Wait, Trip — Didn’t You Retire?

A couple months ago I surprised everyone by announcing a brand new album, “Rise.” You don’t understand how hard it was to keep quiet about it before my label and I went public. The album had been in the works for over a year, and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone — especially those who kept asking when I was dropping something new.

The response so far has been deeply encouraging. I’m amazed that people have continued to support me even though I’ve been pretty quiet for the last two years. Your love and excitement has only increased mine.

Early Retirement

One of the responses I wasn’t surprise by was this one: “Wait, I thought you retired?” This is the question that follows me around like a shadow. I’ve addressed it in interviews, tweets, and blog posts, but I know it’s still unclear to some. Let me continue to try to set the record straight: I never retired.

In 2012, I announced that I’d be “stepping away from music.” Yes, I know that sounds retirement-ish, but I purposely didn’t use that word. I kept it intentionally vague because I wasn’t 100% sure what it would look like.

I knew it was possible that “The Good Life” was my last album, but I wasn’t sure. Here’s what I did know: there would be a huge priority shift that would drastically change how I related to music. I wouldn’t be out on the road with my fellow emcees as much. I wouldn’t be able to crank out a bunch of new music. I wouldn’t be a full time rapper. I knew I wanted to help pastor God’s church.

Since that time, I’ve been serving at my church in Washington D.C. in various pastoral roles. I’ve done admin work, preaching and teaching, youth ministry, marital counseling, etc. I went months without doing any shows or writing a single bar of a song because of church responsibilities. I even sat out the 2013 Unashamed Tour. And though I missed creating new music, I love what I’ve been doing. Health issues have made it challenging at times, but it’s been a rewarding season for my family and me.

New Album

After that first year of full-time pastoral ministry, I decided to slowly begin working on a new record. My creative juices had been bottled up, and I was ready to go. But instead of a five or six month burst of non-stop writing and recording, this album was slow and steady since music wasn’t my full time job. That worked out great because I could slowly craft each song, and get it as close to perfection as possible.

I decided to work with one producer this time, instead of accepting track submissions from a bunch of different guys. When I brought the idea to Gawvi he loved it, and we pushed each other to make something incredible. Every trip I made to Atlanta was crucial because it was so hard to get away from family and church duties. But here we are over a year later, and it’s almost out!

I know some people are still confused about what to expect from me in the future. There are many unknowns for me, but I’ll tell you what I do know:

– I still want to be a pastor.
– I still want to do music.
– I still want to travel to rap and speak.
– I still want to write books.

And I’m trying to find out how or if I can do all of those things in a way that honors God, while still being faithful to my family and God’s church.

Will “Rise” be my last album? It could be, but I hope not. For now, I want to enjoy the moment and share with you all what I think is my best work yet. A lot has changed since 2012, but one thing remains the same: Jesus is Lord, and I want to honor Him with my music.



  1. TonyReply

    Good Day my good brother? Its an awesome thing that your passion and desire for music is still flowing through your veins as well as your desire to spread God’s word through sermons. I can imagine how time consuming things are with family, music, ministerial duties etc. Born from D.C and raised in Ft. Worth, its a great thing to see a brother from my neck of the woods doing God’s work in every area.

    Thanks for the music brother.


  2. MrAveryBrownReply

    Trip has always been intentionally consistent in his approach to teaching, preaching, and music, which has encouraged me and continues to encourage me, daily. When the initial announcement was made in 2012, I knew it wasn’t an official “retirement”, just a strategic shift to focus on other things. Even now, he’s delicately balancing preaching, teaching, music, and family in an awesome way. That’s why I’ll continue to support him in his endeavors, and as he mentioned “Jesus is Lord, and I want to honor Him…” I say, keep going Trip, your life, music and ministry speaks volumes, beyond a stage, a mic, or a sound bite, your life and the way you intentionally carry yourself, speaks volumes.

  3. DavidQuinonesReply

    Trip lee…your life and passion for Jesus amazes me!! You really bless my heart. i am someone who loves authentic people and though i do not have a close relationship to you, that authenticity comes out through your music and your messages. i met you in Philadelphia at Carin University two years ago and it was a life-changing experience… my dream is to one day work with you in ministry and in music…. keep the faith my friend!!!

  4. MattShaferReply

    I’m glad you’re back making music but, more than that, I’m glad that you’re following the way the Lord wants you to go. Your music, books, and messages have been a great uplift to me over the past couple of years. Thank you so much for those. You’re in my prayers.

  5. Michael JimenezReply

    Trip you’re an inspiration to all of us Christian Rappers. We support every and any decisions you make. Keep it



  7. TeriaReply

    Trip, I am do glad you decided to allow God to use you in music once again. I love his work, and I am happy that soon I will have more relevant tunes to praise God to. Trip, you have been such an encouragement, not only to the young, but to the young at heart, and those across the world. I hope my son turns out to be a man after God’s own heart, such as yourself, and that he will allow God to use him in everyway possible. It is important that our young men have a Godly example before them. Keep doing the will of God. I believe that by staying obedient, God will show himself and bring healing to you. Be blessed!
    T. Holmes

  8. AndrewReply

    I love how Trip Lee is doing what the Lord has called him to do. He is following the Lord and honoring him with his music. Keep doing what the Lord has called you to do.

  9. Robert MayReply

    I am very excited to see that you are disciplined enough to slowly do music and be fully committed to your family and God’s Church. Can’t wait to hear your album though.

  10. KudzReply

    Woow this is awesome Trip.I cannot wait for Rise to come out soon.I definetly think this album is going to touch a lot of people.Your music inspires me.Continue to honour the Lord as you do.
    Blessings all the way from New Zealand!

