How often do you see one man willing to shoulder the burden of returning the West Coast back to Hip-Hop immortality? The man that has the talent and the gumption to take on such a venture has yet to even sign a major record deal. Scipio (pronounced SIP-PEE-OH) has thus far shown that the backing of a major label is not exactly necessary to get mainstream appeal.
Flaunting endorsements from K-Swiss, Meoshe, and bleeding the confidence that is required to make a dent in this industry, Scipio has laid his cards on the table and dares anyone to re-up. In a recent discussion with Allhiphop.com., he discussed his burgeoning career, how he plans to bring California Hip-Hop back to the promised land, and big plans that lie ahead, all of which includes the currently incarcerated Ras Kass. West Up!
Allhiphop.com: Your name seems to be attracting a lot of attention in California. Talk about what you have got in the works right now.
Scipio: The mixtape came out and it did real good, man. The single (Work Wit It) was playing on Power 106 and 100.3 The Beat (Los Angeles), which is big because Im unsigned. You never see unsigned artists come out like that, you know?
Allhiphop.com: Ive heard on several occasions that 100.3 The Beat has all the makings of a bureaucracy. How tough was it for you to get the single on the air, especially being unsigned like you previously mentioned?
Scipio: Ive been hustling for a minute, dog. I hosted a Sunkist tour, and it was held in L.A. Sunkist hired The Beat one year and they hired Power another year. A lot of people know me through the streets, like when me and Ras (Kass) used to go the station when he had his radio interviews. We used to go up there and freestyle and s**t like that. But, I knew a lot of people that I met on my own when I was hosting the tour. They liked me as a person on top of what I did as an artist. Its just building those relationships, and those relationships are the most important.
Allhiphop.com: That is very true, because you never know who has the juice to get things pushed through at these major radio outlets.
Scipio: There are a lot of good people up there, though. They show a lot of love up there.
Allhiphop.com: What type of buzz and responses have you gotten personally from the single?
Scipio: Ive gotten big responses from the single, man. We are in the #2 market out here in L.A., and for them to be spinning my s**t is big. Im dirt hustling, man, me and my folks. I think the most spins I reached in L.A. was 20 spins in a week.
Allhiphop.com: That should not be taken lightly because you do not have the major machine pushing for favors from the programming directors.
Scipio: Thats a blessing.
Allhiphop.com: Do you have any words you can offer about the new upcoming album?
Scipio: I got a banger Im about to beat muthaf**kas over the head with real soon. Probably around June or July, somewhere in there. Im working with some multi-platinum producers also on some real love s**t.
Allhiphop.com: My publication interviewed Ras Kass sometime ago, and he said He's not my protégé for one, he's his own man, he's just a good cat that ain't a snake, I try to keep good company around me, good energy. I'm really happy man 'cause he got the talent, and he ain't gotta fall into the pitfalls that I fell into.* Describe the real relationship between you and Ras, because I am sure a lot of people just think you came up underneath him.
Scipio: Ras is like my brother, man. Hes a real ni**a, and hes going to shoot it straight. He aint the type of ni**a thats going to get his s**t off and keep a ni**a stationary. He always put me up on game, and hes been like a mentor to me. He never hid anything from me, and every time we used to go out and do shows, he dropped change in my pocket. Thats on some love s**t. He basically showed me the ropes to the other side of the game. He shed some light on a lot of my perspective on the industry. Our relationship goes beyond Hip-Hop, man. We own a company together, so we are going to get this money, work together and all of that.
Allhiphop.com: Do you think the West Coast is in a slumber in terms of the quality of Hip-Hop they are putting out right now?
Scipio: I dont think we are in a slumber, but right now its all about rebuilding. Like down South, they are just starting back getting hot, and they have been doing their thing, banging them out. They are staying unified and all of that. You have to reinvent yourself every so often, and Hip-Hop itself has to reinvent itself. Thats what we are doing right now. Weve got a pretty cool grasp on it, and I know all the young spitters thats coming up. They all know me as well, so were about to build it back. No one man can bring the West back by himself. Its taking unity, and thats what Im seeing right now, so its a whole new West, you know what Im saying?
Allhiphop.com: When you finally get that major deal with the multi-million dollar budget, what artists and producers are looking forward to working with first?
Scipio: I havent hashed that out yet, but Im the type of person that likes to grow with people, you know what Im saying? The people that showed me love when I didnt have s**t, thats who Im looking to f**k with when I got s**t. Of course, I might need some big name production, but I feel like the people Im dealing with can give me that right now.
Allhiphop.com: I am sure you are aware that Aftermath is the biggest label on Earth. The roster just got deeper with the signing of Eve and Busta Rhymes, and alongside 50 and Eminem, they look like they cannot be stopped. Do you believe that you can thrive in that type of environment?
Scipio: They are the Lakers or the Yankees, take your pick. Id feel ultimately comfortable in that environment just for the simple fact that I bring my own light to the table. Im different. Im not your average guy. Everybody has their own story to tell, and I have mine. Aside from that, its been shown that if youre surrounded by successful people, you in turn will be successful. Its all in due time, man. The only way truly talented people dont succeed is if they quit. I gave up a college scholarship for football for this rap s**t.
Allhiphop.com: What exactly are you trying to do to bring a new perspective and light to West Coast Hip-Hop?
Scipio: Basically, my music is going to speak for itself. Everything under the sun has been said; its just about how you say it and how you are going to tell your story. Im trying to bring about the new West Coast with unity and love amongst us West Coasters. We have to rep for each other, man. Ill reiterate that Ive seen a lot of unity thus far in the game. Its about me getting my foot in the door, and once I get comfortable, Ill provide ways for my homeboys to eat, my family to eat, and put jobs in the street.
Note to the fans: For those who wish to purchase Scipios mixtape, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Excerpt taken from Ras Kass: Get Free Or Die Trying Pt. 2, Allhiphop.com, February, 2004.