Drippin So Pretty answers my FaceTime call, immediately apologizing. “Sorry I’m running late, I had to deal with some bullshit today,” he laughs. Grinning as he sits by a window in his Los Angeles apartment, his dyed purple hair shines in the sunlight and his tattoos wrap around his neck, winding down all across his body. The word “Worthless” pokes out from under his chin in bold, black script; it’s the title of one of the four projects the 24-year-old vocalist has released in the past year.
Born Davis Wilson, Drippin So Pretty grew up in the Southern Californian beach town of Encinitas, where he spent most of his time either surfing or skating. His bio on Genius describes him as both an “emo-rapper” and “trap-rapper.” They’re labels of which not many can boast at the same time, yet Wilson’s earlier discography is full of braggadocious flows and trap drums. His more current work predominantly features reverb-soaked croons over melancholic guitar samples. His recently released debut album True Love, True Pain features a healthy mix of the two styles: in-your-face tracks like “Sick in the Head” are followed by desolate songs such as “I’m Not Ok.”
After chatting with the rapper for a couple minutes, it’s difficult to fathom that, just three years ago, he overdosed in a makeshift tent on the streets of Skid Row. As we FaceTime, he points to the names tattooed on his arms, honoring the memories of friends he’s lost to opiates. Now two years sober, Wilson is extremely candid about his struggles with heroin addiction. His anguish is discernible in his voice on songs like “not my fault” as he sings, “I do the most just to get a fix / and what I do is so selfish / I can't even help it, I'm sorry.” Wilson affirms that music has played a major role in pulling him out of that darkness. “When I have no inspiration, it’s all bad. Music gives me a fucking purpose.”
You would listen to a lot of metal growing up, so how did you start getting into rap?
Well, I found Lil B on YouTube and would always listen to him. But when I was 17, I went to rehab, and there were other kids there who would just be rapping and shit. We’d be in the kitchen as the dish-cleaning crew going ham, making beats on the sink with pans and shit [Laughs]. I would be going in on some freestyles.
You said that you got into heroin when you were only 15-years-old. How did you get exposed to the drug?
There are levels to it, you know? You use one drug and it gets worse and worse and worse. I was always hanging out with the older kids in high school, doing xanax and ecstasy and shit. I remember this one time when I was in ninth grade my friend who was a senior told me, “Fool, I’m so fucking dope sick. Punch me in the fucking face if you ever see me doing heroin again.” I was just like, “Okay.” I didn’t even know what being dope sick was then, I was just like, “That looks fucking bad.” Then I smoked dope my first time that summer.
You once said that “I should be a homeless junkie,” yet you just recently celebrated two years of sobriety since 2017. How did you get to where you’re at today?
[Laughs] That’s fucked! I said that? I don’t even remember saying that. But sobriety has been rocky for me, bro. I was sober for like two years, from when I was 17 to 19. I started getting loaded again, and it was super hard for me. I went to jail for a second, and, when I got out, I hit up my girlfriend because I had nowhere to go. She was about to be done with me, but she knew I was probably going to die or something, so she let me move in with her in LA. I wasn’t fully sober then because I was drinking and shit. Then I found drugs up here. I probably said that I should be a homeless junkie right after I was shooting dope in the Skid Row tents and OD’ed. I didn’t even stay sober after that.
It just goes to show that if my mind is set on getting high that it’s just going to happen. I’m so fucking blessed to be where I’m at now, because all my friends thought I was going to die. Yet if you stay sober long enough, you start getting shit back in your life that you didn’t even know you wanted. But once those things start coming back, you’re like, “This is what I need, this is making me happy, and I want to keep these things.” You don’t wanna piss it all away by getting high. It’s either being sober or nothing.
Was it in LA where you met your frequent collaborators like Charlie Shuffler, Nedarb, Brennan Savage, and Cold Hart?
Yeah. Charlie knew my homie GGNeeks and they would clown on each other all the time. I would see him at shows and shit, and I knew off rip that he was a good dude. I met Nedarb at a show he was DJing with Tracy and Cold Hart, ‘cause Cold Hart put me on a his setlist. I met Brennan through all them, but what’s funny is he would go back and forth from Encinitas and Long Island, New York. He even went to the same high school as my little sister, and I saw him around but I never knew him like that. Super small world, it’s fucking crazy.
How would you describe your evolution as a musician?
I think at first, it was just, like, for whatever. I didn’t give a fuck, you know what I mean? When I started caring about music a lot more is after I started writing about my true emotions and experiences. When I started coming out and sharing that I was a heroin addict in recovery, I think that’s when I started taking music more serious than ever. Kids were messaging me telling me how much I’ve helped them and shit and how much they can relate to it. That’s the more important part of Drippin So Pretty than the older shit.
When you read the comments on your music video for “last shot,” they’re full of people saying things like, “this song saved me from my own addiction.” What’s your reaction to that?
When I made that song, I hit up Nedarb and he sent me that beat. I immediately wrote the lyrics
without even thinking. A couple days later, I was listening to it after I got out of a self-help meeting and remember thinking, This is too gnarly, I can’t put this out. I had hella anxiety about it, but I played it at Nedarb’s house to the homies and everyone was like, “Yo this is the realest shit I’ve ever heard.”
I already know how bad addiction is today, especially with opiates. Once I decided to release that song, I knew that there was going to be a positive reaction, since a lot of fans either know drug users or are themselves. When you’re stuck in addiction, that shit is dark and you feel like no one understands you, so it’s cool to share that struggle with somebody. It feels good to help someone, you know?
What does your album True Love, True Pain mean to you?
You know what’s crazy? I was just talking to Brennan about this. Two really close friends of mine overdosed and died in the process of making that album. When my homie Marlon Smith died, I was dealing with it really bad. I was really sad, and I never cry but I was crying about him. That’s kind of when I started making songs for the album. Then my friend Taylor Estrada died right after. So making the songs was a way to cope with it. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing. Now that I look at [the album] almost a month later after dropping it, I’m like Oh damn, that’s what I how I was doing when I was dealing with that shit. That shit hurts bro, those were two dudes that I spent a lot of time with. The only songs I wrote after that time was “I’m Not Ok” and “True Pain” because I was thinking about my dead homies.
Lastly, I’ve got to know — how did you get the name Drippin So Pretty?
My Instagram name along time ago was “driplordsplashgod.” When I made a couple songs, I based my name off that. But I wish it wasn’t my name because of how the word drip means “swag” now. [Laughs] That shit kind of makes me cringe.