Producer's Corner: Scoop Deville
The 22 year-old producer for Fat Joe's "Ha, Ha" and Snoop Dogg's "I Wanna Rock" describes his rise, and his GBC group with Apathy and Ryu, and father, Kid Frost
It's hard to believe Scoop Deville is just 22 years old. However, the excitement in his voice as he explains his triumphs reveals a young man's hunger. During his phone conversation with HipHopDX, the West Coast-based knob twister behind heaters like Snoop Dogg's “I Wanna Rock” and Fat Joe's “Ha Ha” and “No Problems” was ecstatic. He name-dropped current and future collaborators (DJ Khaled, Clipse, Fat Joe, and more) like he was spitting a Game verse. Moreover, you can hear Scoop grinning from ear to ear when talking about his Get Busy Committee trio of himself, Apathy and Ryu; and he beams with pride when talking about being the successor of his father, Latin rap legend Kid Frost.
Like Alchemist, Nottz and DJ Premier before him, read how this heavy-hitter balances big budget Pop records with a love for the underground, and a deep loyalty and respect for family and friends.
HipHopDX: You're in the studio right now, right? What are you working on?
Scoop Deville: I was working on some shit for [DJ] Khaled. That shit was dope. He hit me up, saying he wants to get it in for his new project, so we're trying to wrap that up. I also finished like three records with Busta Rhymes, and we dropped that N.O.R.E. single which is popping in the clubs. I'm still working with Clipse, Fat Joe, Snoop [Dogg]...it's a good thing.
Once you have something hot, everyone is at the door hitting you up. It's like the reverse affect of what I used to do. I used to hit up everybody grinding, like “Yo, hear this.” But now, it's cool because people are getting at me for work. Ever since I signed my deal with Cobalt, they pretty much hook me up with artists, and it's a cool thing. We try to spread out. The east coast seems to be loving the records a lot, so I'm going to work with that kind of style. I have so many records I'm going to drop. The Bus' record is going to be insane, oh my goodness.
DX: What's the role reversal like, to go from the one hitting them up to being hit up?
Scoop Deville: It's a crazy feeling; it's more work now. It's what I wanted and now that I have it, I want to stay on top of it and always stay ahead of the game. More and more people are getting at me, and more and more business opportunities. I was working with my group the Get Busy Committee in Connecticut for three weeks. We've got Bus' on our album. It works hand in hand. I've been working with Method Man & Redman, DMX—I heard he got out [of jail], I hope he doesn't go in, but I'm really looking forward to working with him. I sent him records right before he went back in, and he was like, “Yo, man, we need to do some records.” It's just crazy to be able to say you're sending beats people like Rihanna, 50 [Cent], Jay-Z, everybody. … So many things are happening now. Video game placements. It's Hip Hop, but it's everywhere now. They're asking me to do records with Kelly Clarkston, and that kind of stuff. If I can land a record like that, that will be cool, because I'll be able to do what I want to do, which is Get Busy Committee. People are coming around now; it's not like it used to be, it's a good thing. And I love it.
I'm trying to bring good shit too. Not anything that's going to be like, “It's here and it's gone tomorrow.” I want this to be classic Hip Hop stuff, real big. Everything I said I did, and it's only going to get bigger. Sometimes I go into these meetings, and they don't even know who my father is. So I tell them [that I'm Kid Frost's son], and they're like, “Are you serious?” I talk with my pops all the time, about the business and how it was way different back then. So I got to see everything on a big level. It never was small; he was gone to Europe, Japan, everywhere. I've always been around the music game, so I kind of just soaked all that in.
DX: You said that you want to make classic Hip Hop shit, but sometimes, situations with major companies don't prompt classic shit. They just prompt music for the moment. How do you continue to make classic shit, while continuing to satisfy your company?
Scoop Deville: If these are big records that are going to be out for the public, it might as well have something to the real form to what it is. It's not anything that's substantial; everything either sounds the same, or not really what everybody else would cater to. In a perfect world, I'd say I want to do what I want to do. If I could land one big record and continuously put out [“classic” Hip Hop] records like that? [DJ] Premier did a piece of Christina Aguilera's [Back To Basics] album, and it was definitely a Hip Hop and Pop base. And Premier is one of the rawest, greatest producers of all time. So you can't knock the hustle, especially at this time of music, because it's a different ballgame. People want the sound, and if they're willing to pay top dollar for it, why not? Get the paper, let's go.
