‘Whenever He Wants, He Can Get Priority For Sure’ – ‘Meant To Happen’ Producer Scoop Deville Talks Tech N9ne, ScHoolboy Q’s ‘Oxymoron’ And Old School Upbringing
Scoop Deville’s already-illustrious career has just taken a sudden jump in the past year. Having already charted with successful hits like Snoop Dogg’s “I Wanna Rock” and Fat Joe’s “(Ha Ha) Slow Down”, Scoop’s career blew up to whole ‘nother level after producing two of the biggest West Coast hits that hip hop has seen in quite some time: Kendrick Lamar’s “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice”. The sample-based joints have been an integral part of launching the skyrocketing career of Lamar, someone who, after only one instant-classic album, has already entered himself into the conversation of one of the greatest to ever put it down.
In 2013 Scoop has garnered his production credit under one source so far: Tech N9ne with the song “Meant To Happen” from Tech’s milestone album Something Else. The sullen track is a different take than what he’s normally used to – producing smash singles for some of hip hop’s biggest names – but has given him a different satisfaction that is exclusive to the brilliance he was able to create with one of hip hop’s greatest artists. More than just something to bob your head to, “Meant To Happen” has Tech N9ne reciting harrowing tales of his upbringing with an uncanny eye for detail and ending the lurid tales with a glimmer of hope, a deep meditation on the human condition told from the King of Kansas City’s perspective.
We talked to Scoop Deville to get the background on the track, his production history and what it means to make music with Tech N9ne. Along the way we also gathered a juicy detail about ScHoolboy Q’s upcoming and hotly-anticipated Oxymoron album, as well as the other artists on Strange Music that Scoop Deville wants to collaborate with.
From researching you and looking into you, you’re going to come across the name Kid Frost. Obviously you came up around music which eliminates the “How did you get into producing?” question. My question is, being in that particular upbringing and being around old-school classic shit as it was happening, did it influence your sound and identity as a producer today?
Man it was crazy, because we got to see it first-hand when it was at the beginning stages of what hip hop and west coast music was. It was just crazy to be around that. It goes back to Eazy and my dad, they had this crazy connection with music. He was doing his thing, so I was just kind of born into it. He always had me around at all the shows so I got to meet a lot of the cats that were doing it out here at the time and seen what they were doing and learning from everything: the whole lifestyle, the whole way they carried themselves and the way they made music. Obviously Dre and Quik and people like that were heavy influences on just production, as well as people like Fredwreck and Tony G. Old cats too, you know, like old school west coast shit like Egyptian Lover. My pops, he comes from a crazy school of west coast. He’s not just a Latino rapper, he’s one of the first rappers period out here.
The aesthetic of production has changed and a lot of the discipline that has gone into it has changed since your upbringing. Did you take any old principles or aesthetics from that day and did that influence you coming up?
Oh yeah, definitely. Everything that my dad did at the time, he always had studios in his house. It’s a crazy life. It’s really like all from the beginning of when I was born. I’ve been doing it and I know a lot of these cats. Not only being around them, but watching them on TV and how they were getting down making music.
What are some trademarks of your production?
I would say there’s a little more authenticity as far as like trying to make creative hip hop records. I grew up on a lot of the 90s hip hop stuff so there’s a little trademark, and just even 90s and 80s music, and I like to flip a lot of those records. A lot of those records that are so classic that people don’t even dare to touch them. I love to still keep the original sample-based stuff and I love to play instruments. I just like to make music, however I feel like sampling is a huge part of our American culture as far as music and what it is with a lot of crazy producers and musicians in general.
Yeah, you can build a lot that you would’ve never thought to make around a sample. One thing that’s noticeable from “Meant To Happen” and “The Recipe” is that you have very solid drum patterns, however they’re a little off-kilter and hit in unexpected places along the way. Do you have a philosophy behind your drum programming?
Yeah man, it’s all about having a good rhythm and putting everything together. When I program snares, people say I have a crazy way of making rhythms and patterns and that I kind of just hear things a certain way and build around it. I never quantize stuff. Everything is just off of feel sometimes and there’s never really like a tempo. Sometimes we make natural rhythms that other people aren’t really making. It’s really just being creative and just have fun with it – just going back to what hip hop is really all about. A lot of people get caught up in trying to make things like everybody else. It’s crazy because a lot of these records that are not necessarily sounding like today’s music, those are the ones that are becoming the hits because they’re so special and unique.
