This is the second part of our Men of Love and Hip-Hop series. Mona Scott is one of the most legendary business women in the history of hip-hop. Beyond her career as a talent manager, she has built a formidable TV producing empire. Love and Hip-Hop is her brain child and the platform has served as a vehicle to impact several other industries economically. Beyond being a platform to serve advertisers with eyeballs, she develops talent that become mega stars. Cardi B has been the most notable start on the Love and Hip-Hop platform but Lil Scrappy has had his fill of partners on the show. Lil Scrappy shares a child with Erica Dixon. Lil Scrappy is currently married to Bambi Benson. This messy intrigue fuels the entertainment factory of this “Reality show”.
Before Love and Hip-Hop, Lil Scrappy was the official “Prince of Crunk”. He had collaborated with Lil Jon, and eventually would release his album under a partnership with G-Unit and BME(Lil Jon’s Label). He would also show his entrepreneurial spirit with his help in the development of the A-Town sensation Crime Mob, with their hit single Knuck if You Buck which featured him. We hung out with Lil Scrappy at his album release party and met up with future megastar Nicki Minaj on her grind. We saw the potential back then. Lil Jon who had signed Lil Scrappy to his label was one of the first artist to do an exclusive interview with us back in 2002 when Hustlenomics and Owners Illustrated were in their early stages. Lil Scrappy will also collaborate with G-Unit’s own, Young Buck to make a hit Money in The Bank for his debut album Bred to Die Born to Live.
HOW HE DID IT
With a charisma that belies his title of Prince of Crunk, Lil Scrappy is poised to put more money in the bank. With a unique arrangement between two industry titans, 50 Cent and Lil Jon to co-executive produce his solo full length project “Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live” as a Joint Venture between their companies G-Unit, and BME respectively, the Zone 3 Atlanta native is ready and loaded with a bevy of hits. Paired with fellow G-Unit member Young Buck on the infectious single Money in the Bank, The single was produced by Isaac Hayes III, son of soul legend Isaac Hayes. On Money in the Bank and the Lil Jon assisted “Gangsta Gangsta,” Scrappy delivers the energy that made him an A-Town staple with bangers like No Problems, and Headbussa both of which were on his gold debut EP The King of Crunk & BME Recordings Present: Trillville & Lil Scrappy. Also sharing the same management with 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Missy Elliot, and others at Violator, Lil Scrappy is next to ascend to super star status. We got an opportunity to sit down with Lil Scrappy this summer at the BME as he was preparing his album, and had a chance to discuss a variety of topics including how he paired up with 50 Cent, and his preparation for his anticipated success, his crew and Label G’s Up, and how it all began for him.
Q: So what it is Scrappy?
Ya already know it’s the muthaf**kin Prince of Crunk, Prince of the South, here from the A-town Southeast, zone 3, but really from the A all over this thang, GsUp, BME, G-unit that’s what it is
Q: Talk about G’s Up and what that’s about
God is over us you know, all the time, so I came up with the God part and one of my homies that saved my life a long time ago, ya know one of my gangsters, that I like the GsUp part and I kept it with me. GsUp are all family members, my lil brother Lil Chris, my cousin Pooh Baby, my cousin Toine, got the blood brothers they my kin folk, Crime Mob. It’s just my label that I’m branching off with, to help my ni**az, who you will be seeing real soon.
Q: How did you get in the game and where you from?
Born in Grady that’s in the middle, the heart of Atlanta, the first thing you see off the express way. From Zone 3, we ain’t with the gangs and stuff down here. We got a lil thing down here where some people might gang bang or whatever, they come from a lil country -town or whatever, but Atlanta ni**az, we goddamn country city ni**az. We don’t do all that gang banging, we do zones. Like you up in pre-trial, on Wright Street ni**a, you’ll muthaf**kin know what zone you from, like ni**az is crazy with that shit. I’m from the A really. I moved over to the West-end after I was born, Decatur, Chapel Road, then moved back out to the 3 with my momma, when she was doing her thing in the street, and that’s where I stayed at. Moved to East point for a lil while and came right back to the 3 and when I left the three, I brought it back to the East-side to finish it all out. I got kicked outta school or whatever, went to a lil military boot camp s**t and got my life together. Put in my head what the f**k I was gone do and made s**t happen.
