Curtis Scoon: Queens Reign, Part 2

AllHipHop.com: How

did you learn how to write screenplays?Curtis

Scoon: I wanted it so bad I made it happen. I bought a software package called

Final Draft. I went to the village and started to buy a screenplay, but I ended

up going home and writing it. Word got around that I was writing. There’s only

1 degree of separation between me and everyone in Queens. Soon, Fat Cat and his

family asked me if I wanted to do his movie and I said, “Sure.” I finished

the movie, titled 1013, which is New York Police code for officer down.

I finished it two weeks before Jay was murdered. I finished that script on October

15 and October 30, I had bigger things to worry about. All of that had to take

a backseat. AllHipHop.com:

Can you explain who Fat Cat was and what he did in Queens? He was the central

figure between Ethan Brown’s book Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent and

the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler.Curtis

Scoon: Fat Cat was a drug dealer/gangster/ghetto entrepreneur. He was the biggest

name in his time in the ‘80s. When he got busted in 1988, he had been in

prison three years. They seized $20 million in drugs and 30 people were arrested,

and he was running that from behind bars. And that’s 1988 money. His name and

his right hand man, Pappy Mason, their names have been in countless rap songs.

Nas, 50, his crew they all reference them. The thing about Cat that distinguished

him from all the other people who made money, is the activities that went on with

his crew, such as the killing of a police officer, people connected to them were

accused of that. AllHipHop.com:

So what’s your screenplay touch on? Curtis

Scoon: Well, I wrote my screenplay different. I didn’t want it to be a hood story.

So I wrote it as a parallel drama, one Black, one White [and] one urban, one suburban.

You see the drama when the worlds collide. I am talking to someone from Queens

about producing it now, but I don’t want to say names. It’s a natural fit for

the film and the actor. It’s a natural fit, not so much as an actor but on another

level. If you are going to do a Queens story, the biggest names come out of Queens.

You have to include those people because Fat Cat had so much of an impact on the

whole game, whether it’s streets or entertainment world. It’s only right it ends

up with someone from Queens playing a pertinent role. We are trying to put it

together, get the lead actor, the director and so on and so forth. AllHipHop.com:

Queens Reigns Supreme touched on a lot of this. At the beginning of the

book, Ethan Brown thanks "The Snake Charmer," which is your alias. What

role did you have in the book? Curtis

Scoon: It all started with my Playboy article. That was key for me. It

did two things. It shed a lot of light on the Jam Master Jay case and silenced

all my critics. It gave me a voice. I’ll be forever grateful to Chris Napolitano,

the executive editor of Playboy. He gave me a shot and he’s a classy dude.

In that article, I demonstrated my ability to penetrate a world journalists normally

don’t penetrate. I would get people to talk who normally wouldn’t talk. I was

supposed to do the book with the writer of the Playboy article, but we

didn’t see eye to eye. And then I was supposed to be the author with another writer

and that didn’t work. So I called Ethan Brown and pitched the idea, and he and

his agents made it happen. So that’s why he dedicated the book to me.

I brought

the idea to him because I wanted to do something that would help raise Fat Cat’s

profile, which would help get my movie made. Just the way things are, I knew it

would take more than Fat Cat’s story. Peoples’ memories only go back about

five years, so I came up with the idea to put all the guys in Queens in one book

and then to connect it to Hip-Hop. And that’s what would make people go out and

buy it anyway. And most people appreciate more about the first half, the street

guys than anything else in the book. AllHipHop.com:

Why weren’t you more prominently featured in the book, in terms of getting credit?

Curtis

Scoon: Alot of my friends ask me the same thing. When you work with someone on

something, compromises have to be made. I feel Ethan did a great job on the book.

But I didn’t want to put my name next to his words. I didn’t want to be accountable

for something he did. There were certain things in the book, I wouldn’t have done.