“The Recipe” is a fresh record but it sounds golden age.
Yeah. It sounds like it’s a classic and it needed that stamp. It reminds me of Eminem’s “Stan” (sings the chorus). You know what I mean? It’s like one of those crazy, authentic, sample joints for hip hop, but at the same time it’s an amazing piece of music that the group did and it helped them get known in a weird different way. It’s kind of cool. It goes full circle.
And the group that you sampled for “The Recipe”, they’re Twin Sister right?
And they’re for Kendrick. It’s just crazy, there’s two singles that I have, the “Poetic Justice” and “The Recipe”…it’s just crazy to see that and to be a part of a whole new start of this West Coast breath of fresh air.
How did it come to be that you would produce “Meant To Happen” for Tech?
It was actually through a mutual friend and brother of mine and Tech’s. Right when we got together they had kind of already let Tech know what I was doing. We were both fans of each other, so we were feeling each other’s whole steez. I went to one of his shows and we got to chillin’ in his tour bus and kind of just vibed out to music. He had the sickest sound system in there and we were just sitting in there and listening to each other’s records. Tech is just insane dude, just the way he gets down – he’s very creative and unique. He heard my unique way of making music and beats and it was definitely a special connection already off top. It’s cool. I was more excited about doing that than a lot of the projects as far as hip hop and stuff, because I know once it gets in his world it’s just going to get taken to a whole ‘nother level of where my beats should be lyrically. Production wise it’s really dope.
What do you think about Tech N9ne as an artist?
I love him. I love what he stands for. I love everything that he’s done as far as building his name and his brand to his own special movement. It’s like being inducted into a gang or something. It’s just crazy when you’re a part of that whole thing. I got to see it first hand. I’ve been to a lot of hip hop shows and it was definitely unique just to see how they get down and the way their fans have love for them. It’s just incredible and on a whole ‘nother level I feel.
It’s crazy man. I think Tech has built a crazy following and fan base to where he tells and he lets these fans know that he has so much love and they’re supporting what he’s doing because it’s good quality music. It’s amazing. It’s talent and everything sounds great. His whole team is talented. Tech is doing it, I love Tech. Strange in general, even beforehand just to see what he was doing with a lot of crazy features and production, he always stays relevant I feel.
I read in some of your interviews and you said that normally you just give people your beats and that you don’t really tailor them for any artist, was that the case here or did you make it with Tech in mind?
No, actually I just had made that beat and it was cool because the way that I was looking at it was more positive, like “It was all meant to happen, no wonder you came walking my way.” It was more I would say an R&B-type record. The way he took it and heard it was darker – all this stuff around him and it was all meant to happen. For him to actually tell his story and for people to like it and enjoy what he says and it helps people get through with what they’re dealing with – it was special off top. I did the record with one of my friends, his name is Raw Dog, he played the keys on the actual record and he’s helping me sing the joint. We came up with the hook. I did the record at my house. It was just really organically put together and I gave it to him probably in the early, early stages of his record, when they were looking for records. He said that was a special one, he wanted that one.
He has a lot of my records too obviously, whenever he wants he can get priority for sure because I know he’s going to destroy it. It’s not the end of what we’re about to do. We have a good creative connection and a respect for each other as far as his artists too. Kaliko is my dude. I think he’s crazy too. I think his whole crazy entity, if they put it out properly enough, it could be crazy. Dude is insanely talented. He’s a wonderful artist.
Any other artists you want to work with on the roster?
I would say next I’m going to have to get Krizz Kaliko. I know there’s some talks in there with ¡MAYDAY! too, and we’re going to keep it moving.
What is it about Krizz that makes you want to work with him?
He got a crazy style. The way he carries himself and his music. Just everything shines. I just dig his steez and I want to be a part of that. Maybe we can make it bigger and better, where it should be, because I feel like it’s very special.
It must have been cool for you to produce something like “Meant To Happen” that hits on a deeper level. Not to generalize, but typically a lot of your beats are a lot more fun and upbeat.
Yeah, definitely party and singles. Everything I’ve done has been looked at like that, as far as a rapper’s single. I’ve done a lot of stuff in New York too. It’s just crazy how that sound is what I’ve been doing, flipping a lot of those old classic records. Even “Poetic Justice”. All that in general. To reach all these regions is a trip.