When I came home, my s**t was boosted, cuz the ni**a Bingo, the ni**a that made the Head Bussa beat the one that came out and got popular, that ni**a was a DJ in the crunkest club on the East-side. So he was smashing my s**t back to back while I was gone. I came home and ni**az was like we some Head Bussas fo real, and like that’s my s**t, it got over to the boot camp s**t and ni**az was like Head Bussa, yeah we heard that s**t. I was like fo sho ni**a, came home and s**t was poppin. I was with some ni**az that thought they were poppin and they wasn’t really poppin, I mean they was poppin, but not fo real. I was goddamn putting in work, swinging on ni**az, like I always been a fightin a** ni**a. Always fighting and some s**t, or I be the ni**a getting jumped on or jumping on other ni**az, we just get down like that. You know we got our dope boys and our fighters and like ni**az know around the muthaf**kin globe if I came to your city, I was always getting into something. Even police know I don’t f**k around with putting your hands on me. A ni**a was born with a temper, and born with some intelligence too, so I know muthaf**kas can’t just be putting they hands on you. I don’t give a f**k if you a fan, muthaf**in police, whoever. BME found me when I was in that fight mode when I was like 18, feel me and that was like two or three years ago. S**t change, cuz I remember when ni**az didn’t know a ni**a. When it was just Atlanta, then I remember when Atlanta didn’t even know a ni**a, it was just a side of town I was on that knew a ni**a. Fame ain’t s**t. I always had fame, people playing on my phone, talking shit all that bulls**t, so I was semi used to it when I came in the game and now I’m used to it.
How did you get Head Bussa to Lil John?
Trillville was already getting ready to come over to BME, I knew one of the ni**az, LA and I seen him and was like wuz up, what’s going on? The ni**a was like I rap now, I thought it was funny cuz like the ni**a wasn’t no rapper. He was a promoter, a ni**a that passed out flyers and sometime he would throw his parties. I heard his s**t and was like alright whatever, s**t but my s**t hot in the club right now. Don’t nobody too much know ya’ll s**t, but ya’ll could get on my shows and we could do it together. We do a song together for the show and then ya’ll do ya’ll s**t and I’ll do mine. He was like cool, so I put them on my show they perform first and then I do my s**t. I just happen to go with them to the studio one night and do a song with them. Vice and Henry was over there and was like yeah Lil Scrappy, so they was f**kin with me already but didn’t know who I was. They didn’t know, I was the Head Bussa ni**a so they was like ok, but I was telling them ya’ll need to f**k with me, I’m that ni**a. They was like ok whatever. Then they came to my show I was the headliner and Trillville performed before me at the Aquarium in 2002 or 2003. The club was packed, I mean I used to pack clubs and not even get paid. I started a chain reaction and it was ni**az that started before me, so I’m just keeping it moving. Keep the movement going. Next thing you know Trillville go on and do they thang before Lil John touched it and Atlanta funny. If you ain’t in the club, Atlanta go crazy off your s**t, if they don’t know you in that bi**h they go crazy, but when you there and they know you there, they be like yeah ni**a your s**t crunk, but they will not give you the benefit of jumping off your s**t while you there. I was hoping they don’t do this s**t to me, Atlanta always rock with me so wuz up. I came out there and let loose on that bi**h. I ain’t talking like no high school crowd, half college half high school. I did I Got My Mind Made up, they damn near had a bar fight in that bi**h. I got my mind made up, with some liquor in my cup, got a bi**h on my d**k and I’m getting f**ked up, got my back on the wall, hell yeah I’m gone ball, getting money till I fall, screaming f*8k all ya’ll. Ni**az that was getting crunk, partying, was getting hit in the head with a pool stick. Vince came in there with a suit on, I’m like what the f**k this ni**a doing in the club with a suit on? Then came up out that bi**h when my s**t came on. Lights, camera, action, it was on in that bi**h, and that’s when that ni**a said you need to come to BME.
How did the idea of putting both Scrappy & Trillvile together on the album come about?
“Good marketing scheme. Scrappy is known and we could put him out, but Trillville got a pop song and we could just blow.
You had a hit with No Problem how did that come about?
That was all me. I did that by myself in the studio. It was a crunk reality song, it wasn’t even a fight song. It wasn’t made for ni**az to fight, I say, you can get crunk in the club, roll wit your hood get stomped in the club, you get f**ked up in the club, get buck in the club, ni**a we don’t give a f**k, but you don’t want no problem and I just give it to them, You don’t wanna be dead in the street, mouth full of blood and your soul full of heat, why you tryna act hard as hell and you know damn well you don’t wanna feel that shell. I’m telling ni**az, you don’t want it, but ni**az in the club act like I told that ni**a to knock that ni**a out.
Q: who worked with you on refining your sound?
Its just creativity my ni**a. I’m a student of the game, and I listen and be like okkk, he did this but he should of did it like this, so that’s what I’m gone do.
Q: who are some of your influences?
