Scram Jones Interview

– Mister Scram Jones. How are you?
I am good. Feels good to be in Amsterdam, my favorite city in the world besides New York City.

– Why is that? Besides the obvious…
The obvious is basically the reason but also heavy hiphop, heavy love, it’s a good vibe.

– You are out here right now with Saigon.
Yup, DJ-ing for him, producing for him, holding him down on the tables.

– Are you on the album as well?
Hell yeah I’m on the album.

– Well, he was only talking about Just Blaze…
I know, I know, but you know, that’s the man in charge right now. Can’t bite the hand that’s feeding you right now, ya feel me? But me and Sai go back to 2001. We’ve done 6 years of music. We have over 50 records. Over 30 have been out in the streets. Every mixtape, I got 5 joints on there at least. So everybody knows our sound, we are partners; we are on the road together. We do everything together. We partners and all, but right now he is dealing with the reality of the business. Then you gotta cater to other people when it comes to the business of music. After three years he’s gonna have to listen to these guys. Just Blaze is crack. But I mean I need to be on there, I do believe I’m on there, and if I’m not, it’s not a real Saigon album, how bout that.

– You doin’ shows with him and you don’t even know haha.
Haha, put it like that, he don’t even know haha.

– Aight, besides the Saigon stuff, what else you got going on right now?
I got a couple of artists that I’m working with right now. I got this artist called Veneno, he just got signed to Star Trak. So I’m gonna work with Pharrell and with his stuff. He’s doing the Latin Hiphop stuff. I got another artist named J. Haffa from New York and another artist named Billionz, so we working this whole Beast Music team. That’s the name of the team, the production company and the label. Besides that, I just did a single with N.O.R.E. that’s coming out. Got E-40 coming out. Just did a bunch of stuff with Raekwon for the “Cuban Linx” album. Couple of songs with Ghostface, uhm…just doin’ my rounds in New York you know. Work with all the New York artists, all the up and coming ones. Kool G Rap, I DJ for him and produce for him too. Nature, just got signed to Beast Music so we working with Nature. I’m still a fan of the music, it doesn’t always add to dollars and cents, but it adds to good music, continuing the chain of good hiphop.

– Yeah, you already heard me ask Saigon that question, how do you feel about hiphop?
The current state of hiphop?

– Yeah, especially coming from New York, and with all the South stuff coming up.
Of course everybody in New York is craving that real hiphop music. The problem is, there’s music and then there’s the business of music. You know, there might be great music coming out, but it might not sell demographically all over the country, right now all record sales are down period. Let alone hiphop sales, let alone New York sales. Everything is against New York right now. But this is when the New York artists need to empower eachother, DJ’s need to empower eachother. I cant stand it when New York DJ’s play south record after south record. If you go to the South, they not playing New York records. So why we playing the South you know what I mean? We need to be leaders instead of followers. They had their run, and trust me, I love the South music but New York is where it came from and New York needs to support each other and not get at each others throats. Its way too competitive in New York where everybody wants to be the King and everybody wants their shine. These other regions are collabing and are winning that way. We need to bring more unity and do that.

– And what is your contribution to that?
My contribution is, I constantly release music. I don’t wait for something to get a check, I don’t wait for labels. I get with the artists, we get in the studio, we record and we throw it out there. We just get the fans involved and get the music out there. Its not like I sit and wait for someone to co-sign it or wait for the label to back it up, wait for a budget, wait for this, we throw it out there. A lot of other producers don’t have that mentality. Its like “No I need a check, I need a check.” Me, I’m like, I needa get heard, I needa get music out there. You should have unlimited amount of beats if you’re a producer. And the biggest thing is to get heard. You want people to know who you are and make a demand for yourself. The only way to do that is self-promotion and getting your music out. If I do music with people with skills, that I’m fan of, then I want the world to hear it instantly. So I don’t get mad, sometimes I get mad maybe when it’s a rough mix or something, something that’s just thrown out and I didn’t know about it, which I didn’t get credit for, which happens all the time. But you know, it comes with the territory. That’s my mentality, getting music out there. I got a lot of music out there right now.

– You have a huge list, a huge resume of artists that you’ve worked with. Is there anybody else that you still wanna work with? Besides the people you’ve just mentioned.
I haven’t worked with Jay yet, I haven’t worked with Nas yet. So of course, probably any hiphop producer would wanna have worked with those two of course. Cause I’m a fan and for every reason in the book. Fan and money haha!

How do you pick the artists though? Do they come to you, or do you pick them when you think they’re good enough?
I keep my ear to the streets. I am in a lot of different circles. And I work with a lot of upcoming artists. People know me for finding talent. If you look at the mixtape album that came out in 2004, called Loose Cannons, I had Saigon on there before he had his deal, I had Papoose on there before he had his deal, got my man Veneno on there before he got his deal. There’s a couple other artists on there, that I can’t think of right now, but it’s like 6 artists that’s poppin’ right now, that never had deals back then. Whether it be Jae Millz, J. Haffa, I just work with what’s poppin’, what’s around me and as long as there is an equal understanding and good chemistry in the studio. I’m just affiliated with a lot of people so I’m constantly in the loop. I just enjoy what I do. I probably enjoy it too much where I don’t apply the business as much as I should. People know me, I’m like whatever yo, just vibe, I do my music, throw it out and sometimes I get burnt. I get burnt left and right. Cause these artists that I’ve empowered and helped get their situations, now someone else is in charge, a third party. And like I said, they don’t wanna bite the hand that’s feeding them so they gonna be on some “yes” shit, and then its like “Oh all those songs are out already.” I’m dealing with Sai right now, we released over 30 something records but none of them gonna be on the album cause they’re out already. I dealt with that with Jae Millz, we released like a dozen records and then when his album was supposed to come out its like “but those been out already”. I deal with that all the time. So people really gotta show their love to you and at the same time I understand. It’s just keep making new stuff.

– Would you work with Southern artists?
Yeah, my man Billionz he is from North Carolina, he is signed, he’s crack. So of course. The thing about the Southern artists is, that they have their exclusive teams and exclusive circle so a lot of times its even hard to get into that circle. They got their little cousin that does the beats for them then their manager got producers signed to them, everybody is working out making money in this game cause record sales is not doing it anymore. Every A&R got like 5 producers signed to them. Every manager got 6 producers signed to them. And those are the beats that they’re pushing cause they know they gonna eat off of every track that they land. So if I give somebody a beat cd, and they know I’m gonna charge extra money and they have 6 producers under them, they’re not even gonna bring it to the artist. Cause they know, the artist isn’t gonna add up the dollars and cents to me, they don’t think about the product, they think about themselves. That’s just the money shit that we deal with.

– What about European artists?
That’s why I am out here now. I am staying here while Saigon leaves. Just to get up with the artists to work with. I am trying to take it international.

– You’re not staying for the artists!
Well I’m going to Spain for two days, I got some sessions there, and then I am coming back to Amsterdam for two days and trying to get into some sessions. And of course I gotta come for “Mary”, my bitch you know she’s out here a lot. Hahaha! She’s “smokin’” hahaha! But yeah, of course. I love that hiphop is so big. That inspires me, that when I come out to the other end of the Earth. Seeing people knowing the words to Sai’s songs, knowing some of my records, or even recognizing the music, I realize how big it is. And that makes me wanna be involved with every spectrum of it. So definitely. Oh and, don’t forget to check out