Young Scolla Jumps “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
New York, N.Y. -- Definition of “young”: being in the first or early stage of life. Definition of “scholar”: one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject. Most people can be described as being either one or the other, but sometimes a person who is talented and ambitious enough can be both. So just what makes Detroit emcee Young Scolla’s “profound knowledge” of hip-hop so appealing? All you have to do is listen to his soul and flow on the mic to find out.
After moving from Memphis to Detroit at a very young age, Scolla began to take an interest in music, eventually directing most of his attention to hip-hop. It wasn’t long after he accrued some street credibility that he discovered his producing and singing skills were just as strong as his raps. As a man who chooses to use every gift he’s given to the full, Scolla has made use of all three of his talents since his recent Escaping Reality EP and assuredly on his forthcoming debut album, Renaissance Dreams. In the interim, though, we can look forward to Scolla’s pre-album mixtape Potluck which will no doubt continue to confirm for us the strengths of this true musical scholar.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Young Scolla stops by the Booth to talk about his many talents and what we can expect to hear from him in the very near future.
As an artist you represent Detroit, but do your roots in Memphis influence your music? How?
Although I've always been a big fan of Three 6 Mafia, I don't think living in Memphis influenced my music as directly as it influenced my life. That was a short period of time in my life but I lived in the South (Texas as well) for some time before moving to Detroit and just the environment and the people had a lot with molding my early concepts of interaction and how I interpreted things. My music is a direct reflection of my life but a lot of the experiences I draw from come from my Detroit upbringing, so I'd have to say yes and no.
You can rap, sing and produce records. What are the pros and cons of versatility like that?
I think being able to be so versatile allows me to be a lot more hands-on in crafting my sound. If there is a specific sound that I'm going for, I can create it instead of having to take the time to convey what I visualize to them. It's also a blessing because when I may not have access to a singer or a producer, I can easily get right to work myself. The downside is that I'm very critical of myself so I might lay down a hook that everyone else will think is hot but I feel should be redone by someone else. Outside of that there aren't too many cons. I'm confident in the kind of artist that I am so I've never had a problem balancing the two in regards to my image or the sound I want to convey.
In one of your most recent Booth features, “Gimme a Sign,” you incorporate lyrics that shed light on your faith in God. What’s the relationship between your faith and your music?
Man, I have to give all thanks and praise to God. I'm nothing without him. My faith plays a very big role in not only my music but my life in general. It dictates the man that I am and the man that I want to be, and being that my music is a direct representation of myself and my thoughts, views and emotions, my faith in God has everything to do with it.
How will your upcoming DJBooth/Refined Hype-hosted project Pot Luck sound different than your previous work on Escaping Reality?
The one thing I want people to know is that although the project has numerous features from artists all over the country, it still retains that wholesome, soulful sound that you're used to getting from a "Scolla" project. The level of quality has definitely increased though. You will be able to see my growth since ER, as well as [hearing] a more up-tempo and livelier sound. ER began with a feeling of despair and slowly grew into triumph. So on Potluck you're going to get a lot more happier content.
What five random food items would make up the perfect Potluck dinner buffet?
Hahaha (I love this question). I don't know if all of these would go together but they're some of my favorites. I'd have chicken alfredo, General Tso chicken & Lo Mein, Mac & Cheese, lasagna, some sort of cake and one of my mother's pies.
Final thoughts? Confessions? Shout outs? Plugs?
I first of all want to thank DJBooth and RefinedHype for the continued support and the opportunity. A big shout out to my teams, The Fab 5 Administration and USR and to all the people the continue to support this movement. My city, Detroit, I love you! I want everyone to be prepared for great music. I'm putting my everything into this art and I'm definitely looking to touch the people and connect with them for life. To the haters, I'll continue to keep you working.
Potluck on the way, Renaissance Dreams the album soon after... look for a tour in the fall and a lot more visuals. Oh and "Decisions" the video is out now, "If I Was With You" (my single from Renaissance Dreams) is available on iTunes.