Young Scooter Talks New Album, Shooting A Movie, And Weird Rappers

During the early stages of hip-hop, many artists delivered gripping, socio-political songs about the horrors of drug use. For instance, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, Public Enemy and MC Shan depicted the downside of the dope game with songs like “White Lines,” “Night of the Living Baseheads” and “Jane Stop This Crazy Thing,” respectively. Then, the game flipped when gangsta rappers like Ice T and N.W.A came through with vivid and violent dope boy stories. Following that, groups Geto Boyz., Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep and more gave us real life tales of trappers desperately trying to escape the dope game for the rap game. Not long after Southern Dopeboys Young Jeezy came through with his trap or die mentally that flamed the streets and motivated go-getters to ante up on their hustle. But now it's time for the next generation of ATL's trap scene to really take over the game.

Atlanta's Young Scooter has created his own lane with his southern-trap-a-listic-jug-music. Over thumping backdrops, Scooter spreads the dope dealer's word to trap spots across the world. "A lot of people putting out music for something else. I’m putting out music speaking on the struggle and what’s going on today. I’m not even really worried about nothing else," Scooter tells VIBE.

He continues, "If you want to make money, listen to me. If you don't want to make money, don't listen to me."

Scooter's laser sharp focus on Dead Presidents comes from the agony and torture of being broke. "Being broke, that’s the worst struggle that you gon’ go through," Scooter says. After a few stints in jail, Scooter was a witness to his childhood friend, Future, becoming a star. With the same goal in mind, Scooter found his flow with the release of Street Lottery and established himself as one of Atlanta's hottest rising street rappers. Since then, his die-hard hustle has garnered him a loyal fan base and co-signs by hip-hop heavyweights such as Bun B, Cam'ron, Future, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, Jeezy and more. With his debut album, Count Music, set to drop in March and a movie in the works, Scooter is ready to take Juuging to new heights.

VIBE caught up with the 30-year-old MC to discuss his forthcoming album, rappers getting old, why he doesn't open up for other rappers and much more.

VIBE: What sparked the idea about your movie?
Scooter: I’ve been wanting to do it. Being in jail, you ain’t got time to do nothing but think. ‘Cause the walls ain’t gon’ move.

What's the movie about?
We ain’t finished with it yet. It’s really just based on the streets. Just mainly hustling. If you listen to "Columbia," my whole music is around the streets. Hector (Hector is the title of Scooter's movie), the name by itself means something. To me it’s gon’ be one of the craziest dope boy movies to ever come out.

Are you working with screenwriters?
I wrote the whole script myself.

How long did it take?
No time. Like I told you, you got 24-hours and in Georgia you ain’t leaving that jail. You gon’ be right in there. It wouldn’t take you a month to write two movies.

Do you have a release date?
I want to release it close to the summer. Or around March or April.

Are there any actors in the movie that we'd know?
I got Future and Waka in there. But no actors that you’d know.

You haven't been rapping that long, since 2008?.
Yeah, I started rapping in like '08. I got into rap by being with Future. Future was rapping when we was in high school. He worked to get to where he at and that motivated me. He a street nigga’ himself. We ran in the same neighborhood everyday. For him to go all the way up made me say, ‘Damn, I might need to do the same thing.’

You make it sound easy.
Nah, it can go both ways. They gon’ either like your music or they ain’t. It’s gon’ take a long time for people to really like your music. Folks think it’s easy, but it ain’t really that easy.

Talk about some of those obstacles.
You know how people just add people on the tour and they say, ‘Ok, you gon’ open up for him.' You gon’ go out here open up and these folks don’t know your songs. So they just really standing there looking at you. I never did that. I don’t do that. I ain’t doing it.

That's interesting.
If you gon’ bring me out then we’ll do it. If you bring a person out into your show, introduce him to the fans, then it’s different. But, as far as you going out there you gon’ be doing that forever.

You've created your own lane.
I don’t know a rapper out now that rap about money. Well, folks rap about it but mine different.

How so?
A lot of rappers just think about it. I’ve been in the studio with a lot of people, not calling names, but I be like, ‘Damn, bruh, it took you twelve hours to write that verse, is you crazy?’ It be like that. A lot of rappers sit in the studio for weeks and don’t come up with a verse. And they change their verse five times. That let you know right there that it's too much fiction. You thinking about it too much. That’s why I don’t write. If I think about it it ain’t gon’ come out right.

You don't write. Is that how you bang out so much material?
I can do five to ten songs a day. At the end of the day I love the studio ‘cause that’s how I make money.

