David Tropp overcame a drug-infested home, being placed into foster care and struggling with low self-worth to become a Christian hip-hop artist with a pair of retail releases, the latest of which he dropped on Tuesday.
Tropp, known by his stage name D. Tropp, was born in Chicago into a troubled family with a lack of parental role models. His mother was heavily involved in drug use. Unable to raise him, and he ended up in foster care.
At the age of three, he was adopted by a white family in Lake Forest, Illinois, but life remained difficult. D. Tropp was bullied in school. As a result, he struggled for a sense of identity.
As he grew, though, so did his love for music. And in high school, he found a way to express that passion: Christian hip hop.
“We went to Juarez, Mexico during my junior year for a mission trip,” D. Tropp said. “I heard Christian rap for the first time. The Lecrae song, ‘Send Me I’ll Go’ — that was our theme song.”
D. Tropp prayed during that trip for God to change him and for him and, soon after, he started to write.
His passion for music grew as he went to college, performed at talent shows and wrote song after song following school (and sometimes in class). The artist released his first mixtape, The Comeback, in his freshman year of college.
“I didn’t know anyone,” D. Tropp said. “I sung all the hooks myself.”
In 2013, after D. Tropp had begun to write songs for other artists and train himself to sing, he released his first two EPs, From Me To You and From Me To You 2. He soon graduated from college and got a job for an insurance company, but that didn’t satisfy his desire to be a full-time artist.
“I knew I wanted to do music,” he said. “I hated the thought of working in a cubicle.”
D. Tropp quit his job and moved to Orlando in late 2013 to work on what would become his debut album, Away From Home, which eventually hit No. 15 on the iTunes hip-hop charts in May 2014. However, even with a marked level of success, he endured relational and emotional struggles as he created the album, culminating into what he called the darkest time of his life.
D. Tropp continued to make music, though, and March 31 marks the release of his new album, Love You More.
“With Love You More, I’m completely independent,” D. Tropp said. “I recorded it at my parents’ lake house. I played every role there is to play on an album.”
Despite the workload and lack of production support, he called it his most special project because of its impact on his renewed relationship with his birth mother. After discussions with his parents about the possibility of seeing her, D. Tropp tried to set up a meeting but didn’t go through with it.
“My mom told me to pray about it,” D. Tropp said. “Three weeks later, I met her in person. I got to show her my album. I even sent songs to her.”
Tropp said that one of his favorite songs on the new project was “Miami Dreamz” because he recorded it while in the process of meeting his mother. Other songs on the new album that have the most significant meaning to D. Tropp are, “Crew is Better,” which is about the feeling of spending time with great friends, “Sundown,” which is about the motivation to get up and tackle life head-on, and “Dirty Sprite,” which deals with temptation.
The track, “Love You More,” may be D. Tropp’s deepest, as it deals directly with the artist’s faith.
“I wrote it to represent my relationship with God,” he said. “It’s like an apology to God. ‘Why do you still love me when I cheat on you?’”
When asked what word would best describe D. Tropp’s new album, he said, “Confidence. Being confident in myself, with who I am in Christ.”
D. Tropp said he is in the process of taking a big step in his career, although he shied away from giving details until the ink is dry. He did say that he’s making a move to Miami in May as a part of the plan. Besides continuing to hone his musical skills, one of the artist’s long-term hopes is to share his story at a venue with special meaning — encouraging others in the process.
“My biggest dream is to have a sold-out show in the United Center arena in Chicago,” D. Tropp said. “That’s a block from where I [was born].”