  11. RommelAlonzoReply

    hey Trip,

    I really look up to you bro! As someone who is a PhD student in engineering, a youth pastor and a worship leader amongst other things, you’re struggle to find a way to use the talents God has given you has inspired me not to give up in finding the Good life. As soon as I heard the title of your new album, I knew this was God’s way of tellin me it’s time to wake up and to not give up on finding the Good life in him. Even if I fail, your music reminds me that he won’t. Thanks for your music and for the struggle you put yourself through to simply get the message out.

    Much Love

  12. SarahReply

    Much respect for you, Trip Lee. You’re a man of God. You’ve always been one of my favourite rappers and I couldn’t be happier that you’re releasing new music whilst fulfilling your duties to your family and church.

    I have so much gratitude to God for that fact that artists like you exist. You, through God, have provided me so much inspiration in the midst of both my struggles and triumphs, and for that I’d like to show my sincere appreciation. It’s one of my dreams to see you in concert, either by you visiting New Zealand or by me travelling to the US for one of your shows! God bless and much love to you and your beautiful family.

  13. AshleyReply

    Awesome Trip! Keep going where He leads you…and please share all of your amazing experiences with us as you go!

  14. BrandonReply

    I am always stirred up and encouraged by Trip’s artistry. I praise God for that brother. I hope he moves to Atlanta so we can build.

  15. ErickCorralReply

    I can’t wait for this new album. I Started listening to Christian hip hop in 2013. First artist I heard was Lecrae. I was hooked since I first heard Church Clothes. Time went by and I started to find out about Andy Mineo, KB, Trip Lee, Tedashii and so on. All of these guys’ music has changed my life. Totally changed my taste in music and also encouraged me to get more involved with my faith. Thank you Trip and the rest of 116. I hope I get to see you in concert soon. God Bless.

  16. CBReply

    Trip, as you were out of music, I noticed an extreme difference in your approach to your faith & career from other 116 artists. I have been able to see & feel through your journey that being pliable in the hands of the Father has been your number one priority (not saying that isn’t true for the other artists). I admire you for the way that you’ve gone about your pursuit of your goals. I’m proud to be a fan of yours & SO EXCITED that there’s new music from you. I am praying Isaiah 60:1-2 over you & your family, as I feel that RISING to the glory of God that’s shining into your life, is what you’ve been doing over the last years. Salute!

  17. JoshuaDenimReply

    I’m happy for you bro. I know you’ll do whatever God is asking of you. But for you to say this is your best work yet..I’m really excited to hear what God has been laying on your heart through the music. God bless you man and thanks for teaching me all the things you have through you music.

    PS – 20/20 was BOSS!! Lol


  18. AustinRobertsReply

    Trip, I’m happy to know you have created a new album. I’m more happy as to the fact you stepped side from music for a while to focus on things in your personal life, that you felt were far more important in which the were. For years I have looked up to you as well as a few of your fellow emcees because if I hadn’t began listening to, what most would call mere lyrics, I would much rather call your words, or songs rather, lyrical testimonies and preachings. Before hearing your music, I was in a dark place. I had fallen far from the arms of God. Your music, as well as other artists, brought me closer to God and motivated me to better myself. I thank you as well as other emcees in your category for inspiring me and motivating me to come closer to God. I support you and what you do because you don’t do the things you do for yourself. No. You do them in the name of the Lord and I respect that so much. Keep on doing the things you do. God isn’t done working with you yet. God bless.

  19. LIllianReply

    Took the words right out of my mouth. I’m proud of you, Trip, and excited for everything you’re doin. :) Keep it up!

  20. GabeTavianoReply

    Some just didn’t catch your words of prophecy, that you weren’t just referring to God being on his Brett Favre.

  21. DrowningInGraceReply

    I praise God for your diligence and dedication to His word. The time spent on your album is evident in the tracks that have been released so far. I love your work and ministry and look forward to what God has in store for the Body of Christ through you.
    Grace and Peace.

  22. Julia RiebReply


    I recently (4 days ago) just saw you in concert in Salt Lake City, UT. I absolutely loved the way you were so transparent in your songs. You preached the gospel so clearly, thank you. Thanks so much for bringing hope to the world in the name of Jesus. Love you!


  23. tamsynReply

    Hi Trip Lee. I love your song sweet victory. I love the authenticity of your lyrics. Its really helped me feel like there are people who can sincerely relate with my struggles as a Christian. Cause its not easy. Witnessing how Gods used you due to obedience, ie remaining faithful despite the pain- both encourages and challenges me not to tap out, but to keep pressing on.Christ is soo proud of U. God Bless! Tamsyn, South Africa

  24. JesiliaLeaupepeReply

    My husband and I are excited for this new album and have listened to every song that has been released so far from Rise. You got great stuff on it bro. We’re glad to be supporting you by buying your new album. (By the way, you’re a HUGE inspiration to my husband. He’s a big fan of yours-from rapping, to buying your book, and to admiring your love for your wife and kids and how you display it all the time in interviews).

    God bless you bro. May God continue to grant you the strength you need to deal with all your responsibilities. Supporting you all the way from the Bay in California.

    -the Leaupepe’s.

  25. Mention: Jesus Christ Empire | Christian Rapper Trip Lee Tells Fans ‘I Never Retired’ From the Hip Hop Game

  26. Mention: Trip Lee Says He Never Retired from Music | BCNN1 WP

  27. BillyReply

    Bro I just downloaded your album and maaaannnn certain songs almost brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reppin the Lord man you all have been a huge blessing in my life and brought me closer to Jesus with your music. #116

  28. AbigailReply

    I LOVE YOUR MUSIC TRIP!!!!! I love how you represent the gospel through your music. Thank you!! God Bless!!!