You’ve been around a lot of artists your whole life, a lot of icons that we still talk about and read about.
Man, so many: Above The Law, Daz, Snoop, Eazy E…man I could keep going if I really think about it. It’s everybody. Ice T, Ice T’s son. We all have a history from being you kids and around each other. Ice T is the reason why my father is even in the game the way he was with everything he did. It’s just crazy.
Daz is so underrated as a producer.
Oh yeah, he’s incredible. You know what’s cool too is the Bay Area shit too man, I fuck with E-40 and his son, so it’s just like crazy, because we’re like the new generation of music and stuff. Nowadays it’s a trip, you’ve got a lot of different sounds coming from everywhere, but when it’s coming from a special history and lineage, it’s different. Cory Gunz, Peter Gunz son. I fuck with Cory. Those are like my brothers. We’ve got records together and it’s crazy.
What do you see that Tech N9ne is doing that carries the traditions of what some of these classic artists were doing in their day?
His ears are impeccable for picking music and records and continuing to be creative for music, and not just with what he’s already built, but I think he’s taking it to the next level. It’s important to follow these people. He’s an artist’s artist. I mean, people tell me I’m a producer’s producer so like it’s on a whole ‘nother level. We’re not trying to make “Oh, this is going to be a hit smash,” we’re going to try and make something that everybody can feel. It’s going to be a “Dear Mama” or “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”. That’s what “Meant To Happen” kind of reminds me of. Even though those records are so big, it has that special feeling just like those records carry.
How do you compare those two feelings, between being respected by your peers on one hand and then having a popular hit record on the other hand? Is there one that’s more important to you?
It’s good to hear some of these records, because I make a lot of records, not just single-driven. It really depends on who gets the record and makes it special. To hear some of these cool, creative emotions that we were going through at the time to make these records and to hear them in their final stage, it’s cool. It’s like an accomplishment. You’re like “Wow,” like somebody felt this in a whole ‘nother way and it made something come out of them. That’s dope.
If you could make another song with Tech, which sounds like a very probable thing, what kind of production would you like to give him and what kind of song would it be?
I would like to give him something that I would consider “single.” Something that would definitely be a sound specifically for him, whether we continue to build something different. I think he’s capable of many different styles and flipping stuff. He’s got a good ear. Even the stuff he did with Rick Rock back in the day was crazy. Shout out to Rick Rock, he’s another influence heavy. I would say it would have to be a “I Wanna Rock” type of vibe, like a big record, like “The Recipe”. Something real crazy and melodic and puts you in a crazy spell like “Boom!” Like one of those ones.
Speaking of production, is there a trend or fad in production these days that you’re not the biggest fan of?
I mean everybody’s doing their thing and different sounds are meant for different occasions so I’m not knocking anything at all. I think things are moving the way they move. A lot of other avenues, maybe they’re not hip to what’s so new and creative because they haven’t given it a chance yet – they’re afraid. Unlike Tech N9ne though and his creativity, he’s not afraid to take a chance and do something Strange and different. It’s just dope to see those records be the joints that are like the classics. You’re just like “Damn, I didn’t even know it was a classic like that,” but it really is. A lot of these new records that come and go these days, nothing stays for 15 or 20 years like things used to. I look at music a different way. I look at hip hop a different way. I don’t want to make 10 records and have it to where you get burnt out in a week. I want to have these little special records that come out and literally change the game, shake the world. Those are the special ones.
It’s kind of this backwards thing because a lot of artists are like “I need to eat, I need to keep my name relevant”, but if you work hard enough and just put all into one record, you can eat off of that for awhile. I saw this ScHoolboy Q interview where they were like “Why haven’t you put out any mixtapes?” and he was just like “I’m going to be a perfectionist about this.”
It’s not quantity, it’s quality. Obviously we’d love to have all of our stuff playing in full rotation and that’s the goal, to make every non-believer a believer. Tech is a huge inspiration! We could continue to build and do what we do on our own, and that’s what’s dope about music today too: if you’ve got that special shit, you’re good. You just got to put it out there.
That’s very true. I read you say that you’re always honing and learning your craft, so let me ask, what is a sound, technique, or just something in your production that you want to explore but just haven’t yet?
