How to Blow Your Career and Alienate Your Family, featuring Scott Storch
Our sibling publication Miami New Times just published a long article about hip hop/pop producer (and LA resident) Scott Storch. Writer Gus Garcia-Roberts tried to interview Storch for this account of the spiral into drug-addiction and debt that destroyed his once-burgeoning career, but the producer canceled on him at the last minute and allegedly became enraged when he learned his estranged mother was talking to the New Times:
Illustration by Jason Seiler
New Times reporter Gus Garcia-Roberts flew to Los Angeles to interview Scott Storch, but the meeting was cancelled when this publication refused to excise references to his mother.
The night of the thwarted interview, Yolanda Storch says, Scott called her in a rage. He accused her of trying to revive her cobwebbed singing prospects. "I told you never to talk to the press," he seethed. "You're going to ruin my career, and you're thinking only about furthering your own."
"You've made me sick to my stomach," she kvetched. "I won't be able to eat my dinner."
Scott shot back, "I won't be able to eat my dinner until the article comes out."
More highlights (lowlights?) from the article:
[Storch's mom] Yolanda is, to put it one way, quirky. A Catholic convert of Lithuanian-Jewish descent, she's obsessed with all things Italian. Especially Al Pacino. She calls the abstract prospect of meeting the actor "the reason I get up in the morning." For her and her gifted son, nothing has turned out the way it should have. She watched Scott blow his fortune in spectacular, infamous fashion, giving millions of dollars in diamonds and cars to his girlfriends, which included America's holy trinity of floozydom: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian.
"Scott always told me he had plans to do certain things for the family," she says. "But then I guess things got bad before he got around to it. I read about all these other rappers' mothers -- P. Diddy's mother, Kanye West's mother, Jay-Z's mother. Their sons all took care of them." Then Yolanda worries, "If he reads this, he would be very angry at me. He's not going to ever give me anything."
In 1992, a young music scout named Derek Jackson was at a North Philly block party when a very strange group took the stage. They called themselves the Square Roots, and they played acoustic hip-hop. "You had this big, heavyset Afro-wearing kid on the drums; an old rapper; a really young rapper; and then this little white guy on the keyboard," Jackson describes, laughing. "But once they started to play, it was mesmerizing." Jackson brokered them a deal with Geffen Records. It was the commercial birth of the Roots, one of hip-hop's longest-lasting bands, now toiling nightly on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show. The white boy on the keyboard was the group's sonic brain: Scott Storch, the human jukebox. During practice, bandmates liked to hurl song titles at him -- anything in the Top 40 in the past 20 years -- and watch his fingers spring to action. "Scott's mind is a computer," Jackson says. "His memory is his greatest gift."
In 1998, Philadelphia rapper Eve introduced 25-year-old Storch to Los Angeles gangsta rap demigod Dr. Dre. Storch moved to Los Angeles to help produce tracks for Dre's Chronic 2001. The music Storch helmed -- most memorably the addictive piano symphony behind the hit "Still D.R.E." -- sealed his status as a top prospect in hip-hop production. After working with Dre, he partnered with beatmaker Timbaland to co-write Justin Timberlake's smash "Cry Me a River." Though a millionaire by age 26, Storch already showed symptoms of an allergic distaste for bill payment. In 2001, the posh Le Montrose Suite Hotel in West Hollywood won a decision against him for nearly $3,000 in unpaid room bills. Following the megahits with Dre and Timbaland, Jackson persuaded Storch to hoard his golden touch for himself. In 2001, Storch returned to South Florida to set up shop with his own company, Tuff Jew Productions. Says Jackson: "By then, we knew he could be a superstar in his own right."
Yolanda once read that her son returned to South Florida to spend more time with her. That's not the way things turned out. He'd send for her and his grandfather two or three times a year, shuttling them by limo to Café Avanti or Smith & Wollensky in Miami Beach, where he'd sit with a silk shirt undone to his abdomen, shades blocking his eyes, and a new girl by his side. "There were always bodyguards at the table, and they'd listen to the conversations," Yolanda recalls. "Ninety percent of the time, he was in a hurry to get done with dinner because he would say so-and-so was waiting for him at the studio." Once his spending began to get out of control, she tried to persuade him to slow down a bit, to maybe buy a Burger King or two. He didn't listen. "Ma, this is my image. This is what's separating me from other producers," she remembers him replying. "They expect this from me."
Nowadays, Scott is in Los Angeles, attempting to make a comeback on Dr. Dre's upcoming album, Detox. Asked to handicap his grandson's shot at regaining fame, Julius doesn't hesitate: "I think his chances are very good. Perhaps if he stays away from those jerky broads, like Paris Hilton or Lindsay --"
"Daddy, don't say that!" Yolanda screams, suddenly emerging from the bedroom.
"Lindsay Lohan is a jerky broad!" he continues, undeterred. "She's a lesbian and --"
His daughter clasps a hand over his mouth. "Don't say that! Scott's going to get angry! He's going to disown us! Just say, 'I hope Scott gets his career together and becomes the world's top producer again.'"