#Mixxclusive: @DJScream talks Atlanta being “Black Hollywood” and Progression of Music Production

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DJ Scream 1

DISCLAIMER: Atlanta’s “A3C Music Festival and Conference” 2015 is finally here. All-3-Coast has prospered significantly over the years into one of the biggest music festivals in the south. So it’s only right to highlight and pay homage to Atlanta in an exclusive interview with the sensational Atlanta-based disc jockey, DJ Scream.

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From hipsters to trappers, instrumentalist to 808-beat-makers and Fruity Loops users, Atlanta has evolved into a mecca of musical makings.  No longer is the capital city only home to trap and gangster rap…DJ Scream has laid the law down and declared Atlanta something more than that – a city that’s special, well as Scream put it himself, Atlanta is “The Black Hollywood.”

The Mixx Magazine sat down and gained knowledge about the A-T-L scene with rap-icon DJ Scream; we picked his brain about where Atlanta was decades ago when he first got into the game, to today. Check it out below.  Krista Hayes

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“Don’t get caught up in telling someone else’s story.” – DJ Scream

You’ve been a major moving force in the Atlanta hip-hop/rap scene for over a decade now, from the D4L/Young Dro/Shawty Lo/Crime Mob movement, to Rocko… all the way up to the Scotty/Migos/Future wave we’re riding now…what do you predict, or what would you like to see as the future of the Atlanta music scene?

Aw yeah, that’s a tough first question! What I try to tell people about Atlanta, and I’ve definitely been blessed to be apart of all of those guys careers,  especially from an earlier point of their careers, people need to understand is when you come to a place like this: the culture, the vibe, the atmosphere creates this music we give to the world. Back when BET’s 106 & Park was around, ever since the first episode, we were always three, four, five videos in. When you look at Billboard charts now, look at the top 20 when it comes to urban music, no matter if it’s rap or R&B, even if artists aren’t necessarily from here, they recording here. There’s just a certain vibe that comes with Atlanta and it’s one of the only places where there is some kind of party, seven days a week. The strip club is literally open seven days, almost 24 hours a day! So on a party level, a lot of artists are inspired by the culture and the atmosphere Atlanta gives off. There’s a lot of love here, and the future of the scene here is constantly changing. But we always keep up. People come here for opportunity, it’s Black Hollywood. 

What do you see in certain artists that let’s you know they will, you know, be big in the underground scene then eventually, or hopefully, big in the mainstream world as well?

Yeah, most definitely. The first thing, off top is to really have a passion for it. I say right behind that, with that passion comes the work ethic. When I reflect on so many of the artists that you named that I have worked with before, they had a serious passion for what they do. When you look at 2 Chainz, Future…Waka, Gucci…you know the list goes on, these guys LIVED in the studio.  Again, we have a crazy lifestyle here with the parties, clubs and the strip clubs, people were still confined in the studio because they were making good music, delivering something special to the people of the world. So you definitely have to have passion, work ethic and you most definitely have to be innovative. 

I think that the biggest thing, is when a new person comes along – regardless of where they come from, and not just in music, a new style, a new name, a new kind of flow or sound, that’s when you can really tell, that’s when you know they’ve got something special. For example, Future and Migos. It’s something new. Their style is new, they way they dress and talk is new, and that comes from Atlanta just having so many different flavors because we have different sides – the east side, the west, north, you know what I’m saying? That’s really it. Just bringing something new to the table.

Last – telling your own story. I say this a lot when I speak on panels – don’t get caught up in telling someone else’s story. Everyone can’t sell drugs. Everyone can’t push big, luxury cars and wear big chains.  Some people are broke and are struggling. Tell YOUR story. Your story will engage the listeners and the fans even more because they’re more likely to relate to you. People like it. It’s refreshing. 

A lot of hip hop heads say Gucci Mane is the Godfather of the Atlanta rap scene and basically laid the foundation of successful rappers today, like Migos, Future, Waka, Young Thug etc. Do you agree?

