King Cruz

Interview: MMG's Scrilla Is Making Boss Moves To Live Up To 'God's Will'

Maybach Music Group's latest signee preps the world for his new EP God's Will.

Andre “Scrilla” Scott felt his excitement mounting as he walked off the plane upon arriving in New York City last month. During Rozay’s recent promo run, Scrilla rolled with the MMG label CEO as he spent the weekend rubbing elbows with the likes of Funkmaster Flex while celebrating the release of Rozay’s ninth studio album Rather You Than Me. For the mainstream rookie, things like jet lag have already become a thing of the past. After spending numerous weeks traveling alongside the Maybach Musi camp across the country while taking mental notes on how to carry himself just like the bawse, the Broward kid has absorbed plenty of beneficial pointers from his current mentor.

“The travelling is pretty much preparing me for the road myself,” said Scrilla. “I get to see all the do’s and the don’ts early in the game. When it’s time for me to go on the road, there will be certain things I can adjust to opposed to just coming into the game without any type of experience.”

Scrilla has nearly a decade of experience under his belt, but has been working to forecast right time to take in the shine of his own talented beam. Not long after dropping his 2014 mixtape I’m A Trustory Doe, Rozay officially signed him to MMG. After earning his new spot next to plattinum artists, he worked effortlessly to surpass everyone’s expectations by making the recording studio his new home. No apartment was really needed in all reality.

READ: Rick Ross Returns With Sam Sneak & Scrilla On “Supa Cindy”

Within the past year, the Hollywood, FL native garnered new fans with street heavy tracks like “Scrillmatic” and “Supa Cindy,” featuring Rick Ross and Sam Sneak. His breakthrough single “Fork In The Pot” spread all over radio stations around the nation, and landed on MMG’s 2016 mixtape Priorities 5. Scrilla also recently added track 12 off Rather You Than Me , “Triple Platinum,” to his growing list of impressive performances.

“At first, when Rozay gave me the beat, the idea was already there,” Scrilla says about the record. “I listened to it a few times, and then I went in the studio. I sat there and kind of zoned out honestly. I sat there and I thought about it. Me and the homie Safe had a collaborative talk about it in the beginning. Then I rolled around in my car with it and caught a vibe. The moment I caught the vibe I stopped everything I was doing and went straight to the studio to handle business. When I say I dropped everything, I mean I literally dropped everything. I didn’t care if I had to use the bathroom. With all that energy, I did the verse in 15 minutes tops.”

Scrilla knew how his verse sounded, but he didn’t hear the completed song in full until last February when he attended a studio session with Jay Z. During the outing, Ross played several songs off his new album for Hov before he got to “Triple Platinum.” As soon as the Roc Nation CEO looked up with approval, Scrilla didn’t know how to handle it.

“I didn’t even hear the mixed version until we were in L.A.,” said Scrilla. “Rozay played it for JAY Z. That’s the day I really heard it. When he played it, Hov looked up and was like “nice verse.” He said it a couple more times, and I was like “Damn, Hov telling me nice verse. I didn’t even know how to take the moment. I wanted to jump up on the table to do the Harlem Shake or something. I didn’t know what to do. It was a situation to embrace.”

With that kind of inspiration and encouragement, Scrilla refuses to let his momentum die out. Recently, the emcee has been in the studio with the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Meek Mill, Wale, and rising producers like J Manifest to put the finishing touches on his next project God’s Will.

The MMG freshman releases his latest EP on Apr. 24, which is a date will always strike a nerve in his mind and soul. It serves as the anniversary of his young son Kaiti’s death. The sensitive subject still takes a toll on him to this day, however, he’s ready to overcome his struggles as a grieving father and take on new roles as inspirational character for others in similar struggles.

“I think this is one of those releases that the game has been missing. Being an artist that’s been on the rise for so long with notoriety, I haven’t been noticed in the categories that I need to be noticed in like I’ve been overlooked for many years, but at the end of the day I still have to captivate the people.”

Over the weekend (Apr 23), Scrilla applied the lessons he learned from his MMG mentor when he previewed the EP inside Cool J's clothing store in Miami Gardens. DJ Meat played the best of Scrilla's catalog while ice cold bottles of Belaire Rose made their way around the room. Scrilla made a humble entrance and gave thanks to everyone who helped him get to where he is today. He discussed each record with host Shaheem Reid, and even offered up the meaning behind the unique album cover.

