Chip Off The Ol’ Block: A Conversation With Frost & Scoop DeVille
A young triple threat follows in the footsteps of his West Coast pioneer father
It’s been over four decades since hip hop’s birth, meaning that the culture has spanned multiple generations. Chip Off the Ol’ Block, MASS APPEAL’s new interview series, features hip hop fathers who now find their sons in the family business.
Originally going by Kid Frost, Arturo Molina, Jr. became a pillar of Latino hip hop, dropping 15 albums since his first single in the mid-1980s. His son, Scoop Deville, has been placing beats since he was 15 years old, producing hits for Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes. “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice,” the singles he did for Kendrick Lamar, are two of the tracks that made the MC a household name.
Both generations of the Molina family gave us some great behind the scenes stories and personal anecdotes when discussing their lives in hip hop. Check them out below.
Everybody should know who you are, but for anybody who doesn’t know the West coast legend Frost, give them a quick history lesson.
I’m Arturo Molina, Jr. Publicly known as Kid Frost. I consider myself one of the pioneers of West Coast hip hop. My first record dropped in 1986 on Ice-T’s label, which was Electrobeat Records back in the day.
How many albums have you done to date?
On the album part of it, I’ve lost count. I kinda know how many songs I have in features and my own recordings, and it’s almost 700 cuts. We just put 300 songs up on Pandora.
Congratulations, man! That’s major.
It’s a blessing, man. The lord just continues to let us shine and let us work. Without him, I couldn’t do none of this.
Did you steer Scoop towards music as a kid?
We knew Scoop was going to do the music stuff, man. He wanted a computer with FruityLoops on it at the age of seven or eight [years old]. He would be telling my homies and rappers that were coming to the house. We had a little side window, and before they could even get to the front door, Scoop would be out there by the window, like, “Listen to my beat.” He had just a little Radio Shack thing and he’s like, “I’m a producer,” and everybody would laugh. I would be like, “Don’t laugh. That’s what real dreams are made of.”
Once he knew he wanted to pursue music, he had to really hone his skills. During that time he was still acting up school and not really doing that well. So, I had to do what my father did to me when I was young, and that was take away what I really loved until I got right. I took all of the equipment away from Scoop and I know that made the change. He was still in his room beating on the bed, beating on the seats, beating on anything he could bang on. I told him, “When your teacher sends me back a paper saying you’re doing good in school, I’ll give your equipment back and then some.” That’s how it all started with Scoop. He became a straight A student from that. I gave him back his equipment and went and bought him some more equipment. When he was about 15 years old he produced that track for Baby Bash. It got marginal radio success. It was that song “Mamacita.”
They started taking him real serious when I took him to the Snoop Dogg video with Cypress Hill. That was a precursor to him getting in the game for real. During that time he had the Hot Dolla record, which was a track they took from my son. They went and recorded it without my son and he had to hear it on the radio. We’ve had some real eye-openers and now he knows how to step in the industry, how to make sure his money is right.
Where did he get his name?
The name Scoop Deville didn’t even come from anything hip hop. It came from him being a left-handed first baseman and scooping up baseballs. I coached him from little league all the way to all-stars.
How does it feel to see your son succeed in the game?
He’s a good humble kid. He came from good humble beginnings. He’s got love and admiration from everybody in the game from being a good kid. I feel good about that. Being that good kid, he’s been blessed to work with some of the big ones. I feel like I did a good job of raising my son.
Well, congrats on that too!
Yeah, especially when you hear the war stories. I got friends that tell me about their sons in prison or a couple of my friends lost their sons. I feel their pain, but by the same token, when I see the lifestyle choices they made… Whether it was because of the limited options they had or whatever it be, they were choices. So, yeah, I’m proud of that kid.
You’re also a big baseball fan, right?
I love baseball, bro. I had an arm like a rocket as a kid. I was blessed to get to play on military bases all over the world. My step-father was in the military and so we lived in Panama and Guam, and I was good enough to play in the the all-stars and we got to travel. I’ve always loved baseball. It’s always been a good outlet.
What should people know about Scoop?
I’ve been doing this for a very long time. I come from a family of musicians. My father, who brought me into the world, taught me his trade and how to be a man. But if goes back to my grandparents and everybody that was around me giving me the tools to learn, whether it was dancing or acting or in the studio or picking up any instrument. I’m a musician and for people who don’t know, I want them to know I’m a well-rounded producer and that I come from that lineage, that history.
