Grieving takes a backseat to the hustle as far as Scotty ATL is concerned.
Between his rise as one of Atlanta’s more consistent lyricists (no mumble raps from him), Cool Club label founder, owner of grill manufacturer ATown Grillz and co-host behind local monthly open mic The Fanbase, he always has his hand in something. During a 10-minute walk in Hollywood to a nearby Starbucks, he’s takes several phone calls about everything from high-profile feature spots to booking studio time.
“I got to have several hustles man,” explained Scotty. “I don’t have a choice bro. This shit be real for me out here.”
This year particularly, he has to do something to get his mind off of around nine people he knew who died by gun violence and illness. Those who’ve listened to his recently released mixtape Daily Bread knows he touches on that subject particularly on the Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Bye Bye.” There was a moment this year where he lost four people in four weeks.
“When it first started happening I was like what the fuck,” he said. “It was like The Hunger Games. People were getting snatched up left and right.”
Among those taken from him was a close friend who committed suicide while Scotty was on the way to give him show tickets. Despite seeing someone so close to him without breath, he still performed that night. Between being on separate tours with both B.o.B and Big K.R.I.T., the only thing he could do was work.
“It’s been happening to the point where you have to remind yourself to have feeling,” explained Scotty. “You become numb in a sense to what’s going on and you have to remind yourself to have feeling. When you’re on tour, niggas is holding your arm to the chair, you can’t go anywhere with it. You got one bunk or go outside for a minute, but you still gotta perform and get to the radio. You still got to go out here. You can’t be walking around every day with a crown on. You just learn how to make it through.”
Another person Scotty lost to gun violence was buzzing rapper Bankroll Fresh. He says the two organically developed a friendship and working relationship after a show in New York.
“We just started linking up in the city,” Scotty said. “He was doing his thing with Street Money and I had Cool Club. We just went a different route and get our own stuff poppin. We just always had a respect for each other in the right way.”
After they were both featured in Vibe’s 2016 Artists To Watch in January, the two had major plans for each other as they were the only artists from Atlanta to make the list. “He always had the streets and DJs on lock, but I was on a lot of tours and I was doing real good in the blog world too,” said Scotty. “We were trying to combine this shit and get some real money.”
This led to the completion of a 12-track EP and plans for a tour that fell through when Bankroll was murdered in March. Scotty did say that he’s attempting to coordinate a release with his team.
“It’ll see the light of day,” he explained. “I be in communication with his people trying to figure it out and everything. People are going to hear it.”
Though the majority of Daily Bread was recorded in Atlanta, a few tracks were recorded in Denver. Videos for “Stupid Rich” and “So High” were shot in Oregon. Those moments away from The A gave him a new perspective on life.
“I had a lot of time to reflect and just think about some shit,” he said. “The thing was that there was so much shit going on in Atlanta, sometimes you gotta hustle and bustle just to get your mind off of shit. When I got a chance to go somewhere like out there, I had no choice but to zone out and think about whatever, whether it’s the progress or some of the shit I’ve been through throughout the year.”
During that time, he realized his ability to cope.
“In one of these books, I read about how when you numb the pain, you also numb the joy,” he continued. “You can’t desensitize yourself to the pain if you want to experience all the joy. I want to live life to the fullest and it was a struggle to keep that joy.”
He has a lot to be happy about at the moment. The success of Daily Bread is attributed to his own intuition. “It wasn’t no surprise that the project was a real testament to what’s going on in Atlanta right now and this country right now. I’m being true to the artistry. The next phase, we’re about to pipe it out.”
Alongside getting into songwriting, he has already signed two artists to Cool Club, started a Cool Club Productions company and Cool Club DJs. Though he’s worked with him before on tracks like “Cloud IX” from his 2014 Spaghetti Junction project, Scotty is also back in the studio with DJ Toomp. “You’re going to get produced,” he said. “Toomp point out shit that I don’t even think about, but it’s a great idea.”
Daily Bread is an accumulation of the incredible highs and awful lows of Scotty’s year. Balancing the hustles and ensuring his fans are constantly fed music, he has much to speak about.
“I tell people I never get writer’s block because good or bad, I can do and talk about it,” he explained. “You only get writer’s block when you talk about shit you not feeling emotionally. I just go in and make music that I love to do.”