Lil Scrappy is a name that's sat idly for the better part of two years. Having initially played a pivotal role, along with Lil Jon, in introducing the world to the Crunk movement, Scrappy now calls that era a gift and a curse. 50 Cent and G-Unit Records then assisted the Atlanta-based artist to help jump-start an uncertain label situation at Warner Brothers. The union produced "Money In The Bank," a hit that broke Scrappy away from his Crunk label, and demonstrated his ability to carve a unique lane. However, in the time since early 2007, between legal troubles and label struggles, Scrappy says he lost some of that momentum.
In an interview that shifts between personally revealing and at times predictable, Lil Scrappy does what he can to explain his position. The son of madam, he defines his "grustle" and the mentality that's kept him sustained in a cold world. With his G's Up label in tow, Scrappy also explains how hard-working people at his former label helped him redefine himself as an independent artist. In the wake of the Young Buck controversies, you also may be surprised to see Scrappy's outlook on assistance and support from G-Unit. Money in the bank is one thing, but this product of the new millennium stresses his lasting power.
HipHopDX: What label are you with right now?
Lil Scrappy: I've got my own label, G's Up Records. We're doing the joint venture deal with Good Hands [Records].
DX: Good Hands is Philadelphia based, right?
Lil Scrappy: Right...
DX: How did you link up with them?
Lil Scrappy: Me and the founder used to be at Warner Brothers together, and he used to help me with all of my Internet stuff. So he came to me and asked me if I wanna make some money, and I just looked at him like he was crazy, like "What you think?" When he was over there, I was trying to get my G's Up thing going on Warner Brothers. He knew I was trying to do that, so he gave me a door and a window to climb through so I could do that.
DX: B.G. and the Chopper City Boyz were able to make the Soundscan Top 200 with their 2008 release Life in the Concrete Jungle [click to read]. Do you think with G's Up you can bring major label buzz you your crew on an indie?
Lil Scrappy: Oh yeah, definitely. Cause my shit is A-100... when I say "A" I mean "Atlanta-100"... we kinda run this shit right now.
DX: Tell us more...
Lil Scrappy: Right now we've got the G's Up album coming out which consists of Young Vet, Pooh Baby and right after that I have Diamond, she used to be in the group Crime Mob; she's on my label also. And she's coming out with her new single called "Sickness." And I'm also working on my solo album.
DX: Are you approaching this project differently then other projects?
Lil Scrappy: Yeah, cause it's straight street for me. It's not a lot of glamor in it, and it's for the street. And there's a straight promotional tool that I'm using to set up my foundation.
DX: Do you feel like being a big part of Lil Jon's Crunk movement was a gift or a curse in regards to longevity?
Lil Scrappy: It was a gift and a curse. It opened the door for Atlanta and the new music that comes out of Atlanta. 'Cause at first, we couldn't get nobody to jam to our stuff. And then as soon as we did that, they was moving, they was partying. So it was a gift and the curse.
DX: And the curse?
Lil Scrappy: The curse part is because of his shying away from the game, it kinda opened the door for other people to come in and kinda push [Lil Jon] to the side. I was under him, so it kinda pushed me to the side. But I have my own lane now, you feel me? That's what I was trying to make from the beginning, my own lane. Everybody was like, "Why is he saying that?" and I was saying that I've got my own music, called "real Crunk." I noticed there's a lot of dudes coming in from where I'm from, the street, and they've got the Crunk beats. But they're slowing the flow down, and they're actually rapping, telling a story. And I know how to do that also, so I've been doing that. Even on my first album when I first came out with the Lil Scrappy and Trillville...my side was straight real. It was party, but if you listened to me I was sayin' straight real shit.
DX: And what's your current affiliation with G-Unit?
Lil Scrappy: My current affiliation with G-Unit is that we're all homies. I still talk to everybody. I just ain't talked to 50 Cent [click to read] in a minute, but I talk to everybody else like [Lloyd] Banks, [Tony] Yayo.
DX: You haven't talked to 50 for any specific reason or just because?
