Originally from Penn Hills, John Wilson, also known as hip-hop artist Mista Scrap, is Pittsburgh’s next artist to break out and become a national artist. He has been on the hip-hop music scene since he was nine years old and has not looked back since. He was inspired by Run DMC and Cool J and other legends in the game from back in the day.
Wilson’s music is about life because he keeps it real and creates his own style. He raps about things that he has been through. He takes it seriously and it is not a joke. He also taught his son and younger brother to rap.
“Hip-hop music is fabricated and no one is creative anymore and the music is watered down,” he said.
“We were coming up there were so many different levels of hip-hop music and now the music is like drugs and rock and roll. We’ve lost our way over the years. Hip-hop music is supposed to be from the heart and about things you’ve exactly experienced in life. Now artists are rapping about whatever they could of and it’s become fictional. I think I fit in the category of a lyricist. I can’t knock artist like Soldja Boy because I remember back in the day we used to wear our pants backyards and listen to Kris-Kross. Everything can’t stay the same and everyone has to eat. At the end of the day, you do have to send a message to the people and give people a vision. My music is definitely music that you can party and dance to, but it also gives you a message. Most artists in the game who have messages in their music also have longevity and that’s what I want.”
Wilson is 35 years old and his father raised him to speak his mind and tell the truth.
“If a man can’t take constructive criticism, then that’s on him and if he gets mad there’s nothing I can do about that. I don’t pretend and I don’t shake everyone’s hand. I don’t tell everyone their music is good if it’s not. I do understand that we are all from the same city, but we have to have talent to put the city on the map. I keep it 100 and those people who know longer talks to me are the ones that pretend. I don’t bite my tongue for any one,” Wilson said.
Currently Statement Records has a mixed tape out called “Burgh Game” Mixtape Vol. 1 and various artists are featured on the mixed tape. Statement Records is the label and they write their own lyrics. Everything is done in house and it is a great big family. They do not collaborate with too many other artists because everyone does not have the same goals and drive as Statement Records.
“We do videos, graphic design, music productions and a whole lot more. KMK Designs is also a part of our crew and he’s very good at what he does. I also went to school for graphic design and received my degree in Visual Communications. Along with KMK Designs is Go Getter Media Group which consists of me and Philly Joints who I haven’t worked with in a long time, but he is still down with us. I want to see myself as an entertainment mogul in the next five years. Proud to Be Local will become national if I have anything to do with it. We also have gear that represents Statement Records and Proud to Be Local to the fullest. One thing is for sure and that is this is bigger than Pittsburgh. We travel all over the globe and do shows in other cities. If you’re going to make it big in this game, you must get out of Pittsburgh and expand your product to the masses. I want to be the person who opens the door for others coming into the game.
“You must be patient in everything you do and work hard. Just because your boys in the hood think your music is tight, you must send it to the proper people to get noticed. The industry is hurting because the Internet has made a lot of artists lazy. When I was growing up we had to make the beat and it was expensive to buy the equipment. Now you can do everything with the click of a button. The question I asked most artists today is what are you doing with your music once it’s complete? Are you selling or creating it just to get by? If you are serious about your music and trying to get something out of it, you must send it around the country. You have to leave your area and get recognized. I do more performances out of town than I do in Pittsburgh. Irv Gotti told me if you can knock down Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Cleveland and other cities, then you are going to make something of yourself. It’s all about marketing and promoting because Pittsburgh is a hater town. A hater is somebody who is jealous of your success instead of giving you something positive. What they don’t understand is that a hater does nothing but motivate a person like me. If I walk into a room and I start to see people whispering, then that means I’m making noise and that’s a good thing. Don’t let a hater make you mad because then they win and that’s not good.”
Wilson is not trying to be the best hip-hop artist, but he works very hard and he has been around music for a long time. When he listens to certain CDs, he can pick a hit right away.
“Our slogan is “Pittsburgh Stand Up,” but I don’t buy that. If you stand up, then you are just standing still. You must move and get out of this town and make it happen. To get support you have to get support and I get more support from cats out of town, then I do here in my own town. I support other artists’ shows in Pittsburgh, but when they don’t come to mine, you better believe I’m blasting them on Facebook the next day. Everyone wants to perform at our shows, but they don’t support us so why should I let you perform? I became more popular from supporting other cats, than from being on stage. It’s insane how some people think in Pittsburgh,” said Wilson.
Mista Scrap is bringing the community together in a way that is very unique and original. Statement Records and Mista Scrap are presenting the Proud to be Local Concert Fest, Sept. 4, from 5–10 p.m. at Club 21 in the Strip District featuring local hip-hop artists from Pittsburgh. The Proud to be Local After Party is from 10 p.m.–2 a.m. at Club 21, located at 108 19th St.
(For tickets and information about both events, call 412-434-6806. You can contact Mista Scrap at StatementRecordings.com and check his Facebook page at Mista Scrap.)