I would say working with this album. Does that count? I want to do an album and actually front to back put it together and do something that has to do with me, because I’m also an artist. I do everything. It would be cool to kind of showcase that in my own production. I have a type of compilation where I bring everybody that I know and work with and make like the next Chronic or something. People ask me why I haven’t done it yet and it’s because I’m always busy working on stuff for other people and I love spreading the music like that, but you always have to do stuff for you too. So I’m like “Yo, I want to do my album for real!” (Laughs) That’s my next goal.
I know you probably get asked this all the time but I want to narrow it down and ask you if you could just give one piece of advice to aspiring producers, what would it be?
Shit man. I always say “Don’t listen to nobody.” I mean it’s been different for me, but I see a lot of cats come and go. You see some cat come to you and he’s on some “Oh I got this poppin’ and that poppin’” and “Look at this chain!” and this and that. You start to really limit yourself as to what you could be. You start holding yourself down as far as carrying yourself in this industry.
If you really have talent and you’re really coming with something special, then you’re going to show it. People respect that. You’re not going to talk about it and brag and boast. Some cats get it twisted. It’s cool. You can do your own thing and feel yourself. I’m not even hating on that, but I would say just carry yourself with respect and respect the people for that craft. If you’re not personally feeling it then don’t disrespect anybody else’s stuff. Everything is everything. Music is a vibe and its special and it’s personal.
What is it like to be a part of this resurgence of great west coast hip hop?
We’ve been trying to be the ones who carry the torch and showcase the sound. We’ve been doing it for a few years. I think it’s just now getting bigger. It’s just crazy because I’ve been doing it ever since I was 17, 18. I had a record out with a big artist. I’m not saying that makes me any different but like I’ve been trying to put this sound and make it worldwide. Like you know, Jay Z rapping over the Snoop Dogg record “I Wanna Rock” and New York going crazy over that record just as much as out here, that’s dope. It’s definitely been a revival, you know what I mean? Kendrick Lamar, it’s getting there. It’s getting known that the West Coast has an important value to music and hip hop.
I’d say The Game kicked it off and was just like “Remember LA? Yeah, we still do this shit,” but with Kendrick and TDE it took on a whole different level. Now you have people looking to the West Coast for lyrics and content and not just hot records.
I would say that they’re kind of two different rappers too. One of them is a little more gangster and the other one is a little more like, inviting. Kendrick makes it cool. He’s not fully talking about stuff that nobody will understand. Some people don’t understand that gang life.
Speaking of TDE, Q said that he’s got you producing some of the shit for Oxymoron. What can you tell us about that?
We got a heater man. We’ve got a heater. Literally just got it in like a week and a half ago but we made like “The one.” I honestly feel that this one is special and I would say his record to be like Kendrick’s “Recipe” or “Poetic”. It’s one of them special ones. It’s a crazy fucking joint. We tied up some more shit and hopefully you hear a couple of them, but it’s not the end of the whole TDE stuff. We’re doing a bunch of stuff with them. We’re supporting the movement and as long as they support what we do it’s all love.
Are you doing anything with Jay Rock?
Oh man I’ve been fucking with Jay Rock for a minute. That’s family. I would definitely love to build some stuff. I know Strange has been fucking with the whole camp heavy too.
Just to wrap this up, what can we look forward to from you in the near future?
Man, just be on the look out for a lot of special collaborations. I’ve been working with a lot of new up-and-coming stars as well as a lot of the classic ones: Raekwon and Busta Rhymes. I’ve got something real special with Busta Rhymes. I’ve been working with a lot of crazy crazy artists and everything that I put out is special. You’re going to be shocked once you hear some of the other stuff we’ve got going and the regions and the words coming from a lot of east coast stuff as well as west coast stuff. It’s cool man. We’re everywhere. International stuff too: I’m in the lab with Tinie Tempah right now. He’s from Britain, an international, crazy star. He’s got a hit record out right now with 2 Chainz. We’re doing a crazy single with him. Travis Barker, be on the lookout for those collaborations. That shit is crazy. We need to get Tech on one of those records because this shit’s about to go ham.
Anything you want to say before we get out of here?
Man, much love to Tech N9ne and the whole Strange family and the movement. I’m just happy to be a part of it. Whatever they need from me is all love. We’re going to continue to build. I would love to build things with them. Thank you to Tech N9ne to coming to one of my shows. He came out to one of my hip hop shows that we did in LA, watched it, so that was dope. Lots of love.
Follow Scoop Deville On Twitter: @SCOOPDEVILLE
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