Written By Shirley Ju
Edited By Lyric Dodson
September 19, 2019
It’s not every day you get to meet an artist who can sing, rap, produce and engineer all on their own, but somehow, Skrizzy can. On top of that, Skrizzy is one of the kindest souls I’ve encountered, industry aside. With the way he carries himself in public and in private, you’d never guess that he’s had to persevere and overcome one of the most dangerous and debilitating diseases known to mankind: cancer.
Hailing from Inglewood, the Los Angeles native began by saying, “To know who Skrizzy is, you have to know who Young Scrap is — and that gets difficult.”
Young Scrap (aka Skrizzy) was a kid who went viral for his Music We Can Fu*k To tunes, creating just that: R&B vibes for the bedroom. Now, at 29 years old, Skrizzy stands mature, poised, confident and business-savvy, while keeping the same warm, charming and inviting personality that audiences fell in love with in the first place.
“I wanna turn my Ms into Bs. I’m just trying to elevate myself with my branding. I try to create a different type of aura around me. Before, I was really ignorant. I was young. I was fighting. I just didn’t care. I still kind of don’t care, but I just won’t do the ignorant stuff that I was doing before.”
Born Mark Anthony Greene, Skrizzy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which consisted of a tumor in his right thyroid gland — two things that prohibited him from using his vocal chords.
But he sang anyway.
“It was all I had. So I’m recording in my living room, I don’t have a voice. It’s very easy to get in your head. It caused anxiety, depression, all that good stuff. It got to the point where I was unable to control it, but when I work on music, I forget it. Like there’s nothing there.”
Skrizzy recalled the times he had to go to chemotherapy, being forced into isolation for 10 days. They gave him a pill, walked him out the back door of the hospital, said “Don’t touch anything,” and left him to find his own ride home. In those moments, all he had was himself (and Twitter), and the studio in his crib.
“I have a light strip under my desk and three lamps inside of my room. I control them and depending on my mood, it reflects the lighting — actually believe it or not, that heavily reflects what I’m recording in that room. When it’s just myself, I sit down and listen to hundreds and hundreds of different beats and I set my mood. Sometimes when I’m doing my R&B, candles might get lit too. It all depends where my head lands that night.”
Forget a 9-to-5, most of his sessions will begin around 7 or 8 p.m. and run through the night until noon the next day. When it comes to work ethic, it clearly runs in the family.
“My dad is the reason I was signed to the independent label and why all those people were backing me. My dad’s like, ‘What do you wanna do? We’re gonna go get it done.’ That’s where I get my attitude from. Both of my parents are from the military, so they gave me a get-it-done attitude. If you don’t get it done, that’s on you. You didn’t do it right.”
From internet artist to starting his own record label, Forever Cool Committee, Skrizzy’s success and knowledge of playlisting and streaming platforms is partly due to TuneCore, an independent music source where anyone can pay $10 to upload their music. Amidst the chemo & recovery stages, Skrizzy still managed to drop a project called Trill And B, which clocked in at over 15 million streams (12M on Spotify, 3M on Apple Music) even with his “voice sounding crazy.”
“You have to be able to do everything. You can’t do some things. You can be a great rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, but that doesn’t make you great — until you can do all those things great as equally as you can. The-Dream, Prince, they are great. When they go inside of the studio, they’re gonna come back out engineered, recorded, produced by themselves. They don’t need any of us there. That’s what I call greatness, being able to come and leave with a product with absolutely no help. Not just a product, a great product.”
As for 2019, Skrizzy isn’t settling for anything less than great.
“I need plaques; I need billboards; I need brand and name recognition. 2019. Not any later, not in a few years. Not if the game plan falls through. I got something special in store for the people. I’m going back to what helped me broke through and go viral in 2011. I figure that will still work right? [laughs]”