Independent Hustle: Q & A with Scotty ATL

Every few years, a different region places a chokehold on hip-hop, introducing its own subgenres to the realm, which typically blossom into the latest musical trends. And the South has been responsible for dong just that over the last few calendars.

In the forefront of the Southern areas breeding artists that dominate hip-hop on an independent and national level is Atlanta. There are countless spitters coming from the home of the Falcons who are contributing their own sound to the world.

East side Atlanta representative Scotty ATL is among the city’s collective of lyricists that spew tales about their everyday life on tracks, instead of something fabricated. And manage to sound super cool while doing it. With one earful of Scotty’s music, you get a sense of Atlanta back in the mid-to-late 90s; he sounds somewhat like an offspring of the illustrious Dungeon Family.

Since the release of his mixtape Summer Dreams in 2011, his career has steadily elevated. But 2013 proved to be the year that national recognition knocked on the country rap tune-creator’s door. This was the result of his critically acclaimed project FAITH, which is an acronym for “Forever Atlanta In The Heart.” The mixtape garnered him an appearance on Sway In The Morning, This Is 50, and a “New Joint of the Day” premiere on 106 N Park for the visual to his song “Game” featuring Trinidad James and Big K.R.I.T.

But complacency is something Scotty’s oblivious to. And he continues to maintain the same aggressive work ethic that he used before thousands of people started paying attention to his catalog. In support of his debut album, Spaghetti Junction, he’s embarked on a regional tour and continues to drop visuals and new songs for supporters to vibe to.

I got a chance to rap with Scotty about his extensive grind, upcoming album, musical inspirations, who he’s listening to right now, and much more.

Follow Scotty on Twitter: @ScottyATL
Check out his website: ScottyATL.net

You’re prepping the release of your upcoming project Spaghetti Junction. Did the song Outkast created for their album Stankonia inspire the title?

It came about actually because I was just going through a whole lot at the time. It wasn’t really honestly off of the idea of Outkast’s song. It just really came because Spaghetti Junction is a real place in Atlanta. It’s real busy in that area. It’s a whole lot of traffic. But once you get out of Spaghetti Junction, you’re on the road to where you want to go. That’s where the whole concept really came from. And then after that, I was telling my patnas, they was like, ‘Outkast got the song ‘Spaghetti Junction.’‘ I was like, ‘damn, you’re right.’ I guess it just worked out, too. God designed that. It all just kind of represents the A.

How long have you actually been at it with your career?

I’ve been rapping for a minute, man. Since high school. I stopped for a while, for like six years, ya feel me? When I was in high school, I was like the nigga doing it. I used to have my CDs. I used to sell them and everything, and people would buy them from me. I was winning talent shows and all that. I really just kind of got into the whole street life and came out of that. I really just stopped everything. I just had to give everything up for a minute to get my mind right, ya feel me? It was during that time period I wasn’t doing no rapping. I was just trying to change my life and shit, man. I’ve been really just straight rapping now for about six years.

Who inspired your style?I’m inspired by the greats. Like Jay-Z, [2] Pac, and even like UGK, and 8 Ball and MJG. The music that I liked was the music that I could feel. For me, those were life stories. They talked about what they went through. They talked about what their people went through. That’s what my music is all about. It’s really just a depiction of my life story, my partners’ life story…things I’ve been through. Things I want to get. I can’t really even make music that I feel is meaningless. It’s hard for me to do.

Dig that. Who are some of the artists you’re listening to right now?

I’m a fan of Asap Rocky. Nipsey Hussle. Kendrick Lamar. Kevin Gates. Starlito. That’s what I’m listening to currently. I’ll bump anything DJ Burn One put out. I’m checking that out as well.

Is it just rap for you? Or do you listen to other genres as well?

Mainly rap, but I will listen to different R&B music. I like Erykah Badu a lot. I like Rihanna, too. I’m not just listening to Rihanna in the whip, but I like what she does. And it’s a few other artists out there that I like. I like The Weekend, and I’ve recently got onto PartyNextDoor.

How was it for you coming up in the A?

I grew up in a single-parent home. Most of the people that was around me, my homies, they also grew up in a single-parent home. Some of them had their mom and dad. That’s really just my story, man. We grew up. I saw my mom work two jobs, hustle, and I really didn’t even know what was going on at the time. I just knew that she worked hard. My whole thing was really just growing up, kind of teaching myself. With moms working two jobs, I’m coming home after school by myself, making dinner or whatever the case is, so I just had to grow up quick. I’d go see my pops in the summer times in Arkansas. My dad used to live a whole different life. He was a player. He worked, but he had a lot of women. If you listen to my music, that’s really what you get out of it. You hear a lot about the hustle. A lot about the struggle and the grind, and you hear a lot about the player shit. That’s what I seen.

On your projects Summer Dreams and The Jiffy Cornbread Experience, you’re very open about your relationship with your father. Did having a distant relationship with him affect your music?

It affected me just as a person. Anybody who grew up without your pops or grew up without your moms, you’re going to be affected in some way, because that’s the reason we got a moms and got a dad. They’re supposed to be able to provide certain things for you growing up. I just rapped about that. My life. What I’ve took from it, how it’s getting better, and my appreciation for the things I’ve learned from him. That’s what you hear. It’s crazy, because now, our relationship is a lot different from when it was when I recorded Summer Dreams.

When you dropped FAITH, you began to receive more recognition from the music industry. You popped up on popular outlets like Sway In The Morning, This Is 50, and had your video premiered on 106 n Park. Did you anticipate that project bringing you so much exposure?Nope. I had no idea, honestly. When we’re making these projects, we have a certain sense in that we like it, but you don’t never know what the response from the people will be. We just hope and believe. From here, Spaghetti Junction is going to be a whole ‘nother thing. And hopefully, we’ll jump from the next level from that one, too.

What can people expect from Spaghetti Junction?

I’ma be honest with you. I think it’s going to be the best rap album to come out the South this year, but that’s for the people to decide. I love it. I think it’s going to be something real powerful. With what’s already going on right now in the South, so many cats dropping dope music, it’s just going to add to the pot, and hopefully just break the pot.

Who are going to be some of the artists featured on it?

We’ve got Killer Mike on there. We’ve got B.O.B. We’ve got IamSu! on there. It’s a lot of other cats, too, but I’m not gonna name everybody. And then production-wise, we’ve got Sonny Digital, of course DJ Burn One, Sean C and LV, we’ve got Childish Major…it’s going to be crazy.

Before I let you get back to your grind, I want to ask you about the artwork on some of your most recent installments. What inspires the ideas for the cover art on your projects?

Man, shout out to the homie Joe Dent. Cool Club Joe. He do his thing. We really just put our brains together and come up with the theme or the concept. Sometimes, I’ll just say, ‘Joe, I’ve got this idea,’ and he puts it down. We just being ourselves wit this shit. We’re not trying to be like nobody else. Our goal is to just make shit that’s better than what the labels do, just on some independent shit. We’re trying to move like the big dogs do.

By @Lou4President

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