Aw, absolutely. Gucci is HUGE here, almost praised. There’s this photo or video footage floating around before he was incarcerated, Gucci is in the studio with Young Dolph, Migos, Young Scooter, man it was so many new school artists, I don’t want to misquote it, but he was in the studio with a lot of people, Pee-wee Longway was in there, and when Gucci got incarcerated – literally all these people blew up. And it’s crazy because when he called me while these kids were blowing up, he was like “yo, I did a lot of these mixtapes!” Like the Pee-Wee Longway mixtape, Gucci confidently said “Hey Scream, I got all the new hot sh**, I want you you to be apart of all of this!” And I was just like, “Okay, Gucci” (heavy laughs)…Gucci is the type of person that doesn’t like to wait around! He works fast!  With him introducing the world to artist like Waka and OJ Da Juiceman, you kinda gotta take what he says seriously because he’s brought so much to the table.

Being a street A&R myself, you kinda just know when someone  has what it takes to be great, and Gucci is good at that.

I can’t wait till he comes home. 

(here is where I, the interviewer, yelled FREE GU-WOP on the phone and I was expecting a co-sign…lol but I think I sounded rather corny.*sideeye*)

Everyone is familiar about the hood Atlanta movement, it’s been steady pacing since TI, Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys, Shawty Lo, Rocko, old Ludacris, up to who we have now – Migos, Hit Boy, OJ Da Juiceman Future, Scotty etc. What about the other side of Atlanta rap – like Outkast, Goodie Mob or kind of that, soul – weird rap. You see anything like that coming up soon or am I overlooking anyone?

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Definitely! I want to take the time to shout out Scotty ATL. He’s an artist from Atlanta, and he just put out a project a few weeks ago that I hosted along with DJ Drama and Mike Mars called “The Cooligan.” He’s something special on his own because he does put you in like, a nostalgic mood, what we like to call “classic Atlanta hip-hop.” My new single features him, Big K.R.I.T…

So you would classify Scotty more on “that side” of the music scene than on the “hood side?”

Yeah, absolutely. The thing is, labels are labels. We put labels on people, and people respect that in the hood, but historically, there’s a lot of instrumentation in music; his music is a little different. Some records and producers over at my company, HOODRICH, some will give you the greatest, and the best 808s in the world, and it’s gonna make women want to dance and dudes jump up and down, but at the very same time, a very intricate record of ours, for examples, the very successful “U.O.E.N.O.” by Rocko – it was intricately produced because if you listen to the beat, the beat was made for a hipster track. But it became a trap anthem. Rocko/Ross and Future are like the dream team of records, so – going back to Scotty, he has that nostalgic, hipster feel but at the same time, he has strip club records as well and people respect Scotty in the hood. Just go listen to Cooligan and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The new Atlanta, it’s very integrated. I mean listen to Maco, he’s very hipster. Take his record “U Guessed It” to the club though, everyone goes crazy, hipster or trap star. New Atlanta is merging. The hipsters and trapsters are kind of merging, and they get along. It’s like “hey, I know you wear funny jeans and backpacks and vans and I rock forces and and fitted, but let’s do some music together.” That’s another beautiful thing about Atlanta.

What do you think the Atlanta rap scene is missing?

I definitely have a concern when it comes to originality. You just have to be original. There’s a lot of baby Future’s. And the point I’m trying to make to everybody, mainly artists, is that it’s okay to have melody in music, it’s okay to be inspired, we’re all inspired. Music is a big inspiration from way back when people were just beating on drums. People just need to strive and do better in order to deliver a different sound. 

LOVE “Grippin’ Grain.” I’ve been a hardcore fan of 8ball since Livin’ Legends, Scotty is a friend of mine; I interviewed him a few years ago for this same magazine, and BIG K.R.I.T. is simply put: just fine, so by default, he’s amazing. What did you enjoy most about creating this track?

