Sam Scarfo was riding a wave of success a few years ago. After competing and winning on MTV’s Fight Klub, a freestyle rap battle competition, he was personally courted by then Def Jam president, Jay-Z, to join one of the biggest and well known rosters in hip hop music. Aside from joining arguably the most prolific rap label ever established, Scarfo was also making a name for himself in the streets by working with the legendary Mobb Deep.
Legal problems soon followed, and the man who was once in such high demand seemed to literally vanish from the public eye. Now, he’s mapped out a path of what he hopes will bring him out of the shadows and into the limelight once again.
What happened with the Def Jam deal?
When I got signed I was in a group and I happened to have my own label that was signed through Def Jam, Gorilla Pimp records, and at the time we had some charges with the law and I think that Def Jam probably didn’t want to get involved in anything like that because they had just got finished with the whole Murder Inc situation and I just don’t think they wanted that type of problem on their hands. Not to mention I had been signed by Jay-Z and he was leaving Def Jam and it wasn’t like I got signed by anyone else up there, so it was like once he left it didn’t make much sense for me to stay. After my studio got raided basically everything including my budget had been frozen up, so once Jay left it just made sense for me to be independent.
How long have you been doing the independent route now?
Well I didn’t really jump right back into music after I left Def Jam, I still was recording, but I just didn’t put anything out. I really haven’t put anything out in the last 18 or 19 months, so it was cool because I just had extra budget money which allowed me to still keep my same office and my same studio, I just kept things going I just didn’t put anything out.
When is the new street album, The Package, you’ve been working on going to be released to the public?
Right now we’re looking at the end of July and I’m also putting out a gorilla pimp mixtape around the same time. I got a lot of music that hasn’t been heard that I know a lot of my fans probably want to get a chance to hear, so I’m going to ready to seize the streets.
And this is going to be the first major drop for you since you got the Def Jam situation?
Yup I haven’t put anything out, so this is like the first major drop for me. another thing though is I make a lot of music with Mobb Deep, so I kind of wanted to wait until it all made sense with Mobb home, 40 Glocc is my homie and now that we’re all back and making music it makes a lot of sense to start putting music out now.
What kind of style of music can fans expect to get from you on the new material?
Grown music, but still street at the same time. I’m still the same Sam Scarfo, just a little more grown up.
What about features and productions? Can fans expect anyone on this new street album?
We got 40 Glocc, the whole Gorilla Pimp family, Prodigy who I’m also working with on a new Mobb Deep and Killer Mike record right now, Sha Stimuli, and I got other features that I really don’t want to let out the bag just yet. My new company is Gorilla Music and that’s what we’re going to release the album through.
So, what’s your plan as far as singles and promotion go?
Actually I’m picking at singles right now and deciding on which singles I want to go hard with on the radio and internet. I’m planning to have a listening party pretty soon in the New York area and maybe I’ll have one in Atlanta too just to see which records I want to actually go with.
Do you still do the freestyle battle raps things like MTV’s Fight Klub, or is that something that you’re not interested in right now?
I’m personally letting go of it even though I know a lot of fans know me from Fight Klub that’s not really how I got on. That was more of a way for me to put my own money up and get back on top of getting hot at the same time with MTV doing it. The reason why I don’t really do the battle thing is because I don’t have a passion for it, but I know I can do it well. I’m still a fan of it and all the dope battle rappers I see out there, but it’s just not something for me unless I’m getting some real live money for it.
Michael Mahon attended Clark Atlanta University, where he majored in journalism. He is a regular contributor to SoJones.com and has written for several other online and print publications, including Ballerstatus.com, Allhiphop.com, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and INsite Atlanta. Aside from writing, he is also a huge sports fan and film buff.