Since making waves in 2004 with “No Problems,” Lil Scrappy has actually run into several “problems” in both his personal and professional life. In 2008, the Atlanta nearly lost all his teeth in a fight that broke out in at a show in Florida and got stabbed in a separate incident, and he’s changed labels more times than a store clerk.
After parting ways with Lil Jon, who originally paired Scrappy with Trillville for a 2004 dual album, Scrap linked up with 50 Cent, who co-executive produced his official solo debut, Born 2 Die Born 2 Live, but the relationship dissolved soon after. Following a couple years off the grid, he currently resides comfortably under Ludacris’s DTP umbrella. With the release of his new album, The Grustle, earlier this week, Scrappy spoke with XXLMag.com about his various label moves, breaking into Hollywood and reminds paparazzi that he’s a head bussa.
XXLMag.com: First off, what happened to ignite the move from Lil Jon to 50?
Lil Scrappy: I signed with Jon; I come out 2004 on a compilation album with Trillville, which went platinum. I come back around with my solo album, two-three years ago with G-Unit [because] Jon was trying to do his own thing… I end up hollerin’ at 50 one day and he said we’ll make it happen; we’ll get with Jon and see what we could do. Chris Lighty hollered at everybody and they end up taking us on tour, [but] there were too many complications, too many egos.
XXLMag.com: Was there some kind of misunderstanding between you and Lil Jon?
Lil Scrappy: No real misunderstanding because I’m a grown man and I’m going to do what I do regardless. We don’t talk. I got to keep on doing what I got to do ’cause I got little kids, I got to feed my family and go on about the business.
XXLMag.com: How’d you end up moving from 50 and your Warner Bros. deal over to DTP? Why did you make the move?
Lil Scrappy: WB is a rock & roll company and if you leave a rock & roll company with hip-hop artists they are not going to know what to do and they didn’t know what to do with my ass. So I was just sitting over there for two or three years after that album came out. I end up bumping paths with [Luda’s manager] Chaka Zulu and he was like, “I know you’re fan base, I know how you get down.” I’m used to hearing that shit so I was like, “Oh alright, whatever, that’s cool.” I was ready to walk up out of there then they start talking paperwork, and I was like, “That’s what’s happening!” I signed the contract with DTP/Def Jam and that’s how it’s cracking.
XXLMag.com: The Grustle just came out. What are some of the highlights on there?
Lil Scrappy: I got a song called “I’m Coming;” it gives you the whole rundown from when I first came out to [working with] Luda. It’s one of them crunk slow songs, there’s an Amerie sample on there—it’s crazy. I got a song for the ladies on there with Trey Songz called “Thug It to The Bone.” Diamond from Crime Mob, she’s on the album, Maino, Gucci Mane, and a young artist named Young Bet.
XXLMag.com: What’s the meaning behind the term “Grustle”?
Lil Scrappy: The grind—meaning that it’s something you got to do 48 hours a day, you can’t stop that because that’s what pays your bills, like your 9-to-5—and your hustle, which is everything you like to do and you make money a little extra money that you can save or spend.
XXLMag.com: You mentioned Diamond earlier. You guys have been dating for a while when most celebrity hip-hop couples don’t last. What makes it work for y’all?
Lil Scrappy: That’s my best friend, man; I don’t have no real friends like that. [She’s] the only one I can talk to before I go to sleep. We don’t tell people much about this joint because it’s private. We have problems here and there… ’Cause too many men’s be looking at her and too many woman’s be looking at me and that’s a problem. [Laughs] …We fittin’ to do a Mr. and Mrs. Smith package, with a mixtape coming out first then an album. A DVD might come out with the album.
XXLMag.com: Speaking of DVDs and films, word is you’re taking your first steps toward acting. Is that true?
Lil Scrappy: I did a movie with Wood Harris, Clifton Powell, Trick Daddy, and Ja Rule, called Just Another Day. They’re talking about dropping it next year. Jamie Hector (Marlo from The Wire) is in it and I play his homeboy. We’re from the street and we work in a fast food restaurant. Jamie Hector and Wood Harris [are actually] rappin’ in this… that shit’s crazy. The whole time [on set] you feel like a real movie star, it’s a good movie.
XXLMag.com: If you end up being the next big rapper turned actor you know you’re going to have to deal with even more paparazzi. You and Diamond tend to shy away from the cameras; what do you hate about the paparazzi?
Lil Scrappy: My whole thing is people take up too much of your privacy. I tell my stories in my rap; that’s how I get my pain across ’cause people don’t know what’s going on everyday with me. I’m not Lil Wayne, or Jay-Z, or T.I. So I keep it one hundred with myself. You will hear that shit it my flow ’cause that’s all I know… I just know how to straight bang ’em in the head. —Rosario Mercedes Velazquez