It was just so organic, man. You know, I separated myself from Atlantic Records, in good faith, we still have a great relationship, so shout out to them, I’m still affiliated with MMG, shout out to Ross, that’s the homie, but when I got out of that situation, even the people around me were like “so what do you want to do now?” There’s so many trap records and so many club bangers, this that and the other, so you know what, I decided  I wanted to take a second and put out something that Scream actually wants to put out. Now, my partner fanbase may agree or disagree; and it’s a risk – but being artistic is all about taking risks. The authenticity of linking up with Corey Moe on this, someone who actually produced for UGK, the legend Pimp C, just talking to Corey, he let me hear the track and let me hear the guitar and I instantly just went back in time, I saw myself in the car listening to The Pimp/UGK, for the record I am a huge fan of the Pimp, I share the same birthday as Pimp C… but I just wanted to do this and it was very natural. From the guitar, to KRIT doing his thing, to 8Ball doing his thing, and shortly there after, we were just like let’s not even  do a treatment for a video, let’s just go get some cars and just kick it. Everyone was just with it, and the feedback from our core audience was initially dope – this is good for the end of the summer. That was a great record, and I am in the lab right now working on the EP that hopefully is going to come out as soon as possible. Just some real good instrumentation on this track. 

Instrumentation? 

Instrumentation. When I first built a relationship with Ross, I told him “you be spittin'” and he was just like that’s just the instruments, man. Maybach Music is just kind of known for instruments: snares, drums, trumpets, etc., the music he did with JUSTICE League. Certain music – let’s just say you haven’t had any sleep, and you just hear a beat or a song and you wake up! You’re like wow I am wide awake! That’s instrumentation. It just brings you a different vibe. If you follow music, you know what the reaction is when you play The Parliment and George Clinton, the instruments are just crazy! I am not saying that everyone’s music needs to be this long, drawn out Roots album, but try some instrumentation! Try the flute. Try a guitar, try a piano, it’s all dope. 

How have you been able to keep the HOODRICH movement so relevant for all this time?

I think that the biggest thing is that everyone that’s involved, their work ethic comes from the heart. So many people come up to me, in the airport, the gas station, any where and tell me they want to be down with HOODRICH. And I’m like “why?” Is it because you think it looks cool? Do you really know the hard work that goes behind this? We’ve taken our time – and shout out to my partner who helped me start this company, but we took our time to hand pick just really dope people who contribute to the success of this business. Our people love this and understand what it’s like to be in the music industry, the sacrifices and the progression to build the brand. We made that decision over a decade ago – it’s like a marriage – for better or worse. 

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If you had to pick between the Yeezys and the OVO’s, which would you pick?

Hmmmmmmmmm. I’m gonna go with, with The Yeezy’s. And I actually exited the hype beast wave this year, lol I don’t own a pair of Yeezy’s or OVO’s, man I don’t want to make 100 phone calls for sneakers! I stick with my OGees and the kicks I’ve paid hundreds of dollars for. Hahahahaha – not going to lie when I first saw the Yeezy’s I did not like them at all! I was like “what is this UGG?” (I am CRYING laughing, f-t-r) What is this? What are thhooose? Then I snapped back, looked at it, then I began to appreciate it and there’s nothing like them, and I still want them. Not to short the OVO’s at all, but I’m definitely for The Yeezy’s.

Dirty Sprite II or What A Time To Be Alive?

I would go with DS2. The intro is just, just. It’s just amazing. Not taking away from anything else, but the intro was impeccable and a great cultural move, and I am still riding to it. DS2 puts a smile on my face, and working with Future on his first project, and seeing where he is now, and how hard he worked, for the world to finally get it, means a lot. Even after he put out the Honest album, he had some frustrations, he didn’t know what the people wanted from him, what they didn’t want – to the point where he was just like you know what – I’m going to do what I want to do.  And it worked. DS2. The intro. 

Any shout-outs?

Shout out to the producer’s, my core fan base, shout out to HoodRich Radio – on Hot 107.9 in Atlanta on Sunday nights and on Sirius/XM – Hip Hop Nation on Wednesday nights!

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Show love to DJ Scream social media outlets and web-sites below:

Twitter: @DJScream

Instagram: DJScreamTV

Facebook: HoodRich Scream

Web-site: http://djscreamtv.com

The Mixx Magazine

Twitter: @TheMixxMagazine

Web-site: www.TheMixxMagazine.com 

determined to see my name in the credits and take home an award. Dassit.