I’ve been quiet around these parts since my return to Seattle, and now it’s time for the first hint of what it was I was doing down there in the dirty dirty. Enjoy the story and listen to Scotty’s music while reading!
Throughout Scotty’s new album The Jiffy Cornbread Experience you get snippets of a conversation his mother had in the studio about her recipe for Jiffy Cornbread, Scotty’s father, Chicago and moving to Atlanta. She sounds like a warm and welcoming lady, and she passed these qualities onto her son.
I’d never been to Atlanta before, hearing the city memorialized in rap tunes for much of my life was all I had to go on. I passed street signs I heard spoken of. I passed bus routes I heard raps were written on. I forced the topic of strip clubs, but everyone had an opinion on which was the best be it based on variety, number of women or how close they might let you get.
The night before I was set to meet Scotty I was told by Key of Two-9 that the quintessential Atlanta experience was cruising. “Just drive around” he told me. And so I did, leaving my hotel early in the morning to hit the streets of the ATL and see what I see.
The city is greener than I expected. My only Southern experience before this had been driving through West Texas and hanging out in Austin. There might actually be more trees standing in the city limits of Atlanta than out here in Seattle, smaller trees though. It was hot, but the humidity was low and a breeze was constant. I’ve been told this isn’t normal, but I’m glad it was my introduction to the city. The streets were often bare – perhaps the heat – perhaps the hours I was out? I was surprised by the lack of life readily apparent. Its selection as a location for The Walking Dead made sense.
Finding the grocery I was set to meet Scotty at led me to a shopping center and local ATLiens. I was told he was doing a photoshoot so I went in and looked for the aisle where you could buy Jiffy Cornbread. No go. Turns out we are cruising down the block to a corner store – The Jiffy Grocery.
Scotty stepped out of his car rocking camo shorts and repping for his city with both a Braves jersey and hat. After introductions and some ice breaking conversation we roamed around the outside of the Jiffy Grocery inspecting the fact that it appeared to be abandoned. Peering inside showed empty shelves, an hours list or open/closed sign was not present.
Scotty was convinced he was just inside weeks ago and as if on cue a van pulls up, a man jumps out, walks up to the door to pull it open and is stopped dead in his tracks. He curses and looks at us laughing. We shrug our shoulders and Scotty tells him “we thought it was going to be open too.”
At this point Scotty and the photographer get serious and snaps are taken. LaMont and I are standing off to the side discussing our cities, music and life. LaMont grew up with Scotty and when he isn’t in Europe playing basketball he is home in Atlanta working as Scotty’s rep.
I first heard Scotty thanks to DJ Burn One and their project Summer Dreams. Filled with Burn’s trademark country rap tinged beats Scotty expresses himself clearly and elegantly. He walks a line with his content that covers ground you would expect but also makes the choice to focus on finding positivity and hope in life. He has a laid back flow that you can’t help but ride with. His pronunciation is never in question, nor is his message. He is Southern born and bred, expressing his take on what that means.
“I met my homeboy one day and he told me about some stuff he had gone through and how he changed his life. At the time I was stressed out about a bunch of shit and I was like you know that sounds like the answer and I just stopped. I flushed a quarter pound of weed down the toilet, gave up all my clientele and just stopped for years. And then I started rapping. I was trying to change my life so I was trying to separate myself from certain situations.”
So begins Scotty’s career we are witnessing today from Scotty. Prior to this shift in mindstate he was Scotty PI, or Scotty Pimp. Born and raised in Atlanta with his mom and playing basketball at Redan High School. His mom let him turn their basement into a studio and was always cool with him having people over working on music.
The bug first came in 7th grade when his friend King J – now in the Navy – was rapping and sparked the passion in Scotty. When King J left for the service, he left behind all his equipment and this meant someone else had to start making beats and recording the crew, known as Monopoly Fleet. Scotty put in his time behind the boards but eventually made the decision to focus on raps.
