The Come Up: Scotty ATL
Scotty ATL is a young up-and-coming rapper from Atlanta who's apart of the new wave of talent that's sweeping the hip-hop scene. With friends like XXL 2013 Freshmen Trinidad Jame$, super-clique Two-9, Young Scooter, and Rome Fortune, New Atlanta is stocked full of fresh raw names. The wonderful thing about this group of young Atlanta artists is the genuine friendship and bond they have—appearing on each other mixtapes and riding out to each other shows. One thing you can instantly tell about Scotty is his love for his city. Born and raised in the ATL, on his right forearm is a tattoo of F.A.I.T.H or Forever Atlanta In The Heart, the same name he dubbed his breakout 2013 mixtape with DJ Burn One. On the 16-track mixtape, boasting a litany of impressive songs, you see a glimmer of greatness that captivates the listener to tune in for more. As the buzz and hype continues to swell up, Scotty ATL swung by the XXL offices to discuss how he went from hoop dreams to rapping, New Atlanta, F.A.I.T.H., and his dreams of being a household name.—Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
On Quitting Basketball And Getting Into Rapping:
Scotty ATL: "I grew up in a single parent home, Dad live in Arkansas. I was raised in Atlanta. I had ambitions at first of playing, being a basketball star. And played ball throughout high school. And just really got caught up in the streets after school or whatever. Then I went to college and from there it was kinda downhill. The basketball dreams kinda falled through. Went to school, played for one year, really like half a semester. Quit the basketball team. We was like zero and twenty-eight like the first half of the season. And quit that.
In high school I was good, like winning championships and all kind of stuff. And then when I went to college, we was terrible, Savannah State. Yeah so, stopped playing ball [and] got caught in the streets. I got a little small record deal at the time and so I was just rapping, doing beats, rapping, doing all of that. When I just got too far involved in that shit it was like I just stopped everything all together when my homeboy kinda introduced me to the idea of the street life is holding you back from reaching your dreams. And so I just [ended] everything cold turkey.
I kind of just had to get myself together as a person. Kinda get away from some of the crowd that I was already hanging with and shit like that. And then I picked back up rapping like 3 or 4 years ago. So me and Burn One dropped Summer Dreams in 2011. It did real good. It was like top 50 mixtapes of the year in Spin. And that was like my last straw at the time, like when I came back I was making mixtapes but it really weren’t going nowhere. So I was doing jacking for beats and shit like that and Burn One heard the song I did with Bobby Creekwater, reached out and we had met each other previously at a studio in Atlanta. So we got together, did one track, boom from there the whole Summer Dreams project came. And then after that, did the one with DJ Scream, The Jiffy Cornbread Experience, and now this one F.A.I.T.H (Forever Atlanta in the Heart).
On Being Influenced By OutKast:
Scotty ATL: "My mom used to listen to 2Pac, so rap was always around me. But I was listening to back then it was like Lil Wayne. There was one where like Lil Wayne was like, “I run over niggas like eighteen wheelers.” It’s like his first CD. So like at that point that was like what was the shit to us cause he was a little dude, so that was what I was listening to then it kinda went to Outkast and Da Brat and T.I, and all of that.
"The most that influenced me was Outkast. Just because when they came with that style to the A-Town, it was different from everything that people had heard, I mean at the time. And then when you saw the video I think that the Da Brat Funkdafied and Southernplayalistic dropped like right around the same time and when you saw that video for Southernplayalistic."
On The Making Of F.A.I.T.H.
Scotty ATL: "That was the first project I really put money into. I was like, 'Okay, if imma do this, imma do it forreal.' So I put money into the production and studio time and the artwork and just everything, all type of shit and I was like, 'If this don’t happen I’m done, I’m out.' And we did and the shit did good.
"I had already been making this certain type of music since I was little, just like player music, but when I got with Burn One I allowed him to produce me, and that was my first time actually being produced like that, where I would take the advice from him or you can write this verse better or just let him make the beat and then I kinda form the song around what they was making. It was an interesting process, even just being in the studio. We would go to Burn One's studio or his house and do like four songs in a day, one time five. And while they was making the beats, I’ll be writing the rap and by the time they finished the beat and I was done with the rap and we would just record like we was making the songs together. That was kinda the intention cause it was like I had never seen that until then. It was like people e-mail you tracks, you get in the studio, you write it on your own, whatever you come up with that’s it. So having somebody who had an ear and had experience; he already worked with Yelawolf, Rittz and Freddie Gibbs. So Burn One got a good ear for new artists.
"When we got in the studio, it was chemistry. He has a production team called 5PMG, so he got his guitarist Ricky Fontaine, he got Walt Live on the keys, he got the professor, he plays the bass guitar, then he does his thing so like again—first time seeing this—we in the studio and everybody’s playing their instruments live and taking turns and I’m like, “yo this is crazy." And it was just a cool ass vibe. So I hit him up like a week later and was like, “yo, bruh, I think we need to do a whole tape together.” And he was like, “man I was thinking the same thing,” and then we just put it together man."
