DJ Scream Talks ‘Grippin’ Grain,’ Opening Doors for the Youth and the ‘Homie’ Rick Ross [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
DJ Scream is never too far removed from his roots in the South. With the recent release of his new song “Grippin’ Grain” and its subsequent visual, the DJ -- signed to Maybach Music Group -- pledges his allegiance to woodgrain and coats of candy paint with some help from a fledgling freshman, an upperclassman and a hip-hop headmaster.
Surprisingly, Scream scouted rising rapper Scotty ATL first. “I’ve been a fan of Scotty for a while,” he tells The Boombox. “His grind has been consistent. His music has been consistent and he’s getting better and better. I feel like he’s on his way.”
The DJ happened upon 8Ball next. The Atlanta native has clocked in many years in the rap industry, having released albums alongside MJG since the early '90s, so Scream was floored when the Memphis vet actually signed on to spit a verse on “Grippin’ Grain.”
“8Ball was just one of those moments as a southern hip-hop fan...,” he started slowly. “To get a verse from 8Ball is like... It may not mean much to the average millennial but for Scream, it was like, ‘I’m working with 8Ball. I grew up on him.’”
By the time Scream decided to reach out to Big K.R.I.T., his verse was as good as done. The two had been establishing a strong work relationship for years. The same was true of the track’s producer, Houston native Cory Mo. Much of their connection was rooted in their shared background below the Mason-Dixon line.
“I grew up on a lot of different types of hip-hop and obviously some of the bigger names like UGK, 8Ball & MJG, Big Mike and all that classic southern stuff from the ‘90s...,” Scream shared. “It was really inspired by me hooking up with Cory Mo and him making a real dope beat with the guitar that just speaks to you when you hear it and we built it from there.”
Even the video showcases some throwback images of what southern rap represents for many: big body classic cars, pretty girls and kickback sessions. "Before anyone was in the quarter million dollar car with a quarter million dollars in jewelry... Just flamboyant stuff,” he said with a shrug. “I just wanted to pay homage to what I felt what the essence of the southern sound when I put it together.”
Watch DJ Scream's "Grippin' Grain" Video Feat. Scotty ATL, 8Ball & Big K.R.I.T.
When asked about whether or not this emphasis on his foundation was a result of his rumored separation from the MMG imprint, Scream wrinkled his brow, answering quickly, “It’s not really a separation from the imprint. [Rick] Ross, that’s the homie,” he added. “The affiliation is still there, it’s just that from a major label standpoint with Atlantic Records, they weren’t able to get out a DJ album. It takes a lot of hands-on work. In my mind I was thinking, ‘Well, maybe I could get out a dope project independently.’ If we could’ve made it all the way to the album then you could hear the diversity in the type of records Scream puts out.”
Although specifics haven’t been worked out in regards to a full project in the coming months, there’s no doubt that DJ Scream is beyond capable of envisioning what works sonically, from his latest song to the collaborative East Coast effort between himself, Chinx and Juelz Santana earlier this year. There’s also the work that he’s been knocking out with a number of young beatsmiths -- and fellow members of his HoodRich team -- Spinz, 1K HoodRich and Durdy Costello.
For Scream, it’s always been about paying homage and paying it forward. Neither one is more important than the other -- both equally significant, but providing “the look” holds a special place in the DJ’s heart. “Kobe Bryant was a rookie at one time,” he said with a laugh. “And myself as well. I’ve been on the bill with big DJs and promoters took a chance with me at those parties. So you have to make a way for the young ones, give them an opportunity.”
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