Watching the Fleet fizzle out and seeing their independent record deal fall through along with dropping out of college had Scotty back in Atlanta spiraling down a darker path.
“I got involved in the whole little street life. From there I was still making music but it started to fade away. And then I just got caught up in the streets. I wasn’t no kingpin or nothing, I was just moving myself in the whole thing. Women, drugs, selling drugs, and then I just changed my life.”
This change took place nine years ago he guesses. After walking away from the street life he started to get inspiration from family and friends. Scotty remembers talking to LaMont regularly as well as a family barbeque where a relative asked him to rap for everyone as crucial to his path back into music.
The change in how he lived his life meant his content wasn’t going to be the same and his confidence returned as he watched people respond affirmatively to his new, more positive content. From there the focus, determination and love of music all started to return and doors opened. He found his way to Block Ent. Studios, placing him in the company of many young Atlanta talents including Sonny Digital, Burn One and Gorilla Zoe.
“That whole experience was like my introduction to the music business, like I would go for the first three months, I was going up to the studio every single day until three or four in the morning, sometimes until six in the morning – and not record shit. Just watching, just being in there, writing raps, hoping that I was going to get on a track. Finally they put me in the B room and I started recording songs, but the B room was kind of like, it was still a studio, but it wasn’t the A room with the quality shit so nobody listened to shit out of the B room. I did like six songs I think and the songs sounded good, and so that experience led me to the A room.”
It was in that room that he laid down a verse for a Zoe tune that would land on a mixtape hosted by Burn One. Late night conversations led to a relationship that has proven fruitful for both parties with Scotty and Burn developing together perhaps the best demonstration of the country rap style. Summer Dreams was only the introduction to their connection. With a new project about sixty percent done, Scotty is already searching for the right name for it.
But on that hot July day it was all about The Jiffy Cornbread Experience. We cruised around town, listening to the record, with my mind inquiring as I saw fit, be it about the city or the music or Scotty himself.
He confirmed my suspicion that the main producers behind the EP were Lupe’s in house team Soundtrakk and Prolyfic. He doesn’t like to make music via email so after meeting the producers at his attorney’s house and chatting about music he booked a flight to Chicago. After finishing one song they asked him to come back later in the week. He returned late at night after a performance and they said “let’s make five songs tonight.” They had beats ready for him and by breakfast time the rhymes had come and their goal was complete.
All of this was done more out of a desire to work than with any particular project in mind. Scotty liked the material but knew it needed more. He returned again, this time with his mom, providing her the opportunity to go into the studio in her hometown and give her son a special atmosphere for the project.
Now it was time for his partner Burn One to bring in the grit that Scotty likes.
“A lot of the music was sounding too commercial. And I didn’t want to take people from a project I did with Burn One to some real commercial ass shit and lose people. So we went back and got back into the studio and recorded a couple more tracks, made some tweaks.”
Before I parted ways with Scotty he brought me out to his partner Big Peezy’s studio. It’s in a basement of a house in a southeastern suburb of Atlanta. Another fellow Scotty grew up with, he says he records features there. I’d connected with Scotty around noon that day, it was now six PM. He’d had his album cover photoshoot, dedicated his day to showing a total stranger around his town and answering questions, written a verse while driving and then recorded that verse. He was stressing that he hadn’t had time to get on the computer yet. If at one point in his life Scotty was not focused on making music his priority he has abandoned that mentality fully.
Focused on making himself known when the South and Atlanta are brought up, he oozes the region out of his music. You can’t not hear the South in his music, in his voice, his lyrics. He brought back some Northern music and got it tweaked with the right amount of grit. It’s his home and he is proud of it.
“I grew up on Jiffy Cornbread, my moms cooked it growing up and it’s like some shit that is very Southern that hasn’t been talked about very much. Like everyone know about collard greens, ribs, chicklets, southern shit, but Jiffy Cornbread, hasn’t really been talked about. And it’s good as hell!”
Scotty is too.