Lil Scrappy: Oh nah, just 'cause I'm not into asking people for nothing, no help or nothing like that. If you give it, you give it. The first time he looked out, he called me out the blue and he was like, "I'm gonna look out for you, fuck with me," and I fucked with him. But right now I know he's doing his thing and I don't wanna be a burden or nothing like that. I do my thing; I'm a grown man.
DX: So working together in the future is not a problem?
Lil Scrappy: Oh hell nah, I'm definitely sure that we'll be fuckin' with each other.
DX: So what new artists are you listening to right now?
Lil Scrappy: There's a new artist, Young Vet...and another one is Boyd... and Pooh Baby... these are new artists on G's Up. And I've got the Black Rag Gang, you know it's really just growth and development right now. Like, they've got their own swag, and they've got their own following. Everybody knows them in Atlanta and outside Atlanta. They're doing their thing, and that's who I listen to. I also listen to Diamond too. She's solo now.
DX: Growing up, your mother was a pimp. What effect do you think that had on you?
Lil Scrappy: Sometimes I just can't trust a female. I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. But really, I just look at life on a different tip. I look at it like, "If my mama can hustle, any female can hustle." I don't look at a female and picture them as weak. I'm not a sexist. I think that a woman can do every little bit a man can do if she puts her heart into it. And I know I've seen my mama do what a man does and feed her family for years. So it just made me look at women that take from men, or just sit around and let somebody take care of them, even some dudes... it made me look at them as weak. 'Cause I watched a lady take care of herself and her kids.
She did what she had to do. She used to be an LPN, a nurse, but when she got into a head-on collision, an accident, her hipbone was crushed and her knee bone was crushed. She couldn't even work no more. They said she had to take a disability check for the rest of her life. She wasn't with it, 'cause she couldn't feel her kids and have them comfortable. So she got on her hustle. All I know is I've stayed in the hood all my life. I'm out now, but I can never really leave because it's a mentality I have to keep to keep me level. It taught me another part of life, that it's not fun and games, it's a hustle. Or a "grustle" like I call it, a grind and a hustle. She taught me the grustle. And it ain't an every other day job, it's a 24/7 job. You don't get no sleep, 'cause while you're sleepin', the next person gon' get it.
DX: Ike Dirty, Isaac Hayes' son, produced "Money in the Bank." How did your camp react to his father's passing?
Lil Scrappy: It was crazy. I really felt touched, 'cause I met him one day and he knew who I was. We were at the BMI Awards and I was making noise in the back and then he came and said, "Scrappy... What's up man?" Ike's daddy, the Isaac Hayes came up to me and was giving me daps, saying he liked my music and saying he never saw anybody that had as much energy as I had. And he loved the energy in my music. It's like, "Wow, it's Isaac Hayes talking to me." So when that happened, that was the first thing that popped into my head. He acknowledged who I was, and I ain't even think he knew who I was. He was a talented man and I saw it in his son, Ike D. I mean, my heart just went out to him, 'cause I don't know what I'd do if I lost my father.
DX: Other than music, are you working on anything right now?
Lil Scrappy: I've got a some movies on the table, but I'm just gonna keep it under wraps till they hit commercials.
DX: So acting is something that you're interested in?
Lil Scrappy: Yeah, it's better then a lot of this stuff. I want to be able to do everything. I'm a talented dude, I think.
DX: Is there anything not yet touched upon that you wanted to talk about?
Lil Scrappy: I just to let everybody know my situation... I'm not with Warner Brothers anymore, and that's what was taking me so long to come out with something. I haven't been sittin' down chillin'. I've been going through regular life. I tend to always live a regular life even though I'm famous, because when you let it go to your head then your whole life begins to be a movie. And you probably wouldn't even know if you were dead or not.
So my whole thing is I try to live my life and keep myself grounded. I've really just been working on my craft, gettin' my style right, gettin' my body back right, 'cause I got a little thick. And I ended up gettin' in trouble, but God saved my life. I'm here...I'm alive. I could've died also. I just thank God that I'm here, and I want to tell all my fans there's a lot of people that've been hatin' on me and don't want me to succeed, and they are my peers. They don't want me to pop off, but I'm gonna pop off. Do you see how easy it is for certain people to come back? They charged me to come back. So I've gotta pay to come back. But after I pay this first time, there won't be another time.