Everybody really. I listen to everything. When I was lil, all I listen to was Scarface, Biggie, Pac and Ice cube that’s all my momma listen to, Three 6 Mafia, all the dope boys listen to. Then growing up I listen to T.I, Fifty, all the big names Jay-Z, I sit back and just listen.
Q: How did G-Unit and BME come about with the collabo? Lil John with Interscope and Fifty and Warner Bros, this was a monster move.
I’m a real ni**a, and real s**t happens to real people, just like I get into it with the police, I come right back. Get pushed off stage and it come right back. I get hit with a bottle, all my s**t gone, I come right back. I’m a real ni**a, so it’s suppose to happen. I like the ni**az music anyway. Next thing I know I get a phone call from Rambo, like we doing a video for Young Buck this weekend we want you to come down. I’m like all right let’s do it, me and my ni**a hop in the Chevy and drove down that bi**h and we did Let Me In , but I had seen Buck at my album release party, they came thru. Next thing you know we go down to Cashville and they showing us love, Lloyd Banks and G-unit showing us love but I ain’t see Fifty. I’m just thinking like it would be nice to meet this ni**a. I’m from the hood where you don’t see nobody, but I’m here to get my s**t off. When you out there you hope you see a ni**a, but if not I got my money. I just happen to get there one day a ni**a Fifty was just out there, so he doing his thing, I’m gone wait till he finish. I hate when a ni**a come up to you and know you busy, and they tryna take all your time up. Talking about a problem or doing some crazy s**t, and he don’t even know you. I wasn’t gone say nothing but my bodyguard knew his peoples, so he went to see wuz up and then Fifty just pop up outta no where and was like wuz up ni**a? I’m like s**t wuz up, my name Scrappy. He like ni**a I know who you is, Head Bussa, so I was like we need to do something. He was like yeah, but you know that’s just talk or whatever. I go home and I end up with the same shows as Young Buck and them cuz we from the south and one day I run into Mike Lighty who threw me the card and was like give me a call if you interested, I book shows and all that. My brother Chris Lighty owns Violator records and manage Fifty, so I’m like okkk. My manager f**ked me over, took all the money, all of Crime Mob money. I’m fighting to get it back, but at the same time I got this open invitation that this ni**a from Violator said call him. I gave Atlanta some time first. Then I thought about it and my manager was a Atlanta ni**a, so I stop looking in Atlanta and was like I need somebody who ain’t gone be like; I know this ni**a.
I need somebody big out there who if they f**k me over I can get them and really get them. I go f**k with Chris and them and they ain’t got nothing but love, they rich already so Chris say, you ain’t gotta sign nothing. I’m like OKKK. I’m thinking they want me to go pop a ni**a or something, like I ain’t never heard of no shit like this. We have a meeting or whatever, he put me in some fly a** hotel in Manhattan New York, on top of the whole building, I’m like OKKK again. It made me be like this some real s**t, treating me good, got my momma sitting right, I’m like what the f**k you want? Chris says nothing but a hand shake and that’s what it is. Around this time I was still doing shows and I did this show in Pal Attica, Fla. I went showing ni**az love and everything. At first I wasn’t gone do the show but I was like f**k it. When I got there it was a shack, I was like my s**t popping and I’m in a shack. Like some real country shit, even when I wasn’t popping, I wasn’t in no shack. I could see a country club but not a shack. It look like something ni**az just go to drink, they don’t have no shows in this bi**h. I did it anyway. The money wasn’t even long enough I do it anyway, so it’s hating a** ni**az talking s**t. I’m like I could go get in my s**t and get the f**k on and keep it moving. I’m doing this out of love, real ni**a s**t, like when you a real ni**a, you show love. I’m giving ni**az dap and s**t, giving hoes hugs, doing what I’m suppose to do. Next thing I know ni**az throwing bottles and I get hit with the ass end of a Heineken bottle in my mouth. Sitting there eating on that bi**h, gums split open, I’m missing a gum a bone all kind of s**t. They rush me to the van, and next they talking bout, they coming around the corner with guns. I’m like nah; not for real. Thinking what the f**k did I do to these ni**az. I could see if I was at home and got into it with a ni**a or I spit on a ni**a or something, so we get the f**k out of there. I get home and get taking care of. My s**t all split and stitched. I’m laying in the bed for months around Christmas time, baby momma pregnant in her last months, I’m thinking I gotta make some money. Nobody called me. Chris and them called, GsUp ni**az called and that was it. No calls from BME or none of that. Next thing you know I get a phone call from a phone number I ain’t know, but I pick it up anyway. It’s Fifty like wuz up. I can’t hardly talk but I’m like its all good wuz up my ni**a. The s**t made my day. Fifty like I heard what happened, my ni**a, fuck that s**t, just get better. Don’t worry bout it, I’ll put a whole diamond in your mouth, make that s**t shine so bright ni**az won’t be able to see what’s in your mouth just a blinding light. He gave me some encouraging words and that’s what did it, I got up and made it happen. Cuz if not I would have laid there hoping I get better, my birthday was coming up and so I got up. Next thing I told my manager either you bout to make something happen or if this BME thing ain’t bout to go down, you need to make something happen. Ni**az ain’t call me, like I don’t even know if I got a deal. He like nah your deal straight. I was like look I know where bread at, ni**az been treating me good, showing me love, and I look good over there. So they like it might take longer for your album to come out. It’s a chance I have to take. It ain’t came out yet, they can wait. I’ll do mix tapes and get on ni**az s**t. Talk to Fifty Cent about it. He was like me you and Lil John. I’m the biggest name in Hip-Hop and Lil John a big name too. Let’s do it.
