Tip Drill on Quitting Stripping, Doing Hip-Hop: "It's Hard to Make People Take Me Serious"
There was no doubt, as 2012 got started, that Kenisha "Tip Drill" Myree was at the top of Miami's stripper food chain. The top-drawing dancer at King of Diamonds, she pulled in as much as 10 grand a shift. There were a couple nights, she says, where she brought home $20,000.
Thanks to a jaw-dropping signature act, which involved sliding headfirst down a 32-foot pole before coming to a stop inches from the ground, and KOD's popularity among high-rolling rap heavyweights, she'd become a hip-hop celebrity, namechecked in lyrics by The Game, among others. An accidental appearance on MSNBC talk show Morning Joe last January even gave her a dose of mainstream fame.
But then things came crashing down -- literally.
In the early morning of February 18, Tip Drill's act went horribly wrong. As she slid down the King of Diamonds pole, an unknown object shook her balance and she smashed, face-first, into the stage. While she recovered quickly enough to appear in Nicki Minaj's "Beez in the Trap" video a few weeks later, she suffered a broken jaw, fractured cheekbones, and lost a kidney. She quit King of Diamonds and vowed to stop stripping.
Fast-forward 18 months, and Tip Drill the stripper is now Tip Drill the rapper. With years of hard knocks and even harder partying behind her, the 26-year-old has her sights set on becoming Miami's most successful female MC since another ex-stripper, Trina, left the pole for the mic.
On a muggy night in early July, Crossfade finds Myree, clad in tight black athletic shorts, a matching black top, and a pink beenie emblazoned with the word "Ratchet" over her bleached blonde hair, at work inside CT Music Studios in Sunrise. A cognac-filled Solo cup at the ready, she's recording a track called "No Time For Dat" for Shit Happens, an upcoming mixtape, the phrase referencing both the unfortunate incident at KOD and her fondness for toilet humor.
"I was rapping before, but it wasn't my main priority, so I had to make people understand why I was transitioning," she says of the evocative title. "And it was because shit happens. I had to do it. And then I'm always taking shits."
Her every move at the studio, including our interview, is captured by a cameraman taping scenes for a reality show project she and her close friend, fellow stripper and former New Times sex columnist Skrawberry, were planning to shop about their efforts to transition out of dancing. (The idea's since been scrapped in favor of a live-streaming online chat show based around the twosome's colorful Twitter presence.)
In the year and a half since she's begun rapping seriously, "Tip" has recorded tracks with Trina, Gunplay, and Ace Hood, opened shows for Chief Keef and Jim Jones, and hit the studio with stalwart producers Cool and Dre. But success in the rap world has been slow to come. Her fame is certainly no greater now than it was in the dancing days: Google Tip Drill and the top result is a February 20, 2012 story on her fall at KOD, by rap news site BallerStatus.com.
However, she issued some attention-grabbing artwork for Shit Happens late last year -- the cover shows her lounging on a toilet, pants down at her ankles -- but the mixtape still has not seen release. "Everything is about timing, it has to be right on cue," Tip Drill says of the delay. "Especially since I'm trying to transition from a stripper to a rapper, it's hard to make people take me serious."
While her output thus far -- "Bands," a run-of-the-mill club track with Lil Scrappy; the trash-talking "Yeah Ho!" -- has not been earth shattering, it's clear that she's approaching her new job with total professionalism. She records endless takes of each line, and frets over the smallest details.