You are a triple threat—rapper, DJ, and producer—but what would you go with if you could only do one going forward?
I would say producer because it involves all the elements. Being a producer, you kinda got to know a little bit of everything. Not just how to make a beat, but how to conceptualize a certain topic or bring an idea into song form. You can’t just teach that either. It’s something that you have to learn over the years by being a fan of music and understanding theory.
What were some of the first tracks you ever produced?
I had a Yamaha keyboard that I got from Best Buy. It was like a blue keyboard that was like $500 or something like that. I started sampling with that and messing with my dad’s music equipment. I had signed a record deal when I was 15 and I had a whole recording studio at my fingertips. So, I was doing stuff for my dad, and trying to figure out how to rap and produce all at the same time. I was originally rapping. And some of the first stuff I produced was for my dad and me.
Talk about some of the biggest hits you’ve had?
Man, I’ve got to work with a lot of dope people. Some of the artists were new and up-and-coming, like when the whole world first got put on to Kendrick Lamar, it was with the two singles I produced, “The Recipe” and “Poetic Justice.” That was super tight that they were using my production and everything we’ve built to help start the foundation for Kendrick.
Who are some of the people your pops introduced you to?
When I was a kid I hung around with Tony G a lot and I watched him make beats. People like Ronnie King, who is a dope piano player. I got to see DJ Quik make beats. I wasn’t introduced as a producer but as my dad’s son. He would always bring me around. As I started doing more serious work, he would take me to take CDs to everybody. He introduced me to Snoop Dogg and was like, ‘Yo, you gotta mess with my son. He got crazy beats.”
Sure enough, people would take the time to check my stuff out. I grew up around some crazy awesome cats. I got to watch Roger Troutman work when I was young. I soaked in a lot of dope energy from a lot of greats, bro—watching people make records front to back, top to bottom, and using every technique. There is really no right or wrong way to create a record, just keep the expression pure. That’s what I try to keep in everything I do. We come from that school of classic, authentic, timeless music.
What are your favorite songs by your pops?
One song I really love of my dad’s is called “Homicide.” This record is crazy, it’s like a story and it’s real uptempo. It’s like a movie, like something you would hear in Juice. He’s telling a story about a young kid getting gunned down, and people robbing and killing, and innocent people getting took. It’s about real LA gangsters and the riots and stuff like that.
There’s one I’m rapping on called “Rock On.” It was on a record called When Hell.A. Freezes Over. This is the last album my dad worked on with Eazy-E before he passed away. It was a meaningful album to him. I got a chance to feature on that as a young kid. I was like nine or something.
Damn, he has so many good songs. It’s hard for me to choose. I’m such a big fan of his music. There’s one record that really get’s overlooked, it’s called “Tombstone.” It’s a really dope record. It’s really sinister and gangster. They don’t make music like this no more. I don’t care who you are or what kind of gangster, there’s nothing that feels as raw and as scary or as gangster as this record felt. Still to this day, you get a vibe from it. Man, they were really channeling and creating this sound that no one can imitate. The Above the Law, grimy, gritty, grungy shit that we can all appreciate.
Me and the homie used to bump “La Raza” and the rest of your dad’s debut nonstop when we were kids.
That’s so tight. I like that song “Smoke” from that album, Hispanic Causing Panic. “Stepping into the 1-double-9-0, just a decade away from the year 2000, a new style, a new rhyme…” Yeah, that’s my shit right there. People know my pops represented that gangster Chicano rap, but they don’t really know that he was one of the first rappers from the West Coast, period.
We spoke when you were getting ready to put out the Get Busy Committee album. What happened with that?
We basically gave the whole album away for free. Which isn’t something we wanted to do, but it ended up happening because one of the group members wanted it out right away. Patience was running out. We pretty much threw out that Get Busy record and it was all the stuff we had. It was an unfortunate situation, but I think we all kinda grew and learned from it. It wasn’t really something we were gonna do all the time. It was a special project we wanted to experiment with. Maybe it could happen in the future again.
You still work with Ryu [of Styles of Beyond], right? Like you produced on his last album.
Some of those records we did while we were making Get Busy, so there’s nothing current that we did together. A lot of those were in the vault.
Scoop Deville’s Top 5 West Coast Producers
1. DJ Quik
2. Egyptian Lover
3. Tony G
5. Avila Brothers