But everything else is good. That's why I got my own group, and I have artists I'm going to put out myself, and I continue to put things out and work with all kinds of things. And I'm also an artist myself. We're performing, doing shows, touring, we dropped an album, and I'm working with Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park. People know I'm not just a Hip Hop producer; I'm a universal dude, I can do anything. I grew up listening to greats like Pete Rock and Premier, then you go up to people like Kanye [West] and The Neptunes, they're doing humongous records. I have all kinds of music instilled in me, dude—'80s, '90s, Classic Rock. A lot of the time, that makes the Hip Hop record to me. The drums, the crack of the cymbals. To me, that's what makes a real Hip Hop record. Sampling, too. I hear tons of samples in everybody's record, and most of the time, those are humongous records. Of course, they do it because it's catchy, and it goes. That's Hip Hop, dude. If that's where it's at right now, I know I can definitely take it and innovate it and make it even cooler for all the young people who are not knowing what's hot. … People say I'm rejuvenating artists, but if the music it's good, it's good.
DX: Snoop's “I Wanna Rock” was the song that really made people pay attention. Do you remember making that beat any differently than your others?
Scoop Deville: I tripped out, because the record to me was so simply made—it was an 808 and a sample. It's a trip that it turned into what it did. It wasn't different at all. When I'm in a mode, I try to keep it as simple and cool as possible. I don't try to overdo anything, and if I do, I'll bring out real violinists and bass players. But as far as doing beats that are simple, I don't try to do too much. It sounds like something you would hear ten years ago, just revamped into a whole new style. Not every record has that sway to it.
DX: You've gotten to play your music for a lot of people that you respect. What's the most memorable feedback you've gotten from someone you respect?
Scoop Deville: I've been around greats my whole life, and I used to get praises from everybody. I used to be around some of the best producers out here. Eazy-E used to call my crib. My pops was doing it at the time, so when I started producing, he took me to go meet Snoop and other people, and it turns out they actually wanted to fuck with me. They were saying to continue to make music, so I didn't stop. The memorable moment when Snoop just walked into the trailer, and he started freestyling and Crip-walking over my beats. He asked “What is this,” and sure enough, it popped off. We were with B-Real, at the “Vato” video. They brought my pops out. For me, it was huge to have that respect. They were like, “We're going to call you, send us records immediately.” He heard me rap that day too, and he started telling people, “Yo, you can really fuckin' rap.” I get a call from Busta like, “Wow, you rap?”
I really don't just do it for any reason. Of course, we all have things we enjoy and get out of it, but it's really a statement. I would continue to do this if I wasn't known. I'm only 22, I'm still learning, and it's just going to get better.
DX: Didn't realize you were only 22...
Scoop Deville: But I've been in this game like I was 50 or 60. my father raised me like crazy. I'm a shark when it comes to business and making stuff happen. I know the right moves to make, paths to not take. I had a lot of good guidance growing up, so to keep some contacts, make new ones, travel, and expand. If I can continue to make this thing pop, it's only going to get bigger.
DX: How did Fat Joe's “Ha Ha” record happen?
Scoop Deville: We were in the studio one late night, like three in the morning. My boy Hector is a deejay who has a studio in LA, we were just flipping through samples. He plays the Soul II Soul ["Back To Life"] acapella, and I'm like, “This is it! I already know how I want to flip it.” I so took it, looped it, threw some drums on it, and I sent it to Joe. They called me right back, like, “This is it, but I want you to get these drums right.” I sent him three versions of the record—we went through the “I Wanna Rock” drums, sampled, breakbeat drums, all kinds of drums. It got to the point where there's this Nas record,“Take It In Blood,” and [Fat Joe] said, “This is the way I want the drums looped.” I said, “Okay, I'm going to put some drums together, make it kind of grimy and make it real loud.” I sent him the way that I did it, and he was like, “Oh my God, this is it!” They flew me out to Miami, we started working on the “No Problems” record, they had the “Flash Gordon” idea, and we sat there for literally eight hours trying to get those records together. Before that, we sat through samples and samples and samples of great shit, great ideas that Joe had and putting me up on music he was on. He's also motivating to be in the studio with; he was literally in my face like a football coach. He'll be like, “I need this record! You can do it! You've got it in you!” And I'm like, “I've got you, Joe. I've got you!” It was funny, but it was an experience and i'm glad to finally be in that situation to be working with these people hands-on in the studio because it's cool to get feedback from the artist in the studio.
DX: You've grown up around stars. One thing I've found is that you have an interesting balance. First of all, you don't buckle under pressure from working with stars—you're able to do your own thing without a problem. But other people who grew up around stars may have the whole, “I grew up around stars, so this is whatever.” You seem to still have the same awe and admiration as someone who didn't grow up in your situation.