"That's a child from the Liberian projects," Scrilla explained. "From apartments filled with two million roaches, seven million rats, and a bunch of ratchet ass people. In the face of that child is just pain. That thorn is blocking everything he's trying to get out of. But he's got that one finger up for one chance at life. The big gold cuban links symbolize... kiss my ass."

Instagram post by $crillDoubleM * Apr 17, 2017 at 5:25pm UTC

745 Likes, 30 Comments - $crillDoubleM (@scrillammg) on Instagram: "Just A Few Days Away. 4/24/17 😡 #GodsWill"

Scrilla's latest EP God's Will is available everywhere.

God's Will

Maybach Music Group's newest artist Scrilla signed by Rick Ross with a Jay-Z co-sign drops his anticipated debut EP God's Will.

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25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

The female voice in hip-hop has always been present whether we've noticed it or not. The late Sylvia Robinson birthed the hip-hop music industry with the formation of Sugar Hill Records (and fostering "Rapper's Delight"), Roxanne Shante's 55 lyrical responses to fellow rappers were the first diss tracks and Missy Elliott's bold and striking music and visuals inspired men and women in the game to step outside of their comfort zones.

These pillars and many more have allowed the next generation of emcees to be unapologetically brash, truthful and confident in their music. Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy and Nicki Minaj's Queen might've been the most mainstream albums by womxn in rap this year, but there was a long list of creatives who brought the noise like Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, Noname and Bbymutha. Blame laziness or the heavy onslaught of music hitting streaming sites this year, but many of the artists on this list have hibernated under the radar for far too long.

VIBE decided to switch things up but also highlighting rap albums by womxn who came strong in their respectively debut albums, mixtapes, EPs. We also had to give props to those who dropped standout singles, leaving us wanting more.

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VIBE / Nick Rice

10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

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Stacy-Ann Ellis

NEXT: Intent On Impact, Kiana Lede Is Ready To Leave Her Mark

After learning The Alphabet Song as a little girl, Kiana Lede would always “get in trouble” for singing during class. “My mom was like, ‘why can't you focus?’” she laughs while reminiscing on her career’s formative years. “I was like, ‘I don’t know! Songs are just playing in my head all the time!’”

Whilst sitting in a shoebox-sized room at Midtown Manhattan’s Moxy Hotel on a humid September day, the now- 21-year-old Arizona-bred R&B songbird, actress and pianist speculates that she “may have had ADD.” However, she settles down after taking off her white cowboy boots and flops down on the ivory-clothed bed, demonstrating that her fiery Aries energy can be contained. Cool as a cucumber, Lede shuffles between chewing on banana candies and blowing smoke rings after taking drags from a pen, all while musing about her journey to becoming a Republic Records signee.

“I just grew up singing and doing musical theater, and reading a lot of books, and playing piano way too much in my room by myself,” she says, pushing her big, curly brown hair out of her face. Her expressive green eyes widen as she grins. “It was my thing. Nobody in my family does music, just me.”

After winning Kidz Bop’s 2011 KIDZ Star USA talent contest at 14 (which her mother secretly entered her into), Lede was signed to RCA Records. She was released from her contract and dropped from the label three years later. However, thanks to guidance and friendship from the Grammy-winning production duo Rice N’ Peas, (who’ve worked with G-Eazy, Trevor Jackson, and Bazzi), she released covers of songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while working to get her groove back. The latter rendition resulted in Republic Record’s Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman flying her out and signing her to his label.

“I got a second chance, which a lot of people don't get,” she reveals. “So I'm really happy that that all happened. I wouldn't be here right now in this room if that didn't happen.”

Thanks to the new opportunity she was given, Lede’s sound has evolved into something she’s proud of—equal parts soul, R&B and bohemian. As evidenced by the aforementioned ensemble, glimmers of each aesthetic can be found when observing her personal style as well. She released her seven-song EP Selfless in July, which features the bedroom-ready “Show Love” and “Fairplay,” which manages to fit in the mainstream R&B vein while also showcasing her goosebump-inducing vocals. The remix of the latter features MC A$AP Ferg. What pleases her most is that it not only garnered a favorable response from fans, but that those listeners found it so relatable.

