good. I'm grinding, just trying to stay busy.
you react to Jay Dee's death?
threw me off. He was definitely a real hot producer and seemed like a
real cool dude. That brings everybody back to life and back down to earth.
Life can't be taken for granted.
being Kool G. Rap's DJ come about?
I can't even
remember how we hooked up. I got up with his manager Big Al first. Then
I went to his crib and we just clicked. We've done mad shows, I do beats
for him...now, we talk almost every day. He's a beast. I don't think anybody's
fucking with him in the game lyrically right now. It's something that
New York and Hip Hop needs. People need to embrace the old school and
true lyricism. I'm really excited to be working on his project and finding
a good situation for him.
on that big tape with Green Lantern. How's that coming?
He's definitely on some gully shit on it. He's not losing his essence.
That's what people want to hear from him. I think people would be real
upset if they heard him reaching to make some candy shit. People want
that grimy New York street shit. That needs to come back and come back
to the forefront. I think these New York radio DJ's need to start showing
more love to New York instead of just being followers.
you learning being around G. Rap?
It just amazes
me how sharp he is. A lot of the old school cats don't move with the times
or they get relaxed. He's hungry as hell. He writes rhymes fast and lays
it down. It's ridiculous. Then when you talk to him, you see how humble
and kind he is. He's just a real cool dude at the end of the day. He shouldn't
be so humble. All that VH1 tribute shit is good, but they should be bringing
out Kool G. Rap.
it rhyming on "Heavy Metal" with him?
definitely a challenge. He reached out to me to jump on it. I definitely
had to do it. It was an honor for him to reach out to me to do it. We
had a concept and I like concept songs. He set the bar so high that I
had to make sure every line was tight. It gave me confidence that someone
of his caliber would reach out to me. We also have a song together that's
coming out on the And1 videogame in April.
dude you've done a lot of work with is Saigon. How's "The Greatest
Story Never Told" coming?
is bananas. That shit is definitely bananas. I can't wait for the world
to really hear it. I'm getting antsy that the world isn't hearing it.
They're hearing the mixtapes, which are crazy, but the album is another
level. Sai is a different type of artist. The shit that's on the album
has a lot of depth. That's what people are going to hear and really see
what it is.
one of the first to work with Saigon. Back then, did you see something
in him that no one else saw?
definitely. The first time we got up was when he had just come home. He
had the "Unsigned Hype" and I was waiting for my column. Gotti
hooked us up. We started banging shit out. He had a million rhymes and
we knocked out a lot of songs. His shit was crazy. This last mixtape he
released, the Drama one, I had nine beats on it, and on the Whoo Kid tape,
I had about five beats. He also hosted two of my mixtapes. We have great
chemistry and it's definitely fun to work with him in the studio.
next for you and Sai?
I think it's
time for a Scram Jones/Saigon mixtape to show the world how many songs
we've done. I think he's going to make one last run with Just, one last
run with me, and maybe one last run with Al. The record is 80% done. I
know he's debating on what's going to go on the album. He's going to mash
out a few more songs and we'll fill in the gaps with whatever's missing.
We're hoping it drops this summer but you can never trust what the label
says. It's definitely exciting. I'm telling him to drop one of these big
songs and get it on the radio. He dropped so many songs on the mixtape
that he just flooded the market. You have to let the DJ's just concentrate
on one record. It's going to be a wrap when he drops.
a studio session like with Saigon?
We make sure
we have everything we need. We make sure we have a couple dubs of haze.
Most of the time we fuck with the beer. You may not have as much stamina
if you drink liquor. We get started and we stop when we fall asleep. He'll
fall asleep in the booth, I'll fall asleep in front of the computer
take my dog out, come back, wake him up, and work on more songs
usually get three or four songs done every session.
things change for you after you got on Mariah Carey's album?
exposed me to another bracket of clientele and it shows what I'm capable
of. I had the underground stamp on my forehead for a long time, doing
all those open mics and battles and working with a lot of underground
artists. I showed that I'm capable of bringing it to the next level. It
helped me open up to the R&B world and I was able to show people that
I'm musical and I can do whatever.
I'm doing some Spanish rap with my artist Veneno, who just got signed
to Star Trak. At the same time, I'm doing joints with Immortal Technique
and Saigon. I never let the business get in the way. I still have a passion
for the real Hip Hop shit. Regardless of where people stand on the industry
ladder, I'm a fan. I'm working with Nature, JR Writer, and Raekwon. I
work with the people I feel, but I'm still trying to get to the Justin
Timberlake's to get that dollar.
trying to get into more R&B?
There's a lot of money in there. A lot of times to buy R&B beats,
you have to have already written the songs. I'm working with some R&B
writers right now. We're doing a lot of song-pitching instead of beat-pitching.
We have to sell the whole song. I've always played the piano and keyboard.
I'm into some real melodic shit, but at the same time I still love that
it watching Mariah take home three Grammy's?
think it was mad deserved. Her album is hot. I'm not big on R&B albums.
