A young, hungry 17-year old rapper from Jonesboro went from “sleeping on the floor in the front room” to winning $10,000 in a rap battle in Philadelphia.
Addareen Ross simply known as “LilSnupe” received his career break when Mayback Music’s Meek Mill recognized his talents and signed him to 1-million dollar contract with his record label, DreamChasers after dropping his mixtape, 16 & Runnin on Dec. 12.
In an old fashion rap battle, LilSnupe and Philadelphia Eagle’s wide receiver, DeSean Jackson’s artist Retro went head to head in a five round battle during T.I.’s album release party on Dec. 19.
Before Jackson could storm out of the building, LilSnupe was crowned the winner for his southern delivery and ability to tell his story though rap lyrics.
“At any given moment, (LilSnupe) didn’t get distracted,” said Trae The Truth, Houston rapper during the battle. “He did his thang and handled his business.”
The judges were T.I., Trae Tha Truth, Michael Vick and T.I.’s cousin Rashad, the guy that the movie ATL is based on. The video of the battle can be seen on Youtube.
“I have watched it five to ten times,” said the Jonesboro native excitedly.
It was a challenge for LilSnupe to get to this moment. During only the second week of his freshman year, he dropped out of Jonesboro High School last August.
“I wasn’t focused on what I really wanted,” said LilSnupe. “But everyone can’t do what I did.”
He admits that sometimes he thinks about the different opportunities he could have had if he would have stayed in school. He plans to get his GED soon.
“I think sometimes I should have stayed in school. I’ll tell the next person to graduate go to college and meet different people,” said the son of Denesha Ross, from Pasadena, California. He also has a younger brother named Sedarian Joe.
LilSnupe was born at Minden Medical Center, but was raised in the projects of Jonesboro. Jonesboro is a small city about 23 miles from Grambling.
“You don’t want to live in (Jonesboro) and you don’t want to raise your children there,” said the rapper. “I want to bring back life and positive energy. I want to give (people in Jonesboro) something to look up to and depend on.”
On the streets, LilSnupe has witnessed many of his friends get pulled into the system.
“Free C4,” said the entertainer.
Last January, LilSnupe was admitted to the LTI in Monroe for a violation of probation. He spent almost 200 days there and wrote the majority of his songs. He was released on July 16.
“It’s not somewhere you want to be. It was the same kind of lifestyle as living on the streets,” said LilSnupe.
LilSnupe’s initial contact with MMG artist Mill occurred on during Grambling’s homecoming concert last October. After performing, LilSnupe approached Mill’s van and presented him and his group with his mix tape. Mill listened to it and told the inspiring rapper to “just keep grinding” and his skills was headed in a good direction.
It wasn’t after formally releasing his mixtape, almost a month later, did things officially takeoff with Mill.
“I am learning the business, to stay humble and don’t let people take you off your game,” said the rapper in response to what he is learning from his experiences with Mill.
Majority of his rap lyrics reference the absence of his father, Addareen Cottonham. He has been in Dixon Correctional Center since 1999. LilSnupe describes his father as a “habitual offender.” He was sentenced to 20 years in jail but visits him often. He admits without his father he worked harder, but he can’t really miss something he never had.
LilSnupe wants his raps to tell a story: what he has been though and what he is trying to accomplish. He hopes this year he can attend the BET Awards. He also mentioned it would be a “good look” if he could have the opportunity to perform at Grambling’s spring fest.