On The Title:
Scotty ATL: "F.A.I.T.H., Forever Atlanta In The Heart. It came through a conversation I was having with a friend about—a lot of times, I know especially in the limelight, you have this thing where like you can get hot other places, but not have the city behind you. And this shit happens a lot, even with other cities and so we was talking about like, “man, I want to have the city of Atlanta behind me.” “I want to be able to go on the road and come home and people be excited.” Like damn, we fuck with dude like he putting that real ATL music out. And so it was like, I want Forever Atlanta In The Heart, whether it be wherever I go, my city being behind me before I go out anywhere else and that was the goal of the project and we just built it around that. What’s the real ATL sound of what we felt like it was, from the OutKast to Dungeon Family, [is] that real ATL sound.
On Working With New Atlanta Artists:
Scotty ATL: "I say this every time. it started out as a really everybody supporting each other. It wasn’t even about the music, like when Trinidad Jame$ dropped, before the “All Gold Everything” came out, when he dropped his tape, it was like right after I dropped my tape, Two-9 dropped they tape, Ra Ra dropped his tape, and you had all these artists. It was like all of a sudden out of nowhere, it’s like three, four, five tapes and they kept going down from there. Rome Fortune. The thing that was so special about it was that everybody was supporting each other, like I’ll go on LiveMixtapes and tweet out Trinidad’s tapes and he’d tweet out my tape and we tweet out Ra Ra’s tape and then we get together later and we talking about how we want to just support each other and we’re going to mob to each others’ shows. It was crazy. We was going to Nashville together, we was doing shows in Atlanta together, and I had hadn’t that kind of support from other artists, I don’t know about them, but I think it was new to all of us. Then we came up to CMJ, so it's me up here, Trinidad here, Two-9 here, Ra Ra here, Rome Fortune, we all up here supporting each other, so it was a new movement that was the support was more so then it was about the music. That what was dope about it.
"The records me and Trinidad did, they came out before “All Gold Everything” came out, so we was working on that. Curtis of Two-9 is dope, he the homie, hit him up one day. We in the studio drinking 40s, recording “All The H03$”, and it’s just dope man. With it being called F.A.I.T.H., Forever Atlanta In The Heart, it was like I want to keep this shit A-town. And bring the cats that I’m really a fan of they music. These the people I want on my CD and that’s what it was really about."
On Describing His Sound:
Scotty ATL: "I been using this term lately, it’s that it’s motivation for the streets. And I say that in a different way then from what it’s usually used as, normally when you think of motivation for the streets, it’s about drugs, like we giving you street motivation is about drugs, but for me it’s like, I’m giving folks hope through the music. I want people to be like “get on your hustle brah,” “leave the boy shit alone.” Like you can get out here and do it, grind, be ambitious, be somebody with your life, and for me it’s like that’s what I’m on right now in my own life, just really trying to better myself man and just rise to the next level. So that’s what I want to give people through my music but I mean this rider music man, it’s timeless, it’s classic, it’s funky, like, from the words I would describe it as.
"“Clarity” is still my favorite song probably on the CD, just because we recorded that song at like 9, 10 in the morning. And I just remember just going through so much at the time. I was actually having a pretty good streak at the time when I was recording this project because the Jiffy project was out and it was doing good. I just remember feeling like some of my homeboys was jealous about some of the success, and it encouraged me to do the song. We got in the lab—me and Wala—early in the morning and the beat actually came from Cardo and Burn One, a song they was going to do. The beat they was going to use for a project called the “Cowbell Gang” and Burn was like, “yo we got this beat.” I’m like, "Yo this shit crazy." We pulled this shit up, I recorded it, I mean wrote it right there on the spot, and laid it, and once we did it, it just gave me a feeling that was triumph and I’m like, 'damn boy, this shit make me feel good.'"
On What's Next:
Scotty ATL: "I got a few more visuals coming out, I’m working on another project now. Of course, DJ Burn One going to spearhead that with me. I like to keep Burn One as the backbone of what I’m doing. I’m not really into just working with people just because of their names, I’m into really making the good music and shit that make sense. But just shooting the visuals out, we got visuals lined up for “Handle Biz” off the tape, we working on the visual for “All The H03$” with Curti$ William$, also working on one with LeCrae, we shoot that and then the goal is to just let the visuals roll out until the next EP drop so I’m a try to drop another project by like the end of the year.
"I just want to be known, like a household name as an artist, I want to be able to be in the position to help other people out, whether it be just artists I fuck with or just in the community. I do a lot of shit in the community too in Atlanta. I just want to be the well known established artist, touring, making music with some people's favorite artists like your Wiz Khalifas, your A$APs and your Kendrick Lamars and shit like that. That’s really where I see myself."