Coming off of a melodic smash like "Leave Me Alone," which peaked at No. 20 on the Hot 100 back in February, one would think that Flipp Dinero was feeling the heat to crank out his next anthem.
But that just isn't the case for the Brooklyn native, who believes he could have another chart topper on his hands with the Lil Baby-assisted "How I Move." "I never feel pressure to work up to a hit because it's in me," he says. "If you could do it once, you could do it again."
Dinero is relaxed on Love For Guala release day with the project finally out to the masses, which he credits to a smaller circle and becoming more in tune with his spiritual connection to God this year. We're forced to take a quick timeout at the top of the interview to collectively catch our breath after munching on a couple spicy kernels of jalapeno popcorn. "I was trying to hold it down, too," he jokes.
With the holidays right around the corner, the 24-year-old is especially grateful for his relationship with DJ Khaled as part of his We The Best roster of artists. One thing he's picked up from Khaled is his never ending grind to the top, even through all of the success he's enjoyed. It's actually why you'll often see "#NeverStop" hashtagged in many of Dinero's social media posts as a reminder to himself and the fans.
When challenged to FaceTime Khaled just to see just how close they were, Flipp guarantees that the 305 mogul would pick up. And what do you know, a couple minutes later, there's Khaled on the other side of the screen hanging out in his hammock behind his Miami mansion like a scene from one of his Snapchat stories.
"Anything for Billboard. Anything for Flipp Dinero, you know that. We the biggest. It's crazy, the record with him and Lil Baby is out of there. The Billboard logo's going to be behind that one, trust me," he confidently predicts for "How I Move." The pair would connect for an IG Live session with the public shortly after, which is usually foreign territory for Khaled.
Check out the rest of our interview with Flipp Dinero, as he hits on his Love For Guala project, what makes Tay Keith's beats stand out, why Khaled is a great mentor, and much more.
What's Love For Guala mean to you?
Flipp Dinero: Guala means God’s Unique Accolade Life Acquired. I feel like we're all blessed with life. It's a lifestyle. Plus, my name is Flipp Dinero, so love for money and love for life, but also love for my view of things.
Are you very religious as well?
I'm extremely religious. Of course, when you get a little older, you stray away from your religious beliefs. But when it comes down to being spiritually intertwined with God, I sit down and pray everyday. I go to church when I can, but I'm more so concerned with staying connected to God while working on my spirit and mental.
What was inspiring you at the studio when going into create this body of work?
My mindset going into this was I'm coming off a big single with "Leave Me Alone," and people would think there's a lot of pressure on me, but them not knowing that I worked to get to that point because I had songs prior to "Leave Me Alone" that were charting. So my mindset was, "Alright, cool, I made it this far and people only see me as a one hit wonder so I have to put them wrong by putting out a track list full of anthems. So that's why it's so versatile. The project's got the hood songs, love songs, the emotional songs and the growth.
Do you feel like you have pressure to go in and make another hit?
Nah, I never feel pressure to work up to a hit because it's in me. It's just something that's a part of you when you get into the studio and express how you feel. If you could do it once, you could do it again.
So you're not worried about the one hit wonder talk?
There was a point in time when people were calling me that, but I've kept playing snippets of music on Instagram and people we're like, "Alright, what's up? We know you got something in the tuck." It was about time I dropped it with the project, and that's why I dropped "How I Move" with Lil Baby.
I think that's the strongest record on the project and it could find its way onto the charts. Do you agree?
I agree. I ain't gonna disagree with you, but one of my favorite songs on the project is "Grind Till I'm Gone" featuring Kodak Black.
How'd you get him on there? He's been locked up since May.
I made the track with [DJ] Khaled when we were in Miami. Khaled loved it and we sat down and thought about who we should put on the track. He thought of Kodak and then reached out to his team. They instantly approved like, "This song is another one." Kodak gave me a verse in less than a week before he got locked up.
How did "How I Move" with Lil Baby come together?
That was a song I made about two months ago. I made it and previewed it on Instagram. The response I got from everyone was crazy. People were telling me to drop it with thousands of comments. I was like, "Who should I feature on the song?" A majority of the people commented, "Lil Baby." I reached out to Khaled and told him I thought Baby would sound fire on it. He agreed. He reached out to his team and I got word back from Baby that he was f—ing with the track.
It's even spawned the How I Move Challenge. What do you think about that?
Yeah, everyone's doing their own thing. That's what I like about the song. It shows what you do and how you do it. It's just how you move, whether you dance, drive cars fast, roll up or plant flowers.
I even saw Fat Joe playing it on his Instagram.
Uncle Joey, man! That was a great feeling. When I saw that, I dropped my phone. I was like, "Oh shit!" That's when it's real. He was showing off the chain and everything. We definitely got a video in the tuck. Everything is top secret. A lot of videos are coming.
You connected with Tay Keith for a couple of records. What makes him stand out among the rest of the producers you worked with?
That's my homie. He did "Not Too Many" and "If I Tell You." That's just to show you the versatility of Tay Keith. We made a lot of tracks together and we've got more that we're definitely going to drop soon. That's one of my good friends. It was back-and-forth at first, but then we linked up after.
He has a grasp on the younger generation's sound, but in his own sense. You know how everyone has the regular 808s? Tay Keith actually puts emotion into how he makes music and it stands out. That's how you get a co-sign from Drake.
Speak to your growth this year. What's the biggest thing you've learned moving around the music industry in 2019?
The biggest thing I've learned has been more spiritual and mental. It's just understanding that everything you put your mind to can actually happen. It's the Law of Attraction. Of course, when you reach a certain point, we're human, we all have our flaws, but as I progress in the music game, I correct how I conduct myself.
What did your growth entail? Did you cut out certain vices or people from your life?
I'd say people. I cut a lot of people off. A lot of things change. You think you're going to go to the top with a lot of people, but your entourage gets smaller. That's the thing that really awakens a n—a. Just going into something with a lot of people, but then losing a lot of people along the way. Of course it's lonely, but it makes you tougher. It shows you that you actually have responsibilities and obligations to fulfill, as opposed to being outside and just chilling all day.
How involved is DJ Khaled in the day-to-day of your career? What's the biggest thing you've taken from him as a mentor?
Khaled is very involved. I just got off the phone with him before I got here. He's really my guy. Some people have situations with people where they don't know the person, but Khaled really gives me advice on investments and curates my music. [He always tells me] Never stop grinding. I always hashtag "#NeverStop." Because he said that, we're here now. He's a very genuine person. He'll ride for you through thick-and-thin. It's really real.
Why weren't you on his Father of Asahd album?
He felt like, "Flipp, I should give you your time to work on your project and you do what you do." So now we're focusing on my project, and next time around, me and Khaled [will link up]. "How I Move" is definitely the track me and Khaled linked up on [my project]. That's why it's going so crazy.
Would he make that featuring DJ Khaled at some point?
Yeah, he'd definitely put his feature on there. Trust me, we got some DJ Khaled ad-libs on that "How I Move" coming.
Before you go, talk to me about your love for skateboarding as a kid and do you incorporate that into your music at all now?
I've been skateboarding since I was 11-years-old. I reduced my skating at around 19. I had a couple injuries. Fucked my shit up — I got hit by a car and I broke my wrist. All types of great skate spots [around Brooklyn]. It was just something that was a part of me. It was a way of expression and something I was doing that nobody else was at the time. There's certain times I jump into the studio and I'll make certain songs that I know skateboarders would fuck with.