Hey, You’re Cool! Scholito
"I wanted to create something that could sound as powerful as Roc-A-Fella"
Music journalists tend to meet artists in the strangest of ways, but I can safely say that my first meeting with Scholito was by far the most interesting. The Philly rapper’s story gives him enough cool to shine through this whole column, but let me get back to our first meeting: I called my good friend Freeway to tell him I had a new pack of oracle cards with his name on them (I moonlight as an oracle card/tarot reader. Just ask your favorite rappers about how I predict their futures). He said, “Cool” and drove up from Philly to come see me and brought Scholito along for the ride. Freeway is never one to introduce artists he doesn’t believe in 1,000 percent; in fact, he initially didn’t even tell me that Scholito is an artist. Neither did Lito for that matter.
So I did readings for the both of them—Scholito’s were intense. That’s when I learned he was a rapper and without Free or Lito even passing me music, I needed to hear what he had to say. Here’s a guy who’s had an especially tough life, yet found solace through his music. Rapping since a teenager, Scholito creates music that reflects both his upbringing and the world at large. He continues to champion for human rights, as his brother is currently serving a juvenile life sentence. As he continues his grind, Scholito (alongside Freeway and producer S.Frank) started the New Rothchilds movement (arguably their own take on the earliest days of Roc-A-Fella) rooted in both quality and upward mobility. If that isn’t cool, then I don’t know what is.
You just got back from Made In America. How was that experience?
One word: amazing. For starters, I had the opportunity to hang around two of my biggest inspirations for hours [Jay-Z and Beyoncé). How many people can say they saw Blue Ivy in her element dancing with her mother and father watching her aunt Solange perform from V.I.P? Just to say I get to hang around the people that inspired me all my life is incredible: Lenny S, Guru, Emory Jones, Elliott Wilson, Angie Martinez, Ty Ty, B-High and so many others. I got to soak up priceless game from the OG Emory about culture. Just those things alone were fulfilling. But to say that I was able to perform for the first time on the Tidal stage, brought out by the legendary Philly Freeway. A person couldn’t pay for that type of platform. Only God’s work can pull those types of experiences off.
How did you and Freeway meet?
S.Frank and I met Freeway through two well-known and respected OG’s from Philadelphia. They were instrumental in the initial connection of the relationship. But it was up to S.Frank and I to make something of the situation. I had a record titled “No I.D.” that S.Frank produced and we wanted Freeway on the record. So we met up in the studio and played the record and Freeway loved it. After Freeway featured on that record, S.Frank and I went on to produce over three albums’ worth of music for Freeway. Now the bind we have is much more than music; it’s family oriented.
Your latest video “Rags 2 Riches” really details the come up, and anyone can relate to it. How has that come up been for you thus far?
So far I feel these past few years I’ve been able to reach a larger audience and build great relationships. I have also had financial gain, which allowed me to get much more done as an independent artist. More platforms have been extended to me to showcase my talent and tell my story. My résumé has been growing in much more areas other than music. I’ve been able to do some activist work in regards to human rights: I marched in Baltimore for Freddie Gray, spoke on the ACLU panel at the Brooklyn Museum for Juveniles serving life sentences—my older brother is a juvenile lifer.
You’ve had so many trials and tribulations coming into this game. How have you not become discouraged?
I have countless trials and tribulations, but I’ll just name a few. I had no father figure in my household. My brother was given life at the age of 15 (in 1993), my grandmother was brutally murdered in 1997, I was raised in poverty-stricken environments, etc. The reason I have not become discouraged is because my loved ones that are still around are rooting for me. My brother is still fighting a juvenile life sentence. My grandmother’s spirit is still cheering me on; my mother is still living in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods. So if I don’t break the cycle, it may be this way forever. I am the closest thing to success that my family has ever seen. Also my drive and passion will not let me give up. I love what I do.
What’s been the best advice Freeway has given you in this business?
The best advice Freeway has given me is whether you’re with a major or an independent, work like it’s your first impression every time. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. No matter how successful you may become, always keep God No. 1 in your life.
Explain what New Rothchilds is.
New Rothchilds is a brand/movement that I created back in 2013. I’ve always been inspired by Roc-A-Fella Records growing up, [so] I wanted to create something that could sound as powerful and feel like a lifestyle the way the “Roc” did. So the only other powerful family I was aware of was the Rothschilds family. But I wanted to follow different practices, so I put “New” in front the “Rothschilds” and removed the “s” that came after the “h” to make it my own. I immediately designed a logo that’s considered the “Coat of Arms” for the family. The logo entails three knight heads, a shield, two lions on each side of the shield, and a ribbon with “Veni, Vidi, Vici” written on it. The knights represent nobility/honor; shield represents protection; lions on both sides represent all kings at the table (equality); the ribbon reads, “To come, to see, to conquer.” My brother S.Frank a.k.a. Black Moses came on board early on to help me build it, and my big brother Philly Freeway linked soon after to create a powerful triple threat. Freeway being a legend and someone who inspired S.Frank and I growing up was a dream come true. New Rothchilds is S.Frank, Freeway, and myself. Collectively and equally, all three of us are the reason that New Rothchilds has built so much momentum.
Do you hope to be throwing up the Roc anytime soon?
That’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I believe that the universe works itself out. I can honestly say it definitely feels right if it does happen. If that opportunity presents itself, it’d shift the culture and be game-changing.
What is the theme of your next project?
My next project is titled Power. This project is about how people can use their power the right way or the wrong way. I definitely touch on racism and how it’s affecting our country right now. This project is also targeting the issues we have in our communities as minorities: drug addiction, incarceration, bad parenting, the misconception of what is cool to the younger generations, the struggle of mankind with the devil, sacrifice. I’m very honest and vulnerable on this album about the support I never received in my city; when you look at the cover, the colors that pop out are black, blue, and green. If you look up October 15, 1966… that was a very powerful day for the minorities and white people that stood for human rights in our country. Also October 15 is my actual birthday.
What’s the environment of hip-hop like now in Philly? Is it still guided by a Meek Mill sound or people just doing their own thing?
I believe Meek Mill has definitely created a lane for a lot of the upcoming rappers in Philly. As far as the sound, I believe Philly artists are doing their own thing. There are a lot of hot artist on the rise coming out of Philly right now. Meek Mill is definitely one of the reasons why the light is shining on the city right now though. I love where Philly stands in the music business right now. I just feel I have a much different story to tell coming out of Philly that the city has never seen. Also I feel I’m bringing something to the game that they haven’t felt in a very long time.
Real talk, where is the best place in Philly to get a cheesesteak?
In my opinion, the best places to get cheesesteaks is Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies, Max’s Steaks, Ishkabibble’s, and Pagano’s Steaks!