Scoop Deville: Well of course I'm starstruck. It's just like any situation. If my pops was chillin', and Prince walked into the room, he's like, “Oh shit, there's Prince.” I have respect for these people, and not only am I fan, but I'd like to make something pop off if I can and if I have something they want. And it's great to get their consent. I think I'm good, and these people are giving me respect because of that reason. And as me being the fan, I was the one buying these guys' records when they came out. All of the people I'm working with, they don't even know, but they were teaching me when they didn't even know who I was.
DX: How did you, Apathy and Ryu meet?
Scoop Deville: We've been friends from the beginning, when I was about 17. One of my boys brought Ryu over; he was in Fort Minor with Shinoda, so that's how I got to meet them. Ryu was good friends with Apathy, and after a while, we were all great friends. Over the years, we produced and helped each other out. But after a while, we would just link together for the hell of it and make fun Hip Hop records. We're all great, raw and talented, and we all bring shit to the table. It's like a supergroup, it's not a half-ass group. I put money on my group, we will shut other groups down. And that's not from an arrogant place, it's just Hip Hop. People say, “You guys diss certain people in your song.” we're like, “We're not hating on these people. We just think you suck.” Get Busy Committee is pretty much, “Who cares? We just make music to have fun.” We're a real funny group, everything is filled with profanity, we don't care what anybody says, and we're not trying to be on TV or radio. But it will be one of the biggest groups to ever hit Hip Hop. I can put money on it.
Being in the studio with artists, you get all types of people. You get the arrogant people who don't give a crap what you do, they're like, “Here, just give me the beat.” Or if you've got stuff, “Your stuff is whatever cool.” Or they don't even listen to it, they take hours to put the CD in. But I've met people that are cool. It goes hand in hand with what we do: we just make music, we're not on that arrogant shit.
We literally went to Connecticut in the middle of nowhere. We were in the woods, 40 miles away from any civilization. The video is going to be all naked girls, a club with people getting sprayed with bottles of champagne. It's going to be the raunchiest, craziest video ever, but it's going to be so classy and professional, you're going to think it's a Jay-Z video. We're just fuckin' up shit; we don't even care no more. Fuck what everybody else is doing, we're on our own shit. We've never changed that for anybody. We were always like, “We're going to continue to do what we do.” But after a while, people caught onto it. I tatted “Get Busy” on my hand; I don't even get tattoos, but the only tattoo is an uzi on my hand that says “GBC” on it.
DX: Apathy and Ryu are both really accomplished artists. But hearing you talk about you guys, it makes me think of that situation where someone succeeds in their career and become famous on a large scale, but always kicks it with his boys and stays grounded by that. Is that the case with you guys?
Scoop Deville: Yeah. It's that, and we're also fans of each others' stuff, so we impress each other when we make music. “Look at this shit. Look at what I can do.” We're all doing things separately, but we get together and make things happen accordingly. And I'd rather work with great artists too than people who only want to work because they have the hottest record out. I used to have to work with whoever to try to make a living, but now I'd actually like to pick who I want to work with and make the right career moves. And every move I've made so far has been good.
DX: With your album Uzi Does It, you offered half of it as a free download to anyone who would tweet about it, but you also sold it digitally and physically.
Scoop Deville: We were one of the first groups to do that. Now, I'm seeing a lot of people follow the same type of marketing, and using the same company. We have friends who helped us do this. Some of shinoda's people and associates and companies that own shit were all clicking together, and we made this record happen. They went to China, got those USBs made, brought them back home, we put the songs on them ourselves, and we put them out there to sell. And they sold out completely. It was a big thing. It wasn't just an album, it was a cool gadget. A lot of different blog sites and people and ways it was getting promoted, people knew about it. The second album is going to be even crazier, because we might have a label situation, so it may be on a bigger scale than last time. But if it ain't, we'll put it out ourselves like we did last time and continue to build from the ground up.
DX: Often, when someone comes up under a relative or a mentor, that person has difficulties growing out of that person's shadow. Did you experience that with your dad? Or any people who would dismiss you by saying, “He's only on because of his pops?”
Scoop Deville: I've gotten all those, because people always assume. But people have to understand at the same time, this has always been a family thing. I have music instilled from years and years. It's not just my father—it's his father, my grandmother. It goes back to him telling me, “Son, you have to be three times better than me, so I can show everybody you can be that. And when you have your son, he's going to be triple better than you.” it's a family tradition that has its wins and its losses, but we're still here, and it's a good thing. My pops is great, he's 100% proud and supportive, and we continue to make this happen. If there's ways I can make my pops or friends money, let's go! At the end of the day, we're all going to eat, we're all going to live.