LONDON rapper Chip found fame with his hard-hitting and fast paced lyrical style after gaining recognition on the underground scene whilst still a schoolboy.
However things didn't come easily for Chip - who signed his first record deal aged just 18 - and he attributes his success to the struggle he had to endure growing up.
The 22-year-old Tottenham born star has admitted that seeing the dark side of life on a rundown council estate while still at school made him realise he had to do whatever it would take to direct his life towards something more positive.
He said: "I didn't have many opportunities as a child, I just made them. The secondary school I went to was rough as hell, to go through that and come out with four B's and five A's wasn't easy.
"Like, kids from my school got murdered outside, it wasn't a joke there.
"Being in that surrounding drove me to get out. I kept saying in my head 'my kids can't grow up here'. Whatever path was going to take me there, be it football, music, or my education, I was going to get out."
But despite the hard times Chip says he wouldn't change it for anything because it helped to shape his future and who he is today.
He added: "I wouldn't change a thing. I used that drive and energy to elevate me. I started rapping with a dream of not being broke - I'm not going to sit here and lie and say 'oh yeah I just love music' - yeah I do love music, but the whole thing for me was I didn't want to die broke."
Chip's new album is a long-awaited release after taking a year out from mainstream music, during which time he signed to US rapper T.I's record label Grand Hustle.
Prior to the change Chip found himself coming under fire when his second studio album Transition was criticised for being heavily influenced by American artists such as Chris Brown who featured on No2 single Champion.
But he feels the fact that he has collaborated with big name artists globally should make others get the drive to obtain the same level of success.
And on his new mixtape London Boy, Chip has collaborated with worldwide acts including Wretch 32, Professor Green, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy and Mavado.
He said: "When it came to the mixtape I wanted to take away any misconceptions people have about the direction I've chosen to go in. Like nobody's been able to do something like this and release it for free.
"Instead of having boundaries like they're American and he's English and he's Jamaican, I was literally like 'let's make good music'.
"Fortunately for me whatever country in the world is just a plane away, so if i can make a body of work that represents London and the UK - and have worldwide credible acts of longevity be a part of it - that's good for the whole scene, not just me. I just wanted to show it could be done."
Chip was also keen to air his feelings on the people that do criticise him and accuse him "leaving behind" his UK roots.
He added: "I think anybody that says something, doesn't know anything. The people that don't talk are the ones that know. Are we gonna all pretend like we don't listen to artists from all over the world? I don't understand where the barrier is, if you can get there, do it.
"If I'm the first person to show it can get done that's fine, don't have boundaries based on countries. Music is the language of the world. Just look at Gangnam Style."
Chip feels that London Boy has seen him return to similar lyrical content and style to his earlier days because he has his "hunger" back.
He said: "I think what being with Grand Hustle has done is give me a collective of people to keep me on my toes. You believe that more things are possible as a young black adolescent growing up in the world.
"I will continue to do me, and be me, but I've got my hunger back. That's come from being nobody in America. I lost it because I went from having £2 a day lunch money, to making what some consider to be crazy money, so if you couldn't hear the hunger in my voice, it's because I wasn't hungry anymore."
He added: "I am happy, I can hear it in my own voice. I didn't have it for ages, and I'm so happy to have it back. You have to find something to give you your hunger back, the hunger is the key."
And Chip has clear advice for others in the same position as he was as a young boy - find out what your talents are and use them to your advantage.
He said: "Embrace what your talents are, other people might but perceive it as a talent, but embrace it, focus on it, work on it, and bullet point plan how you can turn it into income.
"Only you can open doors for yourself. And try and live righteous while you do it - do the right thing."
London Boy is released for free on Christmas Day.
The first track to be released from the mixtape, Londoner, is a patriotic tribute to his home town which sees him join forces with fellow chart-toppers Professor Green, Wretch 32 and Loick Essien.
Source: The Sun