When I first heard Joe Scudda on wax some 5 years ago (thanks LimeWire), did it first occur to me that this native of Raleigh, N.C. by way of ATL was the dopest emcee to ever pick up a microphone? Probably not. If you were to ask me at this moment who my top 5, maybe even 10 emcees in the game are, would the name “Joe Scudda” easily roll off my tongue? Doubtful. However, it’s not to say that this dude isn’t one of my favorite cats doin’ it right now. With last year’s “ear-catching” performance on the Saigon aided, 9th Wonder-laced “Saved” (from 9th’s “Dream Merchant 2″), I quickly began to take notice of anything Scudda proceeded to bless his charismatic persona with. Whether it’s the “carefree” vibes of the J-Dilla produced “Plastic Cups” (f. Chaundon & Big Pooh) or the leading verse on the Evidence banger “NC to CA” (from EV’s “The Weatherman LP”), there’s no denyin’ that things are only beginning to look up for Joe. With the forthcoming release of Scudda’s solo debut “Fashionably Late” and his scene-stealing verse on the Statik Selektah banger “On The Marquee” garnering it’s fair share of propers on the WorldWideWeb, Scudda chopped it up with WTR for a few minutes last week, touching on everything from his new album to his favorite kicks. Enjoy!
WTR: Sooo….what’s crackin’ Scudda? Let’s get down to business. First things first, let all the folks out there, who’ve been sleepin’ under a rock for say like the last….umm…5 years or so, who you are and what you represent.
Scudda: Joe Scudda doing it outta’ Raleigh, North Carolina, down with the Hall Of Justus. Recently, I’ve just been workin’ man! Adding the finishing touches to my debut solo album, “Fashionably Late”.
WTR: Damn, you must have read my mind, as I’m sittin’ here just lookin’ at my Itunes library. The amount of releases that you’ve appeared on in the last five or so years has been mind blowing! So, I guess that the title for the new album “Fashionably Late” is very suitable,right?
Scudda: Yeah, I got caught up in alot of stuff and I even went through the whole “do I really wanna do this thing?” for a minute..this and that…but now I’m feelin’ great!!! I’ve got a couple mixtapes coming out soon. Plus, I’ll be on tour with Murs, Kidz In The Hall, & Rapper Big Pooh in the very near future and then I’ll be hoppin’ on another tour with Method Man & Redman.
WTR: I know that Termanology is on tour with them (Method Man & Redman) as we speak, you hoppin’ on the train when he gets off? Also, are you flyin’ solo on the tour?
Scudda: Naw man, it’s gonna’ be me and Rapper Big Pooh (Little Brother) and Chaundon. It’s actually Pooh’s set but I’m bangin’ out with him though. However, I’ll be flying solo next year.
WTR: Speakin’ of Pooh and Chaundon (who was also kind enough to send me a track for the forthcoming WTR/SneakerPolitics mixtape), let’s talk about “Plastic Cups” (prod. by J Dilla, appears on Big Pooh’s “Rapper’s Delight” mixtape) for a minute, you killed it on that joint! Call me crazy, but ever since I first heard you nearly half a decade ago (damn, I feel old!) spittin’ on the various Justus League volumes that were floatin’ all over Limewire and various “download” sites, is it safe to say that you’ve stepped it up lyrically over the last year or so? I mean, with “Plastic Cups” I was playing your verse over and over again, like “damn, look at Scudda”!!
Scudda: HaHa!! Thanks man, I’m trying to..I gotta keep up with Phonte!!
WTR: Yeah, that would be a job in itself, but do you feel like you may have mad any small tweaks or adjustments lyrically and with your delivery over that time frame?
Scudda: I mean, yeah…little things here and there, but I feel that I’m still pretty much a “straight-forward” rapper. I’m not really gonna’ try to punchline you to death, so I gotta’ throw alot of wordplay in there with the cadences and stuff.
WTR: You most definitely sprinkled “Plastic Cups” with a few comedic one-liners, but you also delivered another memorable performance for “On The Marquee” (from Statik Selektah’s “Stick 2 The Script”). How’d you end up gettin’ down with one of Beantown’s finest??
