That’s how Rick Ross describes his labelmate DJ Scream, who’s become one of the most prominent DJs in hip-hop. With his roots in the South, Scream began DJ’ing in Atlanta and never looked back. Since then, his work ethic and ear for music that connects with the streets has catapulted him to the position he plays today for MMG.
With an album to be released later this year, DJ Scream believes he is more voracious than ever. His upcoming project, Hunger Pains, aims to communicate Scream’s desire for more. Scream has begun releasing an interview series in which the album’s featured artists, such as Fat Trel, Que, and Tracy T, share their back-stories. In the videos, we find out what makes each artist hungry for success. RESPECT. recently sat down with DJ Scream to discuss his upcoming album, his own struggle, and how he stays focused.
RESPECT.: Your first single, “Always,” is available now. How has the response been thus far?
DJ Scream: Yeah, man, the new singe is out so it’s exciting. The response has been positive so far so that’s always a good thing.
What’s the tone you’re going for on this album?
I conceived the idea at the top of the year. I was thinking about having a history of accolades and asking myself, “What do you want to accomplish moving forward?” I feel like there’s some complacency that can set in once you achieve success, but I’m still hungry. I decided to work with artists that are just as hungry and not complacent. I used new young producers. I gave everybody a chance to crash my email with beats for like an hour and that’s how I came across MPC Cartel; I fell in love with their beats. I played their beats over and over again.
Are there pieces of your story or your struggle that you’re trying to get across on this album?
Yeah, definitely. I know what it’s like to just have a dream. Thinking about being on that stage or being on that TV screen, thinking, “One day I want to be a part of that.” I really bleed this culture. I’m falling asleep and waking up bleeding this culture. [When I DJ], I really want to make people storm the stage and party.
Besides your MMG family, who should we expect to hear from on the album?
Of course you’re gonna get the MMG family, and you can expect some of my mixtape allies. I had to get Gunplay. If I hadn’t gotten Waka on that “Always” beat man, he would have called my phone like, “C’moon maaan.” But yeah, you can definitely expect some more of my mixtape allies on the album.
You’ve got a heavy, heavy resume on the mixtape side of things. What is the biggest difference in the process for this album?
An album is a little more structured. If I talk to an artist about a mixtape on Wednesday, the joint might be out the following Tuesday just to capture the energy. With this, it’s still taking the normal approach but it’s more strategic this time.
You’ve got to deal with the label component as well. How is that relationship?
MMG and Atlantic are dope partners. If you just look at their history you can see how dope they are. We all move as one. It’s dope to have a partner that believes in you. They know what I do and support street music.
With a resume like yours how do you stay focused?
Seeing young people do it man, seeing young energy. When I see how hard they work I keeps me working. Looking online seeing how theyre working keeps me focused. I gotta keep you interested in me as a journalist and you gotta keep me focused as a DJ.
When can we expect the album?
You can expect it in the summer time. We got some club joint but we also got records that you can ride to and just think.
Last question: you’ve given some young guys a shot on this project, whether it be rappers or producers. Why is that?
Giving an opportunity that’s what it’s all about. It wasn’t a lot of people who gave me a shot. When you hear MMG say “Self Made” that’s real. Not to get too deep into my story but I had to get out there and get it. Some people don’t even respect your work along the way. In Atlanta, you really gotta do your groundwork and grind really hard. I want us to support people that are dope. Let’s push people to become superstarts and megastars again. Music is truly the universal language. Two people who don’t even speak the same language can connect over the music. That’s what I want to get back to.
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