You're very independent.
It came from the streets. I got the right attitude. I guess it’s just a blessing. I know a lot. I see through stuff.

Like what?
You got to watch these rappers. A lot of older rappers right now, they want to be in the streets so much right now that it’s crazy. They’ve been rappers so long that they feed off what’s coming to them. They don’t know what to say next. They've said everything they can say. If you’ve been rapping for ten, twelve, fifth-teen years you’ve said everything that you can say. You got to pass the torch.

Do you think you’ll ever get to that point?
Nah, I wouldn’t even reach my hand out to do that. When somebody got the upper hand on you, they’ll play with you like that. Like, ‘Oh, yeah he need me.’ But really he waiting on the next song. If I made a hit right now and it was on the radio playing everywhere, they gon’ go jump on it anyway. And, tomorrow everybody gon’ be calling my phone. At the end of the day, every rapper want to be a street nigga. And every street nigga want to be a rapper. That ain’t the situation I’m in but I’m both ways. My music 100 and lot of people rap just to rap and it's sound good. But that’s what this is. This is the entertainment business. So, you gon get a lot weird ol’ rappers.

So, lets get into this album.
I’m dropping Juug Season, but I don’t know if we doing a mixtape or EP. But, my album Count Music is dropping sometime in March.

Who you working with on the album?
Right now, I got Future, E-40, Kid Ink and Waka on the album. On my EP, dropping this month, I got Boosie and Future. That’s it. I got a song with Wyclef too. But we ain't gon' put it out.

Why not?
It ain’t the right time.

Respect. How did you two link?
I seen him at Kay Slay's, and he said that he wanted to work with me. We went to the studio and worked.

You have a lot of songs, what's your favorite song and why?
"Made Threw The Struggle." Soon as I do that song at the shows they go crazy. You know how many people who have struggled? Everybody struggled.

What's the most strenuous struggle that you've encountered?
Locked up with no money, lights off, no money period. I’ve struggled as much as you can.

No doubt. Do your kids know that you're Young Scooter?
He know. He know every word to my songs. It get stressful sometimes. My son is 8-years-old, and I really be there with him. And, it be throwing a twist with me and his mother. My son really want me to be there. This is his first year playing basketball. His momma be on me about that. I got a little girl and she's two.

When was the last time you spoke to Gucci Mane?
It been like a month. But he always good. You know when you went through it before… like I said, them walls ain’t gon’ move. So once you get that time you just got to know how to maintain through the system.

What did he tell you?
He was just telling me to go hard.

Plans for 2015?
I’m doing the Young Scooter foundation. We start it Jan 1. I’m picking like fifteen kids and help them with career. We gon’ pay for all their expenses. I got two kids from Memphis, Some from South Carolina, some from Georgia. We doing this every year. Until I die we gon’ do this.

Darryl (@darry_robertson)

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Premiere: 12-Year-Old Rap Princess That Girl Lay Lay Introduces Tha Slay Gang With Fun "Long Hair" Video

It all started with some freestyle raps in her Dad's car that went viral on social media, now Houston's 12-year-old superstar rapper, Alaya High aka That Girl Lay Lay, is poised to take over the teen market and y'all grown-ups need to watch ya back too!

With an infectious hook game and bars that topple stars, Lay Lay burst onto the scene in 2018 with a crowd pleasing appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. That's the same year she dropped her Tha Cheat Code music project to adoring fans that were clamoring for a full body of work from the energetic artist. Having laid claim to signing a record deal as the youngest female rapper ever to her own label, Fresh Rebel Muzik/EMPIRE, Lay Lay is wasting no time in bringing her girls on this ride with her.

Pushing their first single, "Long Hair," Lay Lay and her two bouncy "Tha Slay Gang" group members, Sweets (hailing from South Carolina) and Sugar (repping North Carolina), are sure to dominate every pre-teen birthday, graduation and youth celebration party from here on out. The uptempo track is fun, super engaging and chorus friendly for the hyper masses. Lay Lay explains, "This is one of my favorite songs because its fun and something everyone can dance to. It’s about my friends 'Tha Slay Gang' and I sticking together, working hard and not getting into any drama! We try to demote bullies, and show the world that working hard pays off.”

The video takes place at a neon'd out roller skating rink, with the ladies leading a group of kids in a lit chant of the vocals and letting off one liners galore like: "I don't want no drama/If you go dumb then I'mma go dumber/hot girl winters and hot girl summers/If you knew me Daddy I'm Balenciaga Momma!" Just got to love the kids.

Check for Lay Lay in national tv commercial campaigns with Old Navy

and Mitsubishi.

