For decades, the music industry has had a complicated and often controversial relationship with the female body. Entertainment and music has pretty much always been a landscape that thrives on conforming to trends, perpetuating unrealistic standards—particularly for women—that very few have dared to challenge.
In a cutthroat industry saturated with artists chasing trends and playing it safe, American rapper and internet personality Robbie Tripp has begun to emerge as a breath of fresh air in the hip-hop world, as he fearlessly challenges the music industry's norms with his unapologetic brand of music and content.
"For me personally and as an artist, it was just natural to highlight and showcase curvy and plus-size women in my content because that's what inspires me," Tripp shares from his home in Las Vegas. "It is crazy to me that even in 2023 we are still seeing very little representation when it comes to the size of the models in music videos."
Tripp shares that he sees the lack of size diversity in the music industry and says he hopes to help "bridge that gap." With his viral hits such as 2019's "Chubby Sexy" and the ultra-viral TikTok trend "Big Girl Banger", it appears Tripp is doing just that.
With a talent for writing from a young age, Robbie says he was always writing raps and making music with his friends at school, but his main focus was always on his first love: basketball. "I thought for sure I was going pro, I ate, slept, breathed basketball. But I always knew I had this burning creative spark inside me as well."
After being recruited to play basketball at the junior college level before dropping out to pursue his music career full-time, Tripp met his now-wife Sarah, a notable body positive blogger and curve model from Las Vegas. As Tripp's life and career progressed, it surprisingly wasn't a viral music hit that set him on the path to stardom, but a viral Instagram post in 2017 wherein he posted a swimsuit photo on the beach in Miami and celebrated his love for his "curvy wife."
The heartwarming tribute quickly went viral on Instagram and Facebook, gaining hundreds of thousands of reactions online and eventually gaining international media coverage. Surprising to the Tripps, the post sparked a national debate on the topic of body positivity, and quickly gave the couple a massive platform. "I remember our Instagram following tripled in like a week. We couldn't even keep up with the amount of engagement and requests we were receiving, at one point we just stopped answering everything."
Like everything else in Tripp's polarizing popularity online, the reactions toward his unique body positive platform as a male celebrating curvy and plus-size women, ran the spectrum from "ally" and "hero" to others accusing him of being a "woke male feminist wife guy."
"Everyone has an opinion, especially in our social media age," Tripp says. "I've always been passionate about expressing myself creatively and sharing what's important to me, so I learned pretty quickly that when you put yourself out there, regardless of how many 'fans' you have, there is always going to be a group of people with something negative to say."
In true Robbie Tripp form, the Vegas rapper saw the viral post as an opportunity to speak even louder, rather than letting critics silence his voice. Robbie released his debut single, "Chubby Sexy" in 2019, to which the internet culture reports had a field day. The official music video, shot in Tripp's then-home of Phoenix, made headlines once again, gaining him enormous attention on Twitter and spawning further international media coverage. The buzz culminated in Tripp's "Chubby Sexy" video being highlighted by GQ magazine as a "Moment of the Year" in its 2019 Men of the Year issue.
This momentum was all that Tripp needed as he dove headfirst into his music career, kickstarting a series of independent releases such as his follow-up single "Luka Doncic", named after the Slovenian professional basketball player and NBA All-Star for the Dallas Mavericks. This second single gained traction in Europe, leading Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Shark Tank star Mark Cuban to request it be played during warmups at American Airlines Arena.
Tripp kept his foot on the gas by releasing a single with Grammy-Award winning rap producer Jahlil Beats titled "White T-Shirt", which he filmed in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights such as RiFF RAFF and Dizzy Wright only further established Tripp in the music industry and teaching him the ins and outs of the music business as he remained independent, despite interest from record labels.
Tripp's trajectory as an artist would change entirely after scoring his first major hit on TikTok with his body positive anthem "Big Girl Banger." The catchy tune took TikTok by storm, with thousands of women across the world using the trend to share their body confidence on the popular video-sharing app. Tripp's #BigGirlBanger hashtag surpassed over 300 million views on TikTok, and released to immediate success on YouTube and Spotify, garnering millions of plays.
As Robbie's music career accelerated, his entrepreneurial vision evolved and moved beyond the standard path for the typical music artist. Tripp founded Desert Money, LLC, his own production and media company, to maintain full ownership over his music and content and inspire his community of like-minded creators who share his passion for innovation and inclusion.
"I'm a big believer in going out and dragging Mr. Opportunity to your doorstep," says Tripp. "Early on in my music career I was told I was 'too niche' and 'not what we're looking for' so many times by the mainstream music industry. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I'm a firm believer that the independent artists are the lucky ones because there is nothing holding you back from creating whatever it is you feel called to create and putting it out there for the world to see."
In a digital era where artists can thrive thanks to the power of social media and digital distribution, Tripp has utilized these tools to build his brand and expand his reach right from his Desert Money headquarters in Las Vegas. In an impressive career move that had many scoffing at first, Robbie has not only continued his brand of body positivity and inclusivity, he has established himself as a rising creative force in music and internet culture thanks to his upbeat songs and viral visuals.
Most recently, Tripp is coming off the success of his latest single and music video project "Basic Bro", a darkly catchy single with Tripp's highest production music video to date. Filmed in Los Angeles, the music video shows Tripp with his crew—"all my old basketball teammates and homies from over the years"—rapping about his signature "desert money" lifestyle, and stars Sports Illustrated swimsuit model (and TikTok star in her own right) Ella Halikas as the main video vixen. Clips from the music video quickly went viral on major rap blogs such as WorldstarHipHop, No Jumper and RapTV, pushing the music video near 1 million views following its release.
Tripp concluded by teasing upcoming collaborations with major artists such as Memphis rapper Blocboy JB and viral freestyle rapper Lil Seeto, who made a splash in the rap industry after his Thizzler cypher exploded online. Tripp says he's more ambitious than ever to be creating "high energy musical fusion and viral visuals."
"Brick by brick, I'm transforming my dreams into reality," Tripp says. "I'm filled with a violently positive energy to pursue my destiny as a high-level creator. Just wait 'til the world gets a load of me."