Scott Storch Details Going From Leaving The Roots To Making Hits With Dr. Dre (Video)
In Hip-Hop, Questlove and Black Thought have become household names. However, going back to Organix and the earliest album lineups of The Roots, there is arguably another. Scott Storch has become one of the most prolific, top-earning music producers of the 2000s. Beginning in 1999 with Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E.,” which extensively featured the keyboard line from the musician/producer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Scott would go on to craft #1 hits for Terror Squad (“Lean Back”) and 50 Cent (“Candy Shop”), as well as hits for Beyoncé, Remy Ma, and Pink.
Speaking with B-Real in his Smoke Box, Storch chronicled what compelled him to make his exit from The Roots and step under one of music’s biggest wings, thanks to a Roots crew collaborator.
“In 1992, I joined a group; I was a founding member of The Roots. I was a keyboard player. In those days, I didn’t really [understand my role]. I’m just a keyboard player…[who] happens to be writing all the songs, all the music, this and that,” admits Storch around 8:00, who made his exit in the mid-1990s. He would play on and produce many Roots crew albums that followed, as recently as 2004’s The Tipping Point. “I kinda felt like I was just labeled as this keyboard player—this white guy who played keys. I love The Roots, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a band. I wanted to be a creator and I wanted to be in the studio. I would watch guys like the [Butcher Bros], I watched guys like Andy Kravitz, and all these people,” he says of the Ruffhouse Records co-founders and their onetime percussionist, who also worked with Cypress Hill. “Back in Philly, at the time I was doing The Roots, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to just be a creator.’ I remember I had a girlfriend at the time [who told me] ‘You’re gonna be the Pete Best of The Roots.'” Pete Best famously exited The Beatles before the “Fab Four” sparked Beatlemania.
“For a while, it was getting scary,” admits Storch, to his girlfriend’s point. “My first producer gig [was with] Busta Rhymes. The same week I got one with Capone-N-Noreaga. Me and Busta made the song ‘Bladow!!;’ it was crazy. He was the first believer.” However, while visiting Los Angeles, California, Scott would get his big break from an artist he’d once helped get on. “The big change really came into play when another person who I knew from Philly who was a female rapper [got involved]. I put her on her first record, with The Roots: Eve.” Storch credits himself with adding the MC to 1999 Grammy Award-winning “You Got Me.” “She was like, ‘Yo, I got signed to Dr. Dre and Aftermath [Entertainment]. You were always cool with me, so I’m gonna put you with Dre. That changed my life, overnight.”
As Storch recalls, “The next day I was in with Dre. I didn’t have any DAT tapes of my beats. So I just sat down, played the piano. An hour later, I had a hotel room key and a big stack of money. I was ready to work on this [upcoming album], The Chronic 2000.” That album, released in late 1999, would eventually be renamed 2001. Scott Storch would be credited on “Still D.R.E.” and “Big Ego’s,” before additional Aftermath work with 50 Cent, The Game, and G-Unit.
Elsewhere in the interview, Scott recalls interning for Ruffhouse, details his drug problem, and chronicles his recent comeback.
#BonusBeat: Scott Storch “keystyling” recently, tapping into some of his hit-making, including “Still D.R.E.”:
Last month, The Roots confirmed they’re recording the band’s 17th album.