So much more is on the way for this uber talented MC.


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Dave J Hogan

New Music Friday: Eminem, Mac Miller, Dreamville And More

Eminem fans were greeted with a pleasant surprise today, with 20 new tracks from the rap legend. But there's plenty of new music this week: Mac Miller fans are left with a final musical memory from him, Dreamville revamped their Grammy-nominated compilation, and Thundercat released a new single with Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington. Look below for today's New Music Friday.

Mac Miller – Circles The passing of Mac Miller in Sept. 2018 was one of the toughest losses that hip-hop has had in years, with the rapper/singer/producer’s kind spirit and immense artistic growth touching the lives of many. Today, his legacy continues with the release of Circles, his first posthumous album. According to a note from his family, Mac was “well into the process” of recording the Jon Brion-produced album, which was meant to be a companion piece to Swimming, the last album he released months before his death. Apple Music | TIDAL

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Che Pope interviews Vincent “Tuff” Morgan, peermusic’s head of A&R urban/pop, on Q&A With Che.

Che Pope Talks ‘Q&A With Che’ Podcast, Kanye West, And Why He Left G.O.O.D. Music

At some point in your career, you want to pay it forward. Regardless of the industry you’re in, there comes a time when you reached a certain level of success and want to groom the next generation with your knowledge and expertise. Che Pope, a Boston native, veteran music producer, songwriter, and former head of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, is in a position to do just that. After spending seven years with G.O.O.D., as well as making music with critically-acclaimed artists like Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre, and The Weeknd, Che Pope has utilized lectures and podcasts to discuss his diverse career, sharing a perspective tailored to young creatives who want some mentoring in their own paths. Pope’s experience allows him to give gems in all aspects of the music business – no matter if you’re an aspiring manager, producer, singer, or artist, he has a piece of advice that can apply to you. 

It’s why he’s finally launching a podcast of his own called Q&A With Che, a HiStudios Original, that’s available on the Himalaya app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more. He describes the show as “Ted Talks with the urban entertainment industry,” using his large network of friends for real conversations on how they made it. The format is more for educational purposes and using the platform to expand his Q&A section of his discussions, with each guest detailing what they do, how their industry works, and their take on the future. Che’s first guest is DMV rapper IDK, who is coming off a major 2019 with his partnership with Warner for his label Clue and the release of Is He Real? 

Speaking with VIBE over the phone, Che explains the genesis of Q&A With Che (the idea came after having a convo with Jay-Z), why IDK was the perfect first guest, his thoughts on Kanye and G.O.O.D. Music, and the books he’s reading today.


VIBE: Q&A With Che is going to be part of HiStudios’ original programming slate. You’re alongside sport personalities that also have podcasts like Mike Tyson, Gilbert Arenas, and Caron Butler. If I did my research, you’re the first “music veteran” with a show on HiStudios. Was podcasting a logical next step in your career?

Che Pope: I think it was important for me to share the information. And just really what’s the best way to? Obviously, the lectures are great. That’s like, ‘Okay, cool. I go to Harvard Business School just so those kids get it.’ This was a way to really share it with a wider audience, with anybody. And I’ve been getting hit up on Instagram or Twitter where people are always asking me tons of questions and this was a way for me [to reach them]. So many people would be like, ‘Hey, can you mentor me?’ I can’t mentor all of them. This was kind of my way of like, ‘OK, I can’t mentor all of you, but I can do this.’ I think that is what really attracted me.

I had a really great conversation with Jay-Z about it and he just loved the idea of it and that really put a battery in my back. Because at one point in time, it was this great idea we had, and just getting caught up in work and [being] busy and not pursuing it. Once I spoke with Jay-Z and he said, ‘This is amazing. You have to do this.’ That really put the battery back, and then partnering with HiStudios and Himalaya, it just really gave me the team I needed to really bring it out there in the manner that I wanted to do, the professional level that I wanted to present it at.

So you were already thinking of podcasting back then. When did that Jay-Z convo happen?

That happened about two years ago in his living room.

How’d the convo go? Were you trying to pitch yourself to Tidal?

No, I actually wasn’t. He said, ‘You know, you’re more than welcome to consider Tidal.’ But he was like, ‘I just think it’s a great idea.’ I wasn’t actually pitching anything. We were just having a business conversation. I guess you could say the next step in my career is not only the podcast, but I also have a start-up. I was just getting business advice and out of that meet, Q&A came up.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the hip-hop podcast landscape. We got everybody from ItsTheReal’s, which you were on. The Joe Budden Podcast. Rap Radar Podcast. Do you see the success of those guys as motivation to reach that level or are they competition?

