Skippa Da Flippa’s phone number has a Florida area code, but he’s typically thought of as being from Atlanta. A mainstay on recent mixtapes and loosies by artists like Migos, Lil Yachty, and ILoveMakonnen, Skippa spent time traveling between his home state and the city that made him famous starting at age 12, before finally settling in the trap music capital when he was 16. Born Kevin Markees Purnell, what he’s currently best known for is being one of the original inventors of the dab. With the dance sensation showing no signs of slowing and Skippa’s most recent tape becoming available through the Quality Control label, he’s now poised to become one of the city’s next big stars.
Entertainment wasn’t always Skippa’s first priority. “I came from the trap straight to rap,” he says. You can catch him in an episode of Vice’s Noisey Atlanta series from last year aiming a pistol at the camera and making someone off camera audibly nervous. That particular episode was centered around Migos, and before dropping his first mixtape I’m Havin, Skippa was a member of their entourage. “We grew up together,” he says. “I really wasn’t rapping until the Migos came onto QC.” After spending time on tour with the group, Skippa decided to pursue music seriously and soon earned a deal with the label.
As for hitting the dab, Skippa hopes to set the dance move’s famously clouded origins straight, “The dab originally wasn’t called the dab, the dab was just the way you dress.” Eventually it took on a new life as a move, and according to Skippa, its creators were him, Migos, and Jose Guapo. “There’s no one else that you can say created the dab.”
As dabbing worked its way up to certified meme status, the question of who created it has taken a backseat to a more pressing one: Who made it a trend? Skippa has an answer for that one too. “I can take it back to a time where there was nobody dabbing,” he says. “Everybody stopped because they thought that the shit was fucking lame. Everybody told me, ‘Yo, stop doing that shit bro.’ I never stopped.”
Skippa says that it’s been gratifying to watch the trend spread to a higher echelon of celebrities and public figures, like Hillary Clinton and Lebron James. “To see that we could create a trend, and to see people that make 20 mil a year or that 500 mil a year dabbing on fucking TV? That shit blows my mind, I love that shit.”
Beefs have broken out over the creation of the dab, but Skippa doesn’t let it bother him too much. “I’ve been in way worse, worse, worse situations,” he says. “It’s not frustrating, just give credit. Don’t run off with it bro.”
Photos by John Canon