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Lil' Flip: The Journey of Houston's Freestyle King


Wesley Eric Weston Jr., better known by his stage name Lil' Flip, has carved out a significant niche in the hip-hop world, renowned for his freestyle prowess and Southern rap influence. Born on March 3, 1981, and raised in Houston, Texas, Lil' Flip's journey from a local battle rapper to a nationally recognized artist is a testament to his talent and tenacity.

Early Beginnings and Breakthrough

Lil' Flip began his career as a freestyle and battle rapper, quickly making a name for himself in Houston's vibrant underground scene. In 1999, he caught his first major break, signing with Suckafree Records. His debut album, The Leprechaun, released on July 18, 2000, put him on the map, especially after DJ Screw, a legendary figure in the Houston rap community, dubbed him "The Freestyle King." This endorsement led to Flip joining the prestigious Screwed Up Click, solidifying his place in the local rap hierarchy.

Rising to Fame

In 2002, Lil' Flip's career took a significant leap forward when Columbia Records entered into a joint venture with Suckafree, providing him with a broader platform. His sophomore album, Undaground Legend, dropped on August 27, 2002, and quickly achieved platinum status by December of the same year. The album featured the hit single "The Way We Ball," further establishing his presence in the mainstream.

Lil' Flip's momentum continued to build as he collaborated with notable artists such as David Banner, Yung Wun, and Three 6 Mafia in 2003. His guest appearance on Ludacris' "Screwed Up" from the album Chicken-N-Beer also highlighted his growing influence.

The Pinnacle: 2004

The year 2004 was pivotal for Lil' Flip. He released his third album, U Gotta Feel Me, his first double-disc project, under Sony Urban Music after Columbia restructured. The album's lead singles, "Game Over (Flip)" and "Sunshine" featuring Lea Sunshine, were massive hits, with "Sunshine" peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. The album itself debuted with impressive sales, moving 200,000 copies in its first week and earning platinum certification by August 2004.


That year, Lil' Flip's collaborations spanned high-profile projects, including a remix of Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl," and features on Chingy's "Balla Baby" remix, Nelly's Sweat album, and the "Certified Gangstas (Remix)" with Jim Jones and The Game. He also contributed to the 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack with the track "Rollin' on 20s."


Independent Ventures and Continued Influence

After parting ways with Columbia Records in 2007, Lil' Flip founded his own label, Clover G Records, an imprint under Asylum and Warner Bros. His third album and second double-disc project, I Need Mine, was released on March 27, 2007, debuting at number 15 on the Billboard 200.


Despite setbacks with his planned fifth album, Ahead of My Time, Lil' Flip stayed productive, releasing promotional albums Respect Me and Underground Legend 2 in 2009. Ahead of My Time eventually dropped on July 6, 2010, further establishing his independent credentials.


Recent Projects and Entrepreneurial Ventures

In the following years, Lil' Flip continued to release music through his Clover G Records. His third independent album, The Black Dr. Kevorkian, came out on October 31, 2013, selling over 10,000 copies in its first week. His sixth album, El Jefe, released on March 17, 2015, featured singles like "Game Over II" and "In My Pimp C Voice," the latter being a tribute to the late Pimp C.


Beyond music, Lil' Flip has ventured into entrepreneurship with his shoe line, Clover Footwear, and fashion brand, Clover G Clothing. He also authored a book, Don't Let the Music Industry Fool You!, released on April 15, 2014, along with a soundtrack album, showcasing his multifaceted talents and business acumen.


Legacy

Lil' Flip's career is a blend of musical innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. From his early days in Houston's battle rap scene to his rise to mainstream fame and eventual independence, he has remained a significant figure in hip-hop. His ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing industry underscores his status as a true legend in the genre.

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