“As an artist, it's really nerve-wracking for someone who writes about such personal things all the time,” she says. “Just the fact that it is my story… It's good to know that other people know that there's somebody on their side, and they're not the only ones going through it. A lot of people obviously feel this way, and have been through this same thing that I've been through. So I think that's cool.”

Although she moved to various places as a Navy serviceman’s daughter, Lede claims Phoenix as home. This means she hails from the same stomping grounds as rockers Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. However, growing up in a mixed race household gave way to tons of sonic exploration outside of the rock-heavy scene.

“My dad's black, and both of my parents are from the East Coast,” she says of her musical and ethnic upbringing (she’s black, Latina and Native American). “[My parents] listened to a lot of R&B. My mom listened to a lot of SWV, TLC, Boyz II Men. I didn't realize I knew the songs until I got older. I played a charity show with T-Boz, and I was like 'why do I know these songs?'” Lede also says her father was a fan of neo-soul and gangsta rap, but she personally believes the early-2000s was the best time for music.

“[That era] influences a lot of my music subconsciously, and also, singer-songwriter stuff,” she continues. “I listen to a lot of early-2000s music because I played piano most of my life. I listened to Sara Bareilles, John Mayer.”

An open book, Lede details some of her struggles with anxiety and depression with the utmost candor. After being dropped from RCA, her trust in people diminished, and she experienced long bouts of depression after being sexually assaulted by someone in the industry. The track that she feels most deeply about is “One Of Them Days,” which tackles these issues head-on.

“When I'm anxious and depressed, it's really hard to be happy,” Lede says. “Most of the time, I can do it, but there are just some days where I literally can't separate the anxiety, and I can't tell anybody why, because I don't really know why myself… I was feeling very odd that day, didn't even know if I could write a song. Hue [Strother], the guy who I wrote the song with, he was like 'I totally get you. Lots of people go through this.’’’

As we’ve observed in headlines recently, mental health and being honest about life’s trickier situations can help someone going through the same thing, and Lede hopes her music provides encouragement to those who are struggling. As for how she’s learning to push through her mental health roadblocks, she meditates, runs, and is an advocate for therapy, especially in Trump’s America, where harrowing news reports dominate the cycle.

Another hallmark of Kiana Lede’s personality is her bleeding heart for others. She cites women of color, sexual assault victims and the homeless youth specifically as individuals she feels most responsible to help, since she is personally connected to all three. While she’s aiming to create a project that helps homeless youth specifically, she’s working hard this holiday season to ensure that they have a place to stay “at least for the night” after horrific wildfires displaced many individuals in California.

“My passion is really people. Music is just a way that I can get to helping people,” she says with a grin. “Helping people emotionally and physically are both very important. I never want to stop helping people. I feel if other people can respect me, and I can respect myself, then I'll be happy. Happiness is all that we strive for.”

Recently, Lede played her first headlining solo show, a one-night event at The Mint in Los Angeles. While she was thrilled to see that the show sold-out, she was even happier to see the faces of her audience members, who she said ‘looked like [her].’ “Mixed girls, brown girls, black girls, gay boys,” she explains over-the-phone. Even though she wasn’t in person to discuss her latest huge accomplishment, you could hear the pride and joy through her voice.

As for the future of her career, she’s looking forward to more acting roles. You may recognize her from the first season of MTV’s Scream, and after her recent Netflix series All About The Washingtons with legendary MC Rev Run was cancelled, she has been “reading for auditions” and is “negotiating” for a role in a film set to shoot in NYC. While her time with the Run-DMC frontman was brief, she says he taught her about the importance of “not compromising your art for money.”

What Kiana Lede is most excited about, of course, is making music. She hopes to work on a new EP and then release an album after that. The ultimate goal is to fully realize the dreams in her personal and professional life, and she assures she’s just getting started.

“I want to be able to look back on my career and think 'man, I really poured my heart into this music, and made music that mattered, and made music that made people feel a certain way, whether it's bad, good, sad, anxious, whatever it may be.’”

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