I don't buy them or anything, but the album is hot. I wish she had gotten
album of the year, but she still has three Grammy's. Hopefully she reaches
out for the next album.
up with Venom, also known as Veneno, today?
to really take over the Spanish game. He's always going to be Jack Venom.
He's taking this Spanish rap to another level. Half the time, I don't
know what he's saying. I know flow and delivery, and he's got that. He
can go fast like Twista or do some Damien Marley shit. We're working on
a new mixtape. We met with Pharell and they're going to start working.
The funny thing is, Spanish is his second language. A lot of times when
Spanish is someone's first language, a lot of words get lost in translation.
He's going to fuck a lot of people's heads up.
will you stay in Venom's project?
We have our
company together, Beast Music, and we're grinding every day. He's recorded
a bunch of records with Nore and his people. He's done songs with Fabolous.
He just did a song with Aventura, who is a platinum-selling Dominican
band. We've been doing work with them. It's exciting. He's about to do
some big things. We're definitely trying to make shit pop.
still working with Marvalous?
I was just with Marv. His new shit is incredible. I think his name messed
him up because he's a straight gully dude from the streets. He's been
through hell and back. His story is pretty incredible, from going in and
out of jail
he's got some crazy stories. I don't give props to people
that have been through that, but I give props to people who learn from
that. He drops jewels. His music has a lot of depth. He's definitely dropping
jewels in his records. We're going to go with "Marvo" now, because
when people hear "Marvalous," they may think "Fabolous."
He's not on the flossing shit. We're looking for a home for him right
now. His album is just about done.
been quiet on the mic lately. How come?
so many hours in a day. I'm juggling so many things right now. I definitely
want to drop my project so people can really see me in depth. I have over
200 songs recorded, but right now, people are looking at me for the beats.
I'm always throwing out some freestyles. I'm doing a song with Sean P
for his mixtape. Until I have major-label distribution, then I would love
to come out with an album like "The Chronic" and be the host
of the shit with the rappers I like. That would be the greatest situation.
Right now, I have to make a living and that takes a lot of my time. Managing
Venom has become an every day thing. I'm definitely craving to put that
MC hat back on. Right now, it's not paying the bills so it's not a priority.
In the next year, I'd like to get something out to show what I can do.
the Nature project coming?
my homie. He just had a baby and he's going through some life stuff, but
we have mad songs together. Me, him, and Vin the Chin have done a lot.
Vin introduced me to Nature years ago. We've all been working on his project.
We're going to drop a "Best Of" mixtape to remind everyone of
all the classic records he's been on. He's got so many classic songs.
Nature is another one that really deserves the spotlight and deserves
another chance. I think he's incredible. We have a huge amount of songs
together. We'll probably do that. Whoo Kid said he'd be down to do a new
Nature mixtape. With us doing one and Whoo Kid doing one, hopefully that
will be a big step in getting him another deal.
I think so.
He's definitely been gone for so many years that he has to start fresh
again. He has to get reintroduced to this new generation. A lot of these
young cats don't know who he is. Nore wanted to sign him, 50 was talking
about doing something, Jadakiss has called him up to do joints, Cam has
called him for songs, Fat Joe wanted to sign him
basically all the
rappers love him. It gets fucked up in the politics and when labels say
he doesn't have a buzz. Rappers love him. I think it's going to go down
either way because the music speaks for itself. The true Hip Hop heads
know what he can do. After these two mixtapes, everyone's going to become
fans again. He's one of the nicest I've ever worked with.
done joints for a lot of big names, but you stay working with the top-class
of the underground like Nature and Littles. How important is that?
is where it's at. I was born in New York and lived my whole life in New
York. That's what I grew up on. I love N.W.A and Ice Cube, but I used
to listen to the Stretch and Bobbito show. I was involved in the battles
and open mics, Tragedy was the first to really put me out in the Queens
scene. He heard my beats and the love he showed me, I was able to branch
out and get with Littles and Havoc. Now I'm doing something with Cormega.
We have to
bring the whole New York scene back. I know it sounds generic, but it's
true. I know DJ's have to keep their jobs, but the New York shit is where
it started and we're supposed to be ahead of the pack and we're not even
getting a chance for people to hear our stuff. I think it will come back.
Once Raekwon drops, the shit is going to be over. You have to be allies
with everybody. That's what it's really about. At the end of the day,
it's a war. Everything's competitive. You never know who's going to be
a bridge to another person, so I stay in touch with everybody and I try
to help everyone I can. That's how I see who's real and who's not. I've
done a lot for some people and then they catch amnesia once they caught
a break. I'm not going to change my ways. What goes around comes around.
I'm not going to change my nature. I'm just going to do what I do. I've
gotten this far, so I must be doing something right.
loyalty in today's game?
Everybody wants to be a boss and no one wants to answer to anyone. You're
supposed to be a soldier. People don't want to look like they're taking
orders from anyone. Most people sell dreams. They'll get a situation and
the people above them are selling a dream to them. It sounds great to
them so they forget everything they did in the past, which got the people
listening. If you're making hits with someone, and someone gets a record
deal out of it, why would you stop working with that person that got you
there? A lot of times people meet new people and they get brainwashed.
