By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Rapper Trip Rexx has witnessed his fair share of mental health struggles.
A close family member suffers from manic depression, and he’s struggled with anxiety and depression. He channels that through his music.
“I talk about it a lot in my music, hoping to help other people who deal with that,” he says. “I want to normalize that in society. It’s a big topic that a lot of people deal with, but it’s swept under the rug a lot.”
Rexx will showcase his music when he opens for Shawnna, the daughter of Buddy Guy, at Aura in Tempe on Friday, March 3.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he says. “I just played Valley Bar in January, and it was one of my favorite shows. I played for 200 people there, with a couple other bands.”
He says fans can expect crowd interaction and, at his urging, mosh pits and a range of emotions. Rexx will include his song, “Me & My Bimmer,” which is approaching 1.3 million streams. His monthly Spotify listeners exceeds 60,000.
“I like to play with different sounds,” he adds. “There’s straight-up raping on a fast, hard beat; crooning a bit; and punk rock influences. I bring a whole experience.”
Rexx, who was born Justin Corsillo in Toronto, will perform as part of the prestigious South by Southwest festival in Austin, and has a March 26 gig in LA, where he now resides.
Rexx who grew up in Scottsdale and attended Phoenix Country Day, also lived in the Bay area and Connecticut.
He struggled with feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression from a young age and found solace in creative pursuits like drawing, theater and playing instruments.
Alternative rock and hip-hop music became his main escape as an adolescent, and in high school he discovered a passion for songwriting where he felt he could express himself.
“I’m a huge hip-hop fan,” he says. “That’s the main genre growing up. I listen to a lot of alt-rock, and pop-punk, too. I like classic rock, funk and soul, but hip-hop is my biggest inspiration. The artists I look up to the most are Future, Young Thug, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.
“But I also love Nirvana and Fall Out Boy. I blend my music with rock and other genres. I’m really inspired by film and television, nature and philosophy. There are existential topics in my music, big thinking about life type stuff. That makes an appearance in a lot of my music.”
He took rap seriously while studying philosophy at ASU, and left the college to pursue a music career. It’s been gaining momentum the past two or three years, since moving to Downtown LA.
In the summer of 2022, he dropped the album “Blue Planet,” which centers around mental health. He’s preparing to release a new album.
While he refuses to keep himself in a box sonically or emotionally, his music is passionate and honest.
“The sound mixes rap cadences and flows with pop-punk melodies and introspective thoughts, often accompanied by bouncy trap production that has a psychedelic twist.”
Shawnna w/Trip Rexx
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, March 3
WHERE: Aura, 411 S. Mill Avenue, Suite 201, Tempe
COST: $20 in advance
INFO: eventbrite.com; Instagram @auratempe