Scrapp DeLeon is a busy man. When he and HollywoodLife first connect, he’s riding in a car on the way to a music video shoot. It’s one of his rare free moments. Since refocusing on his music career, the Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star’s schedule is packed. At the time, he’s a few weeks away from releasing “No Lie,” a new single that marks the next era in his career. As we talk, one question gets asked – “What prompted this recommitment to music?” – before the Zoom calls drops. Shortly after losing Scrapp, he arrives on set and is off doing five different things.
“Last time we spoke,” he says to HollywoodLife, a few days later, when he’s gotten a chance to sit down and chat, “you had used the word ‘recommitted,’ and I actually loved that word because a lot of people don’t know that, music was first.” Younger audiences know Scrapp from his time on LHHATLA, from his on-screen romances, and managing his brother SAS. Older hip hop heads will remember Scrapp as part of Da Razkalz Cru, a rap group that found some success with the song “So Fly” in the early 2000s. Roughly twenty years later, and after a couple of seasons on LHHATL, Scrapp has shifted his focus away from the cameras and back onto the mic.
“J. Cole did a song and called it ‘Middle Child,’” Scrapp says when describing his sound. “And he explained how he was caught ‘in-between.’ That song right there was, I think, the best way he could have actually described it, for our position. Cause, I’m not old. I’m not 21-year-old-either. But I’m a little seasoned and marinated. And I remember when J. first came out, he dropped his first album at 26. He said he was a lot more mature than the other artists that were around him that were dropping at 19 and 20, because he dropped at 26. And that’s how I feel.”
“I’m a little older,” continues Scrapp. “So I feel like I’m a lot more mature, and I’ve been through so much.” Music, he says, is about “how you tell the story,” and Scrapp has a story to tell. “It’s just about how you tell it. And see, you know me, I’m true to myself. I’m not trying to be nobody I’m not. So it’s just, you just want to hear a real person. You want to hear my story? You’re going to want to come listen to my music. You feel me?”
His story is a unique tale, marked with tragedy and triumph. “I got my first record deal when I was 12 years old with my brothers,” says Scrapp. “We were in a group — Me, my younger brother Sas, and my other brother Dolla. God bless, he’s dead. And, powers that be, it didn’t work at this label. So we went to another label, and just in this time, I worked with real heavy hitters. Just to name a few, I hate name-dropping. I don’t like doing that but, Puff [Diddy], Missy Elliott, Chamberlain, T.I., Swizz Beatz. So many people, at this time.”
“So, again, it didn’t work at that label either. As a teenager, that becomes a little discouraging, you follow me? 12 years old, 13, 14, we get accustomed to this and accustomed to that. That’s a little discouraging,” says Scrapp. At that point, his mother made an executive decision to take the group independent (“My mom has always been a hard worker, a hustler,” he says) and “make it happen,” as Scrapp puts it. In 2007, Dolla found success as a solo artist, dropping his debut single, “Who the F-ck Is that?” Tragically, just when Dolla’s career was taking off, he was shot and killed in 2009.
“His untimely demise, like I said to somebody earlier, it messed me up,” said Scrapp. “I was really truthfully traumatized. Because, not only did I lose my brother, I lost my best friend. So I really just kind of backed away from the music. It was just like, ‘I’m cool.’ Cause it was just too much. I feel like we shared as a unit and together. He felt me. So it’s like, ‘I’m cool on that.’”
Though he stepped back, Scrapp never walked away from music – not completely. Like his mother, he also kept hustling, especially when Love & Hip Hop called. “I no longer wanted to do what I was doing, in the streets anymore. I said, ‘you know what, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to really do my music,’” he says. Unfortunately, Scrapp’s first appearances on the VH1 series came as phone calls. During seasons six and seven, he was incarcerated on a drug charge. After serving his sentence, Scrapp was released in 2019, where he was promoted to the LHHATL main cast. While the VH1 series helped raise his profile, Scrapp says that his focus was never 100% on reality TV.
“It filled me in positioning. To position not only me, my little brother, my mom, my children’s mother, and my whole family,” he says. “It was a wonderful opportunity, but the whole time, that was not where my heart [was]. That’s not what I was aspiring to be. And so, now this year is actually my last year contractually with Love & Hip Hop. And I know with Love & Hip Hop, when you give your music to them, they kind of control the narrative and choose how they want to depict your music or your image. And I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be in complete control of my artistry and my creativity.”
Scrapp’s first goal, now that he’s in control of his own narrative? Prove that he’s more “hip hop” than “love.” When asked what he thought the biggest misconception viewers might have about him, he was frank. “I’m going to be completely honest and, I hate to say it because this is my music. But when people hear my music, it’s like first, they’re shocked that I rap because of how I carry myself and so on and so forth. And they’re shocked even more because I’m actually good,” he says with a confident smile. “You know what I’m saying? I’m actually good at it.”
Fans can see for themselves on “No Lie.” Produced by Mykemadedetbet, Scrapp draws upon his past experience, rapping, “I use to trap right out of my mama house / No lie / Gotta half a million vacuumed sealed / Right up under my mama couch / No lie.” The plan after “No Lie” is to “feed the people,” as he puts it. “Put the music out – single, single, single. And then when I feel like it’s time to do an album, I’ll most definitely do an album. And I’m going to release the album on my record label, Natural Born Leaders Entertainment, and keep pushing.”
In 2021, Scrapp is in “self-ownership mode.” It’s “time to go” with his music career. “That’s where the recommitting came into play. It’s time. And I felt like I not only owe it to myself but my family and my loved ones because this is something we started as kids.”