And because Ethan is the author, it went in. There were other things he listened

to, but I may have done it different. For instance, I wouldn’t have used all of

the court papers. To me, pictures were more valuable because that’s what our market

wants. Little different things. I am comfortable with it. Every time Ethan gets

a dollar, I get paid and it did what I wanted it to do. It raised Cat’s profile,

I am writing for magazines. In fact, in the December issue, I have an interview

with Fat Cat in King Magazine. AllHipHop.com:

How did you get Fat Cat to talk to you? He hasn’t gone on record since like 1985

about anything. That’s a huge co-sign for your project. Curtis

Scoon: They don’t call me “The Snake Charmer” for nothing. The thing

is, getting stuff out of people is not overwhelming them with what you want, but

having an understanding of what they need. I saw Cat had a need to set the record

straight. He never did it before because he never trusted anyone. He trusted me.

He got a chance to speak to someone who wasn’t going to twist his words and make

him look bad. A lot of guys don’t trust the journalists. I cosigned for Ethan

a lot, and that’s why a lot of people spoke to him who normally wouldn’t have,

people in prison and everywhere. AllHipHop.com:

Do you have a part in the TV series being developing with Tommy Mottola off of

the book? Curtis

Scoon: That was put in place after I connected Ethan to a good friend of mine

named Ed Woods, who’s the VP at Casablanca. Ed Woods pitched it to Tommy and set

it up. I’m still waiting to see what happens with that. I have a lot to contribute

to any project, like the stuff I am doing with BET. AllHipHop.com:

What stuff are you doing with BET? Curtis

Scoon: I am consulting them on the series American Gangster. I found out

about the project and contacted Nelson George who is the executive producer of

the show. I found out they were doing Fat Cat and naturally I wanted to get involved.

I was hired as a consultant and I helped them put together a show, and I haven’t

seen the final edit, but they got a lot of access through my participation. Anyone

who has dealt with me has benefited. Ethan is a good writer, but he was reviewing

CDs before Queens Reigns Supreme. I think it’s done a lot for him. He’s

done a lot for me too, but nobody has given me any handouts. I earn my keep, I

come looking to do business and that’s how all of my relationships have been.

I did one small piece for King in the summer and I addressed the snitching

fad. I pitched them on the Fat Cat story because with his new found relevance

in pop culture through the book, the Tommy Mottola situation and the BET series,

I thought the time was right and it worked for me. They were interested in the

story, I got them the exclusive and I wrote the article. There’s a lot of pictures,

rare pictures of Fat Cat, Pappy and Supreme. It’s gonna be a nice layout. AllHipHop.com:

So what’s next, beyond the Fat Cat script? Curtis

Scoon: I am developing a show for one of these new mobile networks, 20 minute

episodes that you can watch. I am producing a documentary titled From Queens

Come Kings, that’s going to show the influence of the streets of Queens and

the substantial amount of artists who came from Queens, who in turn had an influence

on pop culture. It all started in Queens, from the Godfather hats to the big rope

chains. Rappers like LL and Run would copy that style and people would emulate

them everywhere. The whole bling thing is a progression from the big rope chains.

The genesis is right there in Queens. People talk about the Bronx being the birthplace

of Hip-Hop and their correct, it’s no lie. But when you look at old tapes of Bambaataa

and Grandmaster Flash, they look like Parliament or The Village People. What you

see in Hip-Hop has Queens all over it. When you see the Lost Boyz and dreadlocks

and all that, it’s from Pappy Mason. There’s so many little things the rappers

picked up from these guys and presented it to the world. A

funny story: The original name of the book was Hell Up In Hollis. I told

Ethan I didn’t think that would fly. He got his book deal under that working title.

I suggested we call it From Queens from Kings, but they said it sounded

too much like King of Queens and they brought up brand confusion. Then

I named it Queens Reigns Supreme, and Ethan added the subtitle of ‘Fat

Cat, 50 Cent & The Rise of the Hip-Hop Huster.’ When

I suggested the name, it was my answer to KRS-One. I like the song "South

Bronx" but no, n***a, Queens reigns supreme, get it straight! The song was

hot, but it wasn’t the truth. And he built his career dissing Queens. Nothing

personal, but that was my little response. It ain’t Knowledge Reigns Supreme,

[KRS acronym ], it’s Queens Reigns Supreme. Don’t forget it.

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