There’s nothing “Awkward” about Eem Triplin’s rise to underground acclaim. For him, trusting the process is how he’s captured the moment he’s worked so long for.
Ultimately, manifestation is real for the 21-year-old producer-rapper, who initially blew up off the back of his Tyler, The Creator-sampled track “Awkward Freestyle” earlier this year. Tyler’s coveted co-sign, in our Instagram comments nonetheless, quickly skyrocketed Eem’s notoriety as a rapper — and his momentum hasn’t stopped since.
“‘Awkward’ is one of my favorite Tyler songs… I never talked to Tyler directly, but it was too lit when he showed love on the OGM post. It was super random. I was just on my phone and saw he commented on a post I was tagged in… it was crazy. It was like a full circle moment.”Eem Triplin to OGM
By now, the clip of his infamous Rolling Loud set, where he poked fun at performing in front of 13 people, has made its way through all sectors of Hip-Hop Twitter. Not one to take things seriously — remaining tounge-in-cheek and light-hearted — Triplin doesn’t seem to trip the small stuff. Rather, he used the performance as a way to reassert that everyone has to start somewhere — calling back on his years-long process of carefully curating his sound. This, though, is the mark of a genuine emcee, as Eem is as gracious as they come.
Triplin has had plenty of viral moments in his short yet prosperous career, all thanks to his social media savvy and down-to-earth energy. Whether it’s a TikTok video or a grandiose visual treatment, it’s evident that he is in control of his destiny.
Garnering a seamless connection with SoundCloud-era savant $NOT over the last few years, the pair have captured an inescapable energy together. Producing on albums like +TRAGEDY-, Beautiful Havoc, Ethereal and recent singles like “Ms. Porter,” Eem isn’t afraid to be bold or left-of-center behind the boards — revealing that he and $NOT are “setting the precedent” of how to tackle his nuanced production style.
“$NOT was really the only one hopping on my beats. I wasn’t really getting any placements because my beats kind of fit in a certain pocket that not everybody was on. I feel like with me hopping on my beats, it was something people already wasn’t doing. I feel like I’m setting the precedent on how to hop on one of my beats. I was never walking around mad that people weren’t using any of them, but now I’m just showing people how to properly do it.”
Recently eclipsing 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, he remains grounded in the fact that his success as an artist stems from the countless hours he put into his YouTube channel. “For me personally, deleting old things is lame,” he said of his prior work. “I like people seeing the real process of how all this happened and seeing the final product. I want people to see the real work [I put in]. Everything is staying there.”
It was never solely producing or rapping for the Johnstown, Pennsylvania native either. He had no “specific plan” as to what he wanted to do, it all just happened naturally. “It was never one or the other,” he said. “It was always what was happening for me at the moment. The producer stuff happened first and now, I guess I’m in my rapper mode.”
Inspired by Aaliyah, Playboi Carti, A$AP Rocky, Chief Keef, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler and more, Triplin’s sound is hard to pin down on the surface. Seamlessly blending the styles of plugg, R&B and rage, he finds a balance in the eerily energetic pockets of his atmosperhic, fast-paced cadence. His vocal chain is dripped in secret sauce — constantly experimenting with layers to sound as if he’s drowning.
While tracks like “New Jack City” are draped in darkness, he’s a lover at a heart — fighting for the universal attachment that everyone is seeking. Love is fleeting, and for Eem, he knows that raw emotion trumps any facade or front.
Continuing to build his sonic world, Eem’s visuals are further proof of his refined attention to detail, as his most recent efforts in “If You Go” and “Just Friends?” triumphantly work in tandem. Donning a pink bandana on the steps of pink house with a pink car parked outside, he holds an umbrella that defends him from his metaphorical, self-inflicted downpour. It’s visually stunning and another key factor of his artistry, as Eem takes pride in cultivating the artistic lens he sees himself through.
Still without a full body of work, Triplin’s next move is crafting the project his fans so desperately desire. He’s prepping for an ascension and speaking superstardom into existence — even though his talent always spoke for itself.
“I like to prioritize my songs… but it’s really because I didn’t feel like I had enough traction to drop a project,” he said. “It was too soon. So I wanted to drop and build out a catalog that people could start to like me. So when I did drop a project, it was a big event. One is to come for sure. I feel like I’ve built something. I’m thinking an EP at first.”
As Eem inches towards his debut EP, he sat down with OGM host Hakeem Rowe to speak on “Awkward Freestyle,” Rolling Loud, $NOT, Tyler, The Creator, his signature sound, building his own wave and more in our latest Our Generation Music exclusive.
Watch Eem Triplin’s interview below!