Scudda: Ive known Statik for a couple years now, I guess. He’s a real good guy, he just hit Pooh up and asked for cats to do a record. He could’ve just asked for Little Brother, but he extended the invitation to me as well, so that was a great look…and, I LOVE THAT RECORD!!
WTR: HaHa! The Wife and I just got back from Jamaica on Wednesday. Maaan, we played the hell outta’ that joint (“On The Marquee”) while we were over there. Those drums give the track a really nice old school feel. Trust me, I can relate to your lyrics too….all the build up to hit the club and then that sh*t bombs, sometimes you’re better off stayin’ at the crib, I guess. I haven’t checked the production credits, did Statik do the beat??
Scudda: Yeah, he did that joint.
WTR: Scudda, I don’t know if you remember this or not, but you hit me up around this same time last year after reading our (Trav from WYDU and myself) review for 9th Wonder’s “Dream Merchant 2″. In the review, I stated that you outshined Saigon on “Saved”. Your verse on that particular record really made you stand out. I started to wonder, “damn, maybe I been sleepin’ on this cat for a bit”. You’re lyrics for “Saved” were very personal and introspective, what really brought those emotions out? The Snoop vocal sample? Or 9th’s production?
Scudda: Definitely the beat!! The Snoop sample wasn’t even added until after I finished laying my verse, I wasn’t really sure what 9th was going to piece in there.
WTR: Since I mentioned Saigon, let’s hope that your new album hits the streets before his (after all the pushbacks and label drama) and his has been said to be complete for a minute now. With “Unfashionalby Late” what are we lookin’ at for a release date? The Label? And, who are some of the artists and producers that you’re workin’ with on the album?
Scudda: Maan, I hope your right! Sh*t, I think New Kids On The Block came BACK out before I can even put mine out, HaHa! As far as the release date, it’ll be next year sometime. released through Hall Of Justus and somebody else. But I’m not sure If I’m even supposed to say anything about it yet so I wont jinx it. As far as different artists on the album? The H.O.J. (Hall Of Justus) is on there, Evidence and Alchemist gonna’ be on there as well. I also did a joint with my homey Dreamer from this group called Hollyweerd outta’ Atlanta, we did a record called “Trunk Rattle” which is CRAZY dope that Khrysis did the production on. I’ve spoken to Killer Mike and Bun B about doing the remix, so I think that is gonna happen. I’m keepin’ my fingers crossed!!!
WTR: Ohhh Sh*t, I’ll be lookin’ forward to that. Hell, anything that Khrysis does is bound to make the “Trunk Rattle” regardless. Not to mention that his new joint with Evidence “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (f. Phonte, Blu and Will.I.Am) is straight loonie! So, no 9th Wonder on the record?
Scudda: Oh yeah, 9th’s on there along with Khrysis, Alchemist, Don Cannon, E Jones and Evidence.
WTR: The Cannon joint, is that “Nobody Do It Like Us” (on Joe’s MySpace page), that’s for your record???
Scudda: Naw, that’s a record that he leaked. That record came about from drinkin’ in the studio buggin’. It ended up like….yo…lets record!
WTR: OK, so over the years you’ve worked with a vast array of some MAJOR producers in the game from Evidence to Alchemist to Nicolay to Khrysis and of course 9th, who would you say brings out the best in you? I mean, I love your stuff with 9th and Khrysis but…well, let’s say that the “NC To CA” (from Evidence’s “The Weatherman LP” was one of my favorites from last year!!
Scudda: I don’t know man, I got a Nottz record that’s crazy. But I work with Khrysis quite a bit and we really know how one another works. Although, everytime I go out to LA to fuck with Evidence or Alchemist we always come up with something crazy, and we still haven’t got to do a track that we’ve really sat down with and make a complete record. It’s always on some “let’s GO IN!” type sh*t.
