, Lee captured this opportunity to learn and experiment with music production. The end product was a renewed sound powered behind his witty wordplay and lyrical praise of our Lord Most High. A reasonable chunk of the album was either solely produced or co-produced by Lee. The mastermind production genius Mashell (Leroy) co-piloted the rest resulting in innovation and a thematic experience. The infusion of analog, synthesizers, and other common instrumentation mutated into a unique soundscape crossing an 80s video game or movie soundtrack with current production trends.
Mashell and industry heavyweight JUICEBANGERS tag-teamed the production efforts on the third single “Stone” presenting the best electronic representation of sound heard throughout all 15 tracks. The innovation is brilliant and new to the classic Lee sound, however, acts more as a complement to his already notorious flow.
Standout tracks include “Right Out The Gate,” “Witness” featuring Wande and WHATUPRG, and “Call It Life.” The stomping of the hardened piano chords on “Right Out The Gate” puts me in mind of the genius production Dr. Dre is famous far. “Witness” features one of Wande’s strongest feature efforts and stamps her current season of “Blande” and her skill to “rap RAP” over beats. “Call It Life” has a genius surprise fans are sure to applaud.
Fans are treated to something new related to the soundscape and overall production and something old in Lee’s iconic delivery, voice, and playful bars. Once the ears adjust, this record will be on repeat for any true Lee fan.
Spiritual Highlights: Equipped with a pastoral background, Lee’s no stranger to God’s Word and teachings. Spiritual content has been a mainstay of Lee’s music and this time around is no different. The End. is filled with scriptural references, influence, and content. “Stone” for example contains snippets from the founding pastor, Dr. E.K. Bailey, of Lee’s current (and childhood) church home; Concord Church. “Homecoming” speaks to the transition from this life into our eternal home. “Supernatural” talks about how much we need spiritual intervention in our daily lives. There are gems of spiritual content throughout.
Lee’s faith and spiritual walk are smothered over each track in one facet or another. One of my favorite lines is in “Supernatural” where he says, “I wish everybody knew my God, the healer, the cancer killer.” God’s strength and healing sustain Lee and myself included day-to-day.
Best Song on the Record:
The album contains quite a few standout tracks. However, I picked “Right Out The Gate” for several reasons. First, the production. The soundscape is diverse, outlined in synthesizer and analog vibes with moments of brilliance.
The low octave booming sound of piano keys that enter in around the 0:29 mark of the track is incredible. Add-In the string of synth keys that arrive around the 0:58 mark and a masterpiece is formed. Combined with powerful 808’s and light high-hat taps, this beat is stamped as one of my all-time favorites in CHH.
The content aligns beautifully with the surrounding sounds serving as sort of a reintroduction to Lee’s unique voice and wordplay genius. You just hear his love for artistry and rapping cemented by the lines of, “I would still do this for no pay (it would be kind of hard though I’m not gon’ lie).” This track has been on constant repeat since the release of the album and I do not sense that will change for weeks to follow.
Final Word: Trip Lee literally self-taught himself how to play the keys (piano), produce beats and decipher the ins and outs of music production during the downtime of the COVID-19 pandemic. As hinted at, Lee basically produced the entire album with the influence of Mashell’s genius and a few other industry friends. The end result was a creative, innovative, and fresh sound serving as the playground for Lee to integrate his talents lyrically bouncing around witty wordplay, playful adlibs, and spiritual influence. Each track has a unique feel, as the project doesn’t seem redundant. The tempo doesn’t stray far from upbeat and energetic, but a few worship vibes exist such as “All Mine” featuring Taylor Hill and “Dreamin.” The story told reunites fans from old with fans of the modern-day. It’s classic Trip Lee with a fresh coat of paint one could say.
“Every season has an ending and every ending has a new beginning,” Lee emphasized during the beginning of the album rollout. These words of promise and of bright days ahead are encouraging and felt throughout. This may not be tagged as Lee’s best album to date; however, I definitely believe it’s one of his most imaginative and all-encompassing projects. His legacy throughout the last 17 years echoes from start to finish tinted with ingenuity. Lee ignored industry trends and standards creating a sound of his own. My springtime road trips have a new soundtrack and my ears couldn’t be more grateful.
Worth the Wait| Posted March 08, 2022 The End is the multi-talented (pastor, conference speaker, author, rapper), Trip Lee’s first new album since 2016’s The Waiting Room. Lee has said that the title symbolizes the coming to the end of ourselves, where one door closes so another can open. Themes on the album include Lee’s returning to music after six years, dealing with illness for fifteen years, Christ being better than riches, going home Heaven, divisions in our society, fame, things he wishes were different in the world, having nothing left to prove, love for his wife and new life in Christ.
