Chicago native, Screalla has been GRINDIN’ in the industry for over 10 years. The military veteran found the motivation to take his hustle to the next level while in San Diego and ever since his Blue Smoke Entertainment group has been all systems go. A chance meeting led him to an opportunity to work with the Diplomats, where he gained many valuable experiences. These days the rapper/producer has a new track out developing a buzz called, “Fake Friends” as well as a couple new projects that will be ready to hit the market in the coming months. We caught up with the man behind the music for an exclusive interview and we quickly found out that he’s Just Gotta Make It. Find out more below…
Parlé Magazine: First, tell me about how you developed a passion for music at such a young age.
Screalla: Coming up, music was just kind of natural to me. I wanted a keyboard as a kid and told my mom and when she got me one, I just kind of went from there. Taught myself how to play and make beats, just kind of had an ear for it, from there I started writing and coming up with concepts that were kind of catchy and all my friends liked it so I started making songs and recording them through my stereo with a mic. I could plug in the back of it and played my beats straight from the keyboard and spit my lyrics and that’s how everything for me got started.
Parlé: Who were some artists that inspired you?
Screalla: Coming up I was real heavy on Wu-Tang for a long time, then when that phase drifted I started listening to Master P and the whole No Limit camp, as well as Cash Money and the whole Hot Boys movement. So in my music there is a lot of Southern influence, which came from those artists.
Parlé: You’re from Chicago, a city with a rich history of Hip-Hop, what would you say is your unique contribution from the city?
Screalla: Well for one, Chicago is a city of hustlers and full of a lot of people that won’t take no for an answer. So in order to come up in Chicago you have to have that mentality that you are better then the next person and you have to believe in your product. If you believe that you have a good product, you will do whatever it takes to get it out to the public, whether its talking to DJ’s, going out and selling it on the street, giving away a few free copies, doing open mics, and anything you can think of to be heard. You have to have tough skin because it’s a lot of haters out here, but just as well it’s a lot of people that will support you if they like your music and if you show respect to the people. We have a lot of talent in Chicago that people are just now starting to realize, but our reality in Chicago may be a bit too much for the public but that’s just how we are really living. So being tough, and having the “never give up attitude” is what Chicago has given me.
Parlé: How’d the name Screalla Brown come about?
Screalla: Well my stage name is “Screalla” Brown is my government name that I have to put on social network sites because sometimes they don’t just accept one name. But I went through a couple different names before I came up with Screalla. I went by Iceberg when I was younger until I figured out someone in the industry already had that name, then I was Lil’ Hemlock, which was a street name I seen at that time, but that didn’t really stick too well so I had to think of what I liked the most, which happened to be money. So I thought about the urban names for money but it was a lot of people using “Scrilla” in their rhymes referring to money so I said I want to use that but how can I make it and spell it in a way that no one has ever done it before. So I played with the letters a little and I came up with “Screalla,” which has the word “Real” right in the middle of it, which tells people that no matter what situation I’m in, I will always keep it real and be honest with myself and others no matter what.
Parlé: It wasn’t until you were in San Diego, California that you say things got more serious and you launched your label, what was it about the West Coast that helped influence you?
Screalla: Well during this time I was in the military and I had the financial means to make things legal and get things up and running. I guess it was that and just the felling that I didn’t want to be where I was at the time and never wanted to work for anyone again after that, that’s when I decided to take things serious because it was something that I loved to do, I was good at it, and it made me happy. It also allowed me the ability to escape all the nonsense that was going on with me at that time in my life. It was like I went into my own world and that really helped me to deal with a lot of things when I got it out in my music.
Parlé: You’ve been in the industry ten years as an artist and producer, that’s a long time, what do you think is missing from your journey for that major move to the next level?
Screalla: Well of course the situation as far as the right home and financial means has to be right, but I have been in the major leagues though and that’s some of the reasons that I have the experience that I do today. Back in 2009 I was in talks with a producer by the name of “Cris Siege” back in the myspace days. I wanted some beats from him and we talked and got that business handled. So what I did was ask him to listen to some of the tracks that I had already recorded just to get his feedback, not knowing that he had just signed a deal to be an exclusive producer with “Dipset” and to be Freekey Zekey’s exclusive producer. So he listened to my material and got back to me and told me he liked what he heard and slowly he started to pull me in to where I was affiliated with Dipset and I became a recording artist under them. That lasted for about 3-4 years before they started shopping for a new major partnership and distribution deal, and that’s when I decided to go on with my plans and run my own company and be successful there. It was a great experience and I have worked with and met a lot of people that I can still call to this day just to check on ‘em and make sure they good.
Parlé: What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
Screalla: Just having the opportunity to say I was with a major rap group as well as being successful with my own company and having my own artists. I have a lot of people that look up to me and I just try to help the people that are really serious about their career and give them some of the knowledge that I have from the things that I have been through. Also, being able to have my own clothing line and modeling company have been highlights.
Parlé: Talk to me about your new song, “Fake Friends.” What were you hoping to do with it?
Screalla: “Fake Friends” was just a song about how I was feeling at the time and just showing how people that you think you can trust really act behind your back. Most of it was a personal experience and I see and hear what people say when they are around me and in some cases I feel that people wish they were me at times just because of how I handle business, how I talk to people, and how people respond to me and want to work with me just because they heard good things about me. So it was more of a personal song but I know that everyone in this world has those type of people around them or have came in contact with people like that. So far it has been doing good and it is up on iTunes, GooglePlay and Rhapsody, as well as receiving Radio AirPlay. I was really just trying to open up everyone’s eyes and let them know to watch the people that are around you because you never know what a person’s intentions are.
Parlé: What are your long term hopes for Blue Smoke Entertainment? I know you have the clothing line now as well, but where do you hope to see it all going?
Screalla: I am hoping to gain some major attention for what I do and so far that is working pretty good. I have produced 2 records for Fiend, formerly of No Limit and I’m just looking to network and work with different artist. I would like to get a partnership deal with a major record company where I still have control of my masters and different material that will be released in the future. I’m just trying to make Blue Smoke is a household name.
Parlé: Any upcoming projects you’re working on?
Screalla: I’m working on my solo project titled Toujours Le Patron which means Still The Boss in French. I also have the Victoria’s Secret 2 mixtape coming out this summer for the ladies. The first one did amazing numbers. I also have a solo project that one of my artist is about to release soon as well. So I have a very busy schedule but I’m always willing to talk to any press or any artists that are serious about their craft and have a very strong work ethic.
You can find his music on iTunes & Google Play by searching Screalla