WTR: Sometimes that’s the best shit tho’
Scudda: Yeah, that’s how “It’s Gon’ Pop” came about
WTR: Yet, another fitting title
Scudda: That record was funny, I left Alchemist’s house then I drove to the Bronx with Phonte and Pooh cause’ they were doing a record with Buckwild. As soon as I got there Al hits me like “yo, come back and let’s record. So, I jumped on a train that took an hour to get back, along with like 50 wild-ass teenagers runnin’ around cussin’ old people out.
WTR: I saw the “making of” for “It’s Gon’ Pop” of sorts, it looks like ya’ll were partaking in some extra events (greenery, the ol’ dranky drank….) I bet it was fun..
Scudda: HaHa! With those cats? Yeah…always
WTR: You’ve sorta’ become the unofficial 3rd member of Little Brother. Any thoughts of just making an album, just the three of ya’ll? I mean, you can’t front on the chemistry and with all the appearances that you three have made on record together, I’m about to press that shit up myself as a compilation and bootleg the hell out of it….
Scudda: HaHa! Do you? Naw, that will probably never happen. A Little Brother plus Joe Scudda album? Man, I doubt that’ll ever happen.
WTR: Scudda, I’m sayin tho’! The “Plastic Cups” joint? “On The Marquee”? C’mon now..
Scudda: Yeah, me and Pooh do work good together, but I’m trying to do JOE SCUDDA!! I’ve done enough shit with other people, it’s time to stand on MY OWN!!
WTR: No doubt, but there’s no denying that you’ve definitely laid the groundwork for a much anticipated debut….
Scudda: Sh*t, i would hope so, HaHa!
WTR: Even though it’s a little late in the interview by now, what made you wanna’ do this rap sh*t
Scudda: I just started out DJ’n at the crib, which led to doin’ house parties and little center jams. DJ’n then spawned onto rappin’. Unfortunately, my Pops sold all my shit and kicked me out the house. Well, let me rephrase, he said “I hate to see you leave” as he was pushing me out the door.
WTR: Sheeeet, I been there Scudda! So, gimme’ five albums you gonna’ take to the grave with you.
Scudda: Damn, Outkast’s “SouthernPlayalistic…”, Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” soundtrack, Big’s “Ready To Die”, Lynard Skynard’s “Greatest Hits” and of course, my album “Fashionably Late”
WTR: Damn, Scudda! No “Illmatic”?
Scudda: It had to be between my album and “Illmatic”
WTR: Close call, ehh?
Scudda: Yeah, I figure if I’m going to the grave I want to see that I did something with my life, HaHa!
WTR: You almost threw me for a loop with that Skynard shit. It’s funny that you mention the “Superfly” soundtrack, I remember my mom had that on record and I used to scratch the hell outta’ that back in the earlier 90′s on our big ass home stereo that lookin’ back on it…was way to fuc*in’ big for the little ass sound comin’ out of those speakers!
Scudda: Growin’ up in the south and being white, Skynard was playing somewhere, I always got into them. My pops used to play alot of old soul music, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding. I’m really into that old classic and Southern Rock.
WTR: How do you feel about Hip Hop these days? Anybody crankin’ out music (outside the of the Justus League) that you still keep an ear out for?
Scudda: It’s cool, but I just wish there was more of a balance. I wish radio would play Soulja Boy and then play Outkast or Little Brother. Play a little Plies, then maybe play Killer Mike or Murs, play Jeezy and then hit em’ off with N.E.R.D. It’s just that they spin the same 20 records all day, but I wont bitch about it, cause’ I dont listen to the radio anyway…so f*ck it! Plus, most of our fans don’t listen to mainstream radio either so who cares. As for who I’m checkin for? I love the new N.E.R.D. album (“Seeing Sounds”) and Raphael Saddiq’s new album is crazy!
WTR: If you love that N.E.R.D. album, have you ever heard the shit Chad Hugo did with a dude named Kenna that came out last year?
Scudda: Hell yeah! I got a mixtape coming out called “Off The Rip” and I remixed a couple songs of his (Kenna’s) and made em’ my own. Plus, I figure its promotion for the both of us.
WTR: (Kenna’s) “Sun Red Sky Blue” better be one of em!!
Scudda: Yeah, that was one…and its CRAZY!