Here are a few brief comments about each song: Let Go – This song was written and produced by Lee. Most of the vocals on this song are handled by Chastity (Chazz). Lee sings only the fourth verse.
Key lyric: Lord, grab my soul Lose my hold on things that hold me back Right Out the Gate – This hard-hitting song was written and produced by Mashell and Lee. Some thought he had left music, but he’s back, still on his game. Key lyric: Thought he was gone, I think He back He ain't wait long, on the attack
Still unashamed, you know it's facts You Got It – This hard-hitting song, which was originally released on Reach Records Summer Twenty-One release, was written and produced by Mashell and Lee. Where else can he go? Riches don’t satisfy. Christ has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Key lyric: But I know, all them others leave us in the cold I don't wanna gain the world and lose my soul Homecoming – This song was written by Mashell and Lee and produced by Mashell and Juice Bangers. The song is about going home to Heaven. The list of his sins is a mile long but the bill is paid for.
Key lyric: When I’m gone, who cares if I’m known I’m just headed home Witness This song was written by Wande, WHATUPRG, Lee, Mashell and Juice Bangers. It was produced by Lee, Juice Bangers and Mashell and features Wande and WHATUPRG. God is his witness. He has nothing to prove.
Key lyric: Your expectations, that's yours to own No borders, out here tryna please the Lord alone Put Your Weapon Down – This hard-driving song was written and produced by Lee and 1995 (Producer) and features 1K Phew. The song addresses the divisions in society, where all we seem to do is pick sides and criticize.
Key lyric: We know what we hate And we know what we ain’t
But if he call us saints
What kind of picture do we paint? All Mine – This mid-tempo song was written by Mashell and Lee, produced by Mashell and features Taylor Hill. Here Lee addresses fame. He’s been out there living like it’s all his.
Key lyric: The whole world is my stage I'm allergic to the small time
I been out here living like it's all mine Supernatural – This song was written and produced by Juice Bangers, Lee and Mashell. The song addresses some of the things Lee wishes were different in the world, some serious (racism, violence, politics, church corruption), and some not so serious (Dr. Pepper) and the solution being the Lord.
Key lyric: If I have to, we can skip the hassle Show you what them facts do
They say he a natural
But we need supernatural, we need supernatural
The way He acts do it seem so supernatural? End of Me (Interlude) – This short song was written and produced by Lee and features Chastity (Chazz) on vocals.
Key lyric: The end of me may taste bittersweet But that's where You tend to be Dreamin – This slow rap was written and produced by Lee, Enzo Gran and 1995 (Producer). The song features keys and Lee vulnerably addressing the illness that he has battled for years, repeated doctor visits and prescriptions that don’t work.
Key lyric: Cause what good is a dream, if it don't submit to the king? It's all his anyway, I'll let him do his thing Call It Life – This song was written and produced by Lee, 1995 (Producer) and Enzo Gran. It’s a musically interesting song. Once he saw the light, that’s all he likes. Loving God isn’t going to blend with loving money or the world in the end.
Key lyric: Was blind to His wonder, Stevie He's the key to life, He lead me Wake Up – This hard-driving song was written by 1995 (Producer), Enzo Gran, Lee and KB, and produced by 1995 (Producer), Enzo Gran and Lee. The song features KB, the first time Lee and KB have collaborated since 2013’s “The Saints”.
Key lyric: They talk jewelry, but I'm talking about the Judge now Before the Lord touch down, hands up, boy, wake up Stone – This hard-driving song was written by Lee, Mashell and Juice Bangers and produced by Mashell and Juice Bangers. The song includes snippets of sermons from Pastor E.K. Bailey. The song is about Earth not being our home but we still having work to do.
Key lyric: Can't kick my feet up 'cause I ain't home You can tell 'em put that in stone Know It – This easy-going love song to Lee’s wife was written and produced by 1995 (Producer), Enzo Gran and Lee and features an infectious chorus.
Key lyric: Oh, girl, could there be anyone like you in this world? I doubt it Everybody wanna brag 'bout the bag, talkin' 'bout a good thing, I found it
Always at your pace how your run your race, putting in that mileage
I don't know if you know it, I just want you to know it Gave It Up – This slow rap was written and produced by Lee and Mashell, and features Desi Raines on the chorus and bridge. The song is about Lee’s new life in Christ.
Key lyric: Lost it to find it Gave it to gain it
Gave it up to get it back
I get it back Favorite songs
Right Out the Gate
You’ve Got It