Darryl Richards, better known as Lil Scrappy, came up in the Atlanta scene at an interesting time. Propelled for years by the unique sound of the hip-hop that came from the area, Atlanta in the late 2000s was changing from being respected as a musical hub to a real cultural haven. Lil Scrappy was making his name during this transition, so his career makes for a good overview of what’s changed in Atlanta over the past decade. To get a better idea of where Atlanta may grow to from here, let’s look at the trajectory of Lil Scrappy’s career.
Lil Scrappy & Music
Darryl Kevin Richards started playing in Atlanta in the early 2000s, around 2002. Then, in 2004, he met Lil Jon, who was looking for artists to sign to his newly created label, BME Recordings. Lil Scrappy caught Lil Jon’s attention when Scrappy’s set caused a fight to break out in his audience. Trillville, an Atlanta rap group, was also signed to BME at around that same time.
Trillville and Lil Scrappy put out their first single with BME Recordings, titled “No Problem.” The single reached #29 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 charts, helping give Lil Scrappy the resources needed to keep growing in the Atlanta scene.
In 2006, Lil Scrappy released his debut album on Lil Jon’s BME Recordings. Featuring Yung Joc, Lil Jon, 50 Cent, Young Dro, Young Buck, and Three 6 Mafia, Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live was everything a rap album out of Atlanta should be. Produced mostly by Lil Jon and 50 Cent, the album led to a few successful singles. “Money in the Bank” peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100, one place higher than his debut single “No Problem” had reached. The second single, “Gangsta Gangsta,” featured Lil Jon himself. “Oh Yeah (Work)” was the third and final single from the Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live album, and featured Lil Jon, Too Short, and J-Bo in its music video, which helped the song get radio airplay.
For his next album, Prince of the South, Lil Scrappy made the choice to work with California-based label Real Talk Entertainment. Though known for working with big names in rap, the Atlanta-focused music and lyrics of Prince of the South may have been mismatched with the California label. The album sold decently, but there wasn’t much praise from reviewers.
By 2009, Lil Scrappy was back to working with East Coast rappers. He signed with Ludacris’ DTP label and announced that his next album would be called Tha Gru$tle. But it would be a few years before the album was released. In the meantime, Lil Scrappy made his acting debut in Just Another Day. The film, produced in 2009 but premiered on BET in 2011, was a drama focused on the careers of several fictitious Atlanta rappers.
After filming for Just Another Day, Lil Scrappy worked with Real Talk Entertainment for Prince of the South 2. Prior to the album’s release in October 2010, the rapper released two singles, “Addicted To Money” and “Bad (That’s Her)”. However, neither broke onto the Billboard charts, so were retroactively made promotional singles, and presumably cut from the album. Two more singles, “Aye Shawty” and “When I Grind” were released, produced by Hollis of Beat Killaz. The album did alright among fans of the genre, but saw relatively small commercial success compared to his earlier efforts.
In November 2011, more than a year after Prince of the South 2 was released, and more than two years after he last mentioned it, Lil Scrappy started talking about Tha Gru$tle in interviews. He gave an early 2012 release date, and that he was going to be releasing it through G’s Up, his personal imprint under his managers S-Line label. The first single, “Helicopter,” featured 2 Chainz & Twista, and the second single was titled “No Love.” Both reached the Billboard charts, though just barely. More popular were the music videos, which have accrued several million views each in the four years since Tha Gru$tle was released.
Lil Scrappy & Reality TV
Just a couple weeks before Tha Gru$tle was released, Lil Scrappy appeared in Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. The show, now entering its fifth season, is a spin-off of Love & Hip Hop, VH1’s reality TV series. The original followed the matrons of the New York rap community, while this iteration, as the name makes clear, follows the internal drama of the Atlanta scene.
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (also known as LHHATL) quickly became the highest-rated part of the Love & Hip Hop franchise. While Lil Scrappy was never a part of the main cast, his baby mama Erica Dixon was through the first four seasons of the show. However, after four seasons of drama, culminating in Lil Scrappy losing the right to visit his daughter, Dixon left the show.
The show also helped build Lil Scrappy’s net worth. After paying off multiple debts with his salary, estimates predict the crunk rapper has a net worth of around $700,000.
What is Lil Scrappy Doing Now in 2018
Lil Scrappy is still a regular on LHHATL, despite Erica Dixon’s resignation. In the most recent season, which started airing in late March, Lil Scrappy is continuing to work through issues with his on-again-off-again partner Adez “Bambi” Benson, who he’s been in a relationship with since the start of the show.
He’s been shown trying to put his business projects before his relationship with Bambi, leading to her becoming increasingly frustrated with him, even giving back a promise ring in episode 3 of this season. It’s unclear where the contention will lead, but it seems unlikely that Lil Scrappy will leave the show any time soon. With his mother a consistent guest on the show as well, and without a stable music career to fall back on, viewers should expect Lil Scrappy to continue living up to their expectations.
To stay up to date, you can watch LHHATL on VH1 Monday Nights at 8PM EST.