Everyone's a dream-seller. I've seen everything. I've been an artist and
I've been a producer. As a rapper, I've had dreams sold to me by producers
and as a producer, I've had dreams sold to me by rappers. I've been on
all sides of it and seen how things go down, and now words aren't shit
to me. Actions speak louder than words. I care about results. I don't
want to hear about the efforts you made, because it doesn't add up. I
know what these artists are going through and what they're being told.
When you see them brainwashed, you just have to let them learn the hard
way. Most will come back to me later. It's happened to me with so many
artists. I've helped so many artists. I give them studio sessions and
I just show love because I enjoy it and love making good music. Then they
get a different situation and their phone changes. I'm getting my business
on point now. My track record speaks for itself. If you want to do this
now, we have to have more than a verbal agreement because I don't trust
people. Venom's been my best friend since we were fifteen years-old. I
don't have to worry about him jerking me.
Jae Millz' first big hit, and now you're not on the album. Is that messed
still cool. Me and Millz made about a dozen records, and about five of
them were leaked. "Born and Raised" and "No, No, No"
did real well. I definitely think I helped him a lot, but he helped me
a lot too. He's changed labels so many times that songs become old and
the label may own the song. I talked to him two days ago because he needs
some new beats. He's nice as hell. The whole label game is crazy and I
feel what he's going through. A lot of labels are scared to drop New York
artists because New York artists aren't selling right now. Fat Joe didn't
even go gold, Cassidy didn't go gold
that's why labels are scared
to drop artists from New York. But getting back to Millz, I definitely
deserve a slot on the album. That's my homie though, and we're still going
to do more music.
of people say that New York rappers are the same. Do you see a lot of
differences between the new artists on the come up?
very different. Some artists remind me of other artists, but you can't
deny talent. That whole punch-line shit is getting old right now, even
though I love to do it. Right now, people want to hear that life shit,
and New York rappers are really starting to bring back that life shit.
That's why people want to hear Saigon and Nas. Now Papoose is touching
on issues. A lot of New York rappers have freestyles and their topics
are the same. Maybe they should look into writing stuff with more depth
because I think that's what gets more attention.
your track with 50 Cent come about?
actually in his movie. The song is "Father Forgive Me." It was
in the last scene of the movie. I learned the hard way not to count your
chickens before they're hatched. In the 11th hour, Dr. Dre didn't have
a song in the film and Jimmy Iovine wanted a Dre song, so it got taken
out. It's crazy. It's going to go on the "Get Rich or Die Trying"
are able to pick out your sound now. Is that a good or bad thing?
At least that means you made a statement in the game. At the same time,
it's not always a good thing. It makes me want to reinvent myself and
try different things outside the box. I might play someone thirty beats,
and they may take beats that I don't like. You have your misdemeanors
and your felonies. You feel like your felonies can go through the roof,
and someone may pick a misdemeanor or a parking ticket. (laughs) It may
come out wack, but that's because they picked the wrong beat. If you don't
take my hottest shit, that's on them. It's not always on the producer.
I don't really care. Maybe I should care more. I have some beats that
are crazy and real left-field, but people are scared to take those chances.
If they want to play it safe, that's on them, as long as I get my money.
I'm learning how to play the guitar, we're setting up a studio this summer,
and we're going to really get crazy with the live instruments. Up to now,
it's been my MP, turntables, and keyboards. I see what you can do with
live musicians and we're going to do some things.
had problems with sample clearances?
Some of my biggest records had samples and it messed up some business.
The listeners don't care as long as it sounds hot. Once I did the keyboard
shit for Lloyd Banks and Black Rob, I saw where the money was at. It doesn't
sound as organic as the sample shit because that's the vintage Hip Hop
sound. I go back and forth. I'm into chopping samples. I don't like giving
up some of my publishing. Samples can be a problem but samples can also
get you on the radio and get people talking about you.
your main focus right now?
My main focus
now is to just bang out some more tracks. I'm really trying to get this
money and continue to make some hot music. I'm really trying to push this
Venom project. I'm working with a bunch of people right now. I'm just
trying to get these beats off and find distribution for Beast Music. I
have so much talent around me and access to so many artists, so when it's
time for me to drop an album, I could get verses from a huge variety of
artists. I'm looking for that company to drop Beast Music and drop my
album. I'm going to keep my name out there and keep my music out there.
Vin the Chin and I are going to hit the mixtape scene again. That helped
a lot when we were dropping mixtapes. Justo, Rest in Peace, always showed
love. We were nominated two years in a row for best mixtape producers.
We're going to get back in the mixtape world and showcase a lot of stuff
that DJ's aren't playing but people need to hear it. I was working with
Saigon and Millz before they got their deals. Right now, I got a lot of
dudes that I think are the next breed and they can come to me to hear
it first. I'm definitely excited about that.
you want to say to everyone?
me and things look a lot differently behind the scenes. Be careful before
you pass judgment. We're all working hard and trying to get money and
make good music. Check for Beast Music and Veneno. Check for everyone
I mentioned in this interview. Check me at myspace.com/scramjonesmusic
will also be up soon. Let's try and make some good music.