WTR: I was about to say, you better put out a mixtape soon or I’m gonna’ do a best of Scudda to accompany this interview…which I may do anyway!
Scudda: I was gonna’ drop it next week but I had to put it on pause cause of the tour. I just took alot of songs that wouldn’t be really considered “Hip Hop” that I like and put verses on ‘em I kept the original hooks and tied the songs together. It’s not just random verses either, they are complete songs.
WTR: Are there any other artists outside of the your camp that you wouldn’t mind workin’ with? Who inspires you nowadays?
Scudda: There’s a gang of “up and coming” people I like and have relationships with that are dope, Hollyweerd, Yelawolf. Killer Mike motivates me, Skyzoo, Torae…
WTR: Yeah, how dope is Killer Mike’s “God Is In The Building”? The sample for that song is a perfect match, eerie as hell!
Scudda: (Killer Mike’s) “Can You Hear Me” is some motivating shit! Oh, and I’m feelin’ The Cool Kids and Pacific Division too!
WTR: On the topic of Killer Mike, do your remember WitchDoctor? His debut album kinda’ reminds me of the Killer Mike’s most recent album. Matter of fact, he and Killer Mike kinda’ played the same role in the whole Outkast “circle”.
Scudda: The whole Dungeon Family was real real dope, their compilation album was soo hard and soo slept on!
WTR: Scudda, you a big sneaker-head?
Scudda: Even bigger than my bank account allows me to be..
WTR: Sh*t, me too..it’s a sickness. I just picked up the Jordan XXIII’s in grey/black colorway (after sleepin’ on J’s for the last few years, nothin’ really blew me away) and I had to give in and shell out some dough for those CLASSIC fluorescent green/grey AirMax 95′s. What’s your favorite sneaker of All-Time?
Scudda: It’s gotta be the Air Max 90′s, but sneakers nowadays are soo outta’ hand it’s gettin’ hard to keep up with all the releases.
WTR: What do you think of the new air max 90 infrareds, the currents?
Scudda: I love em’, but I’m on a mission to find the “Tiffany Edition” Dunks!!
WTR: Good sh*t Scudda. Once again, thanks for takin’ the time out to sit down with WTR, we’ll be patiently waiting for “Fashionably Late” and happy trails with the forthcoming tour! Any last words for the masses?
Scudda: Thanks Homie! Parting shots? Yeah, please support THE ARTISTS YOU LIKE!! www.myspace.com/joescudda
1. “On The Marquee”-Statik Selektah f. Little Brother & Joe Scudda
2. “Lovin’ It”-Little Brother f. Joe Scudda
3. “It’s Gon’ Pop”-Alchemist, Evidence & Joe Scudda
4. “Raw Life”-Foreign Exchange f. Joe Scudda
5. “Big Game Hunters”-Cesar Comanche f. Tajai & Joe Scudda
6. “On The Line”-The Away Team f. Rapper Big Pooh, Chaundon & Joe Scudda
7. “…I’m A Star”-L.E.G.A.C.Y. f. Chaundon, Median & Joe Scudda
8. “Selfish”-Chaundon f. Jozeemo & Joe Scudda
9. “Scars” (Cut Me Deep)-Rapper Big Pooh f. Median & Joe Scudda
10. “Plastic Cups”-Rapper Big Pooh f. Chaundon & Joe Scudda
11. “Out Of Town”-9th Wonder & Buckshot f. L.E.G.A.C.Y. & Joe Scudda
12. “Jus’ Chillin”-Big Dho, Buddy Klein, Chaundon, E. Jones, Trae & Joe Scudda
13. “Fan Mail”-DJ Babu f. Little Brother, D-Brock & Joe Scudda
14. “Bring Ya’ll Back”-Pete Rock f. Little Brother & Joe Scudda
15. “Smashmouth”-Jean Grae & 9th Wonder f. Edgar Allen Floe, K. Hill & Joe Scudda
16. “Silly Girl”-Murs & 9th Wonder f. Joe Scudda
17. “NC To CA”-Evidence f. Defari, Rapper Big Pooh & Joe Scudda
18. “Saved”-9th Wonder f. Saigon & Joe Scudda