BME was like I don’t know. I was like either we gone make this happen or I’m gone do it. The next thing Lil John was like, yeah that would be a good idea. Let’s do it. I’m gone do my s**t and they f**k with me. Fifty cent is already a go, so I’m gone take what I got and put it out there. I ain’t bout to die. Ni**az ain’t gone leave me in the street to rot, it ain’t gone happen. I’m gone win. From there Fifty took me on the road with them. Anger Management tour, and Fifty Cent Massacre tour.
Q: How did the album come about, with two exceptional ears in the business to make hits?
I was kind of nervous about doing it, like I hope this ni**a like my s**t. At the same time, I’m like f**k that, I got a little girl to feed, I’m a grown a** man, women know me just like they know him. I went to the mansion for like two days bugging out. In the studio he was right there with me, rolling like we was on something and you know Fifty ain’t do nothing. Come out there, get in the studio with Lil Jon and you know he got some heat out the a**. Some heat you gotta put that real s**t on. So I go in my lil hole or whatever, talk to myself about whatever I’m going through. Come back out and put that magic out there. I’m tryna put myself up there with them ni**az, so I can be able to stand up with these ni**az and be like, I’m one of these ni**az. I’m a big name, so then we all have someone to pull from. I can pull from Fifty, I can pull from Jon, Jon pull from me, both of us pull Fifty, both of us pull for Jon. It’s a relationship.
Q: who’s on the album?
Fifty did some hooks on there, Olivia, Tony Yayo, GsUp, which is Pooh Baby, Lil Chris, Bohagen of course. Tryna get a couple other ni**az but s**t me. It is what it is Born to Live Bred to Die it’s all about me anyway.
Q: What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned and how are they gonna apply to your GsUp movement?
I’m gone blow up first, and then I’m gone bring them ni**az out. Whatever I can do, I’m gone do it, put my all into my artists, cuz for one thing, they mine. I got my stamp on it so they should be out. Crime Mob gone be out this year coming up. Diamond and Princess coming out. Lil Scrappy gone keep it moving. That’s what I learned; keep it moving, keep focus and stay out here. It ain’t no turning down no bread or none of that. It’s all about getting it right now while I’m here in this lil light of mine, I’m let it shine for real.
Q: What else are you tryna get into out side of music to get that bread?
Street shit. I’m gone get me a club in the A, can’t say no names cuz ni**az might try to take my s**t. Do some movies, some acting. Keep my mind active and move on it. I hate for a ni**a to say some s**t and it never happen, but if I speak it into existence it’s gone happen.
Q: What advice do you have for those tryna come up?
Don’t step on nobody toes, unless they make you, keep your head up. It may rain at night time, but when you wake up, it’s always a lil sunlight. Take your sunlight holes and swoop up in them. Have a good day, a good life, year and get to it, don’t stop.
Lil Scrappy has 3 Million followers on Instagram and 845 K followers on Twitter. His wife Bambi has 2.5 M followers on Instagram and 264 K followers on Twitter. The other mother of his child Erica Dixon has 2.9 M followers on Instagram and 885 K followers on Twitter. Instagram is a huge money generator for Facebook. A huge portion of the content that generates the eyeballs on Instagram in urban and hip-hop related. Shows like Love and Hip-Hop drive the discussion and power the engagement on the social media platforms. Instagram is projected to earn $14 Billion in revenue in 2019. Twitter just reported Q3 2019 earnings of $824 million. Nielsen just released a report on Black consumers in the USA. In the report they identified over 25 million African Americans are Millennials. Instagram reaches 45% of African Americans. African Americans are more receptive to television advertising by 23% over total population. This correlates to the impact of shows like Love and Hip-Hop and how consumers engage on social media and amplify the impact of their conversation.