Scram Jones - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman
You may not be able to put a face with the name Scram Jones, but all of that should change in time. Hailing from New Rochelle, New York, Scram Jones has become the hottest producer in the streets the past year. His work with Jae Millz, Tragedy Khadafi and the Terror Squad has put his name on the map and started a nice buzz in the industry. With his debut mixtape release "Loose Cannons", Scram looks to build upon the hype by showcasing his triple threat skills of DJing, producing and rapping. Scram recently took some time out to speak with MVRemix about his new mixtape as well as his history in this game.
MVRemix: Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York.
MVRemix: What was it like growing up there through the years?
My childhood was ok, it was a regular one. (Laughter) I was definitely doing the music thing, and got into break dancing. I was collecting tapes, and all of that, which really got me involved in everything. I used to go to elementary school and cats used to have the cardboard and were break dancing, so that was a big influence.
MVRemix: What are some of your first memories of Hip Hop music itself?
Listening to the Fat Boys and Run DMC. Later on Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap, so all of the old school cats. It was definitely the break dancing era that got me into everything. I was really young at the time, but I was really into it.
MVRemix: How did you first get your foot in the industry door?
I dropped a white label in '99, and I don't think that was in the industry door at the time, but it was the first tangible thing I put out there. But the first real project that I did was the D&D Project, that I did with my man Venom, so I jumped on two songs on there. Then after that, the Tragedy album was the first official one I produced on. But on the mainstream level, "No, No, No" (Jae Millz) was the first song that really introduced me to the mainstream and the radio.
MVRemix: You were in a bunch of competitions as well, like the Tommy Hilfiger one. So what happened with that?
That was actually a demo competition. A friend of mine used to produce and engineer for me, and he sent a bunch of my stuff in without even telling me. So the next thing I know I get a call saying I am the grand prize winner (laughter), which was kind of bugged out. They told me the prize was to appear in Hilfiger adds to promote myself as well their clothes, so I was in a couple of adds. I traveled a little bit, performed at South Beach, got some free clothes, but that was about it. I wasn't a big Hilfiger fan anyway, they were hot back in high school. (laughter) They actually had a label and tried signing me but I wasn't trying to be that all American boy (laughter), I don't think that would have been a good look.
MVRemix: Definitely not (laughter). Who was the first artist you ever sold a beat to?
Probably The Pharcyde. I did a remix for one of their songs and I think it was just a white label for DJ's. But that was my first check.
MVRemix: What was the feeling like when that happened? Where you like, "This is it, I'm on my way to making it now"?
It just opened the doors and showed me that it could be done and I could make money off of this. I knew someone working at their label and they gave me the acappella and told me I had one day to remix it. And at that time my equipment was down and something broke, so I went to my man Venom's crib and did something super quick. I didn't even think it was that hot, but they ended up picking it anyway. I don't know what that meant, if they were just messing with some wack ass producers or my shit was hot and I just didn't know it. But at the end of the day it showed me that I was capable of actually landing something and taking it seriously.
MVRemix: You DJ, produce, and rhyme, but which one do you think you are the best at?
Wow, that is a good question. What do I think I am the best at?
MVRemix: Yeah, just personally.
Damn, I don’t know. I think this is an element that a lot of people aren't aware of, but DJing wise, I think if someone put me on the spot I could impress them a lot more than other stuff. But I don't know man. Right now beats are overshadowing everything else I do, so at this moment I would say beats. But I think I have room to grow at all three, and I take each one seriously. But I really don't know, maybe I am a little too humble. But I think I am on an equal level and the same at all three.
MVRemix: Do you think people are more critical of DJ's or producers who also rhyme?
Yeah, most definitely. Because if you are a producer, you put 100% into production. So if you are a producer and a rapper, you are doing 50/50, so people figure he is only putting 50% into it. Or he is trying to piggyback and follow the next dude. Because some people think its just a gimmick, or some people think because he isn't doing it full time and he can't bring as much as someone who does do it full time.
MVRemix: Was it tough coming up in the Hip Hop game as a white guy?
Yeah, most definitely, I get that all the time. But at the end of the day, you really don't need eyes for music. So if your music is good, you get respect no matter what color or race you are. But on the artist's level, being in battles and doing that, they always want to throw that in your face. It's already bad that some people are getting introduced to me as just a producer, not knowing that I rapped before. So they are automatically going to be skeptical and wonder why is this guy trying to rap when he is a producer. And on top of that he is white, so they will be like, "Oh, he is just reaching". But they don't know that I have been doing this all my life and it's my passion. And in reality I don't care what people think. I am not even pursuing it that hard on the business side, I am just doing the beats and rhyming for fun. But I'm gonna leak it out and when I'm done with my project I'm definitely gonna come out with it. But it's not like I'm trying to jump the gun and I'm trying to shout out my demos, I'm just doing what I do and I really don't care what other people say.
MVRemix: I did an interview with Tragedy Khadafi when his album dropped last year and he said that you were growing into a prolific producer. So how do you think you have grown over the years from being a beat maker to a producer?
When you are trying to master a craft, and are trying to sharpen the sword and just get nice and nicer, you are just going to evolve naturally. No matter what, you are going to get nicer. Back then when I first started I didn't have a computer, so I would just dump my beats onto a CD and maybe they weren't mixed good enough. So then I got a computer and it helped me tweak things on the technical side. Just working with artists has helped, as I'm sure they have learned from me too. Also working with a variety of equipment has helped. So its just a natural thing to get better at it, especially if it’s an everyday thing.
MVRemix: Do you think cats slept on the work you did on Tragedy's album last year?
I definitely think it didn't get heard the way it should have. It was definitely a great album and it should have made a lot more noise. That had to do with the business side and the promotion, but the people that did hear it, love it. But I wish more people could hear it because there is definitely some fire on there.