I don’t think they’re competition. We are really two different things. I’m much more like Ted Talks than I am No Jumper, ItsTheReal, Joe Budden. Although ItsTheReal is a little bit different than Joe Budden. Joe Budden wants to be opinionated, sort of controversial at times and really drive listeners on entertainment. Mine is much more educational focused. Entertaining in the fact that people who are going to be on it cause anyone could be on it. It could be anyone from Diddy to someone you haven’t heard of. I think it is entertaining in that [regard], but it is much more educational than I am trying to entertain you and be controversial and all that kind of stuff.

And I think it's really interesting that you chose IDK as your first guest. He’s coming off his Warner partnership for Clue and his album Is He Real? dropped last year. He’s a younger rapper but he has this business savviness to him. Why did you want to interview him?

That’s specifically why. I built a relationship with the kid cause he was in negotiations at one point and time to sign with G.O.O.D. Music. He is from the DMV area originally, which is where my mom is from. So we kind of made a cool connection a few years back when he was still this independent kid coming up trying to figure it out. But he was far more informed than most artists I meet. He was talking to me about his independent promotion and his marketing plan and things of that nature, which he had written himself. And I was like, ‘Wow, this kid is [incredible].’ When he finally did the deal with Warner, he was just the perfect first guest for me cause he is living what these kids want to do, what many of them want to do. His journey is really a testament to educating and empowering yourself and challenging. He had overcome adversity. He had been in jail before. It built himself up from scratch. Really talented story and his story is just getting started. I think the sky's the limit to where he can go.

Before I let you go, I want to talk about Kanye. You’ve been there since Yeezus. You’ve been there since Cruel Summer. Now, he’s on this new trajectory of dedicating himself to God, releasing Jesus Is King and Jesus Is Born. He’s no longer making secular music and is reportedly done performing solo shows. When you were working with him, did you see any early signs that his artistry was progressing towards this?

No, but I would say the thing with him is he is always evolving. I would say you never know what is next, which is exciting. I couldn’t say I saw this coming, at all. You never know what’s next, I will say that, which is one of the exciting things when working with him, for better or for worse, you know? Whether it was a Trump hat or “slavery was a choice” comment or whatever, or those amazing moments like Yeezus or some of the amazing musical experiences I was apart of. You never knew what was coming and that was exciting. I wish him the best on it. When it was time for me to move on? I wish him the best with it.

You were with G.O.O.D. Music for six and a half years?

Yeah, seven years. Since 2011. I was one of the longest running people that lasted the longest with him [Laughs].

Why did you want to leave?

I think for me it was the next progression in my career. To transition from working with somebody and helping them build their stuff to building my own company. I am building a music incubator, start-up. It was really sort of the next progression in my career. I had to take that step as a business owner. And that takes a lot of work, a lot of focus, and a lot of commitment, you know? It’s one of those things. They say that saying, ‘if it was easy, everybody could do it?’ It’s not easy.

You once described your role at G.O.O.D. with Noah Goldstein as “getting shit done.” Now that Pusha-T has taken the role as president, what do you think of his “term” so far?

I think Pusha-T is an artist, and I think he has aspirations of his own label. I don’t know what’s going on with G.O.O.D. Music. It’s kind of like in…what’s the word when something is in suspended in time? Desiigner left the label. I know 070 [Shake] is putting her album out, but that’s more Def Jam. I don’t think there’s really a G.O.O.D. Music focus there.

I think Kacy Hill isn’t there either, right?

Yeah, Kacy Hill left. I do think they still have some artists. I know Teyana is active. I don’t really know much about what’s going on these days at G.O.O.D. Pusha-T is one of my favorite artists, and I think he’s still focused on Pusha-T. I don’t know what his involvement is with the label at all or a day-to-day basis or if he’s still involved at all. 

I think that means we’re going to see something major happen. Big Sean still has his album coming out, so maybe something like that.

Yeah. Big Sean’s coming. I’m sure Pusha’s coming. I know 070 Shake’s album is amazing. I’ve heard it so I’m excited for her because I know it’s a long time coming and she’s great. She’s gonna be on the Swedish House Mafia project as well. I think she could really be one of the next, big young artists.

I saw that books are your thing. What are you reading now?

As far as this year, I want to read as many as I can. I have different people that turn me onto books. You never know what someone is going to refer. Right now, I am reading Ben Horowitz’s new book What You Do Is Who You Are. I think Ben is just a brilliant guy and the fact that he loves hip-hop too, which is really cool. Anytime he drops a book, I try to get it.

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