Scru Face Jean
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Scru Face Jean

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Solo Hip Hop

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"Scru Face Jean and "The Real" | Under the Radar"

Posted by Casey Welsch on Fri, 07/29/2011 - 10:06am

The Alley in Lincoln was over-crowded and brimming with anticipation on a recent Thursday night. It was a free show featuring rising Lincoln hip-hop artist Scru Face Jean, and everyone wanted to hear him spit.

Or maybe it was the three free kegs. They went fast.

The show was scheduled to start at 10 p.m. with a long roster of local MCs to perform, including Aso, AZP and Fieldhouse. The kegs quickly dried up and people stood around with cheap cocktails for more than an hour waiting for the set to start. When it finally did, all tardiness was forgiven in one track.

A young man wearing confident sunglasses and a single wooden chain took the stage. He introduced himself as Scru Face Jean, but for this crowd he didn’t need it. People were screaming before he grabbed the mic, and as soon as he rhymed his first lyric, people were singing along and getting crazy.

This was a different audience than the typical, "music scene" Lincoln crowd I'm familiar with. This was Lincoln’s regular dude’s crowd, and they all came to party with Face.

“Lincoln’s got a nice feel to it, especially after I started marketing my music to a more common-man audience,” Face says in the alley outside of the Alley after his show. “I feel like a lot of rappers around here try to make music for an audience that isn’t real. A lot of people try to do real hard-core stuff here, but me, I don’t know any gangsters or drug dealers. Most of the people that I know are just regular people. I put out music everybody can feel.”

Scru Face isn’t your typical, local Nebraska rapper. His real name is Darrel Ofodirimwa, and he was born in Nigeria. He moved to Lincoln with his family when he was 4, and he’s been rapping more than half his life.

“I’ve always done music, but I started rapping when I was 11 with some friends,” Face says. “They were doing it for a while but they all sort of burned out, and that’s when I learned that life is all on you. You got to own your own masters. You can’t put it on anyone else.”

Face is defined by his work ethic. He’s tireless, prolific and not overly confident. He isn’t rapping for fun, he’s rapping his way to the top, and he doesn’t care how many songs it takes.

“I started in high school doing some real small, basic mixtapes,” Face says. “They got a lot of real good, positive feedback, so I just kept making mixtapes.”

He’s put out five individual, fully-loaded mixtapes in the last year since he started getting serious. That is, after he graduated from high school.

Face is only 19 years old. His talent showed up early, and showed up in a big way. He has a natural flow that sounds like it comes from a seasoned rapper 5-10 years older than himself, and with a national record deal.

“I was rapping before he was, his first song was on one of my CDs,” says Derek Ofodirimwa, Face’s older brother and one of his hype men. “When I put that life aside, he blew up from there. And he’s prolific, he’s amazing. I see a bright future for him. He’s got a lot of appeal to a lot of different people, a lot of versatility and a lot of natural talent. I see him, therefore, making it.”

Face definitely has appeal. He absolutely rocked the crowd at the Alley. He had them singing along and wanting more. He can definitely carry a live set, and he knows the give and take. His fanbase is growing in Lincoln, but he wants to take it outside the city.

“I’m basically striving for branching out,” Face says. “I feel like I’ve done a lot of things in Lincoln, and now I need to do them in other places. I need the same number of fans in other places. We’re on a mission. We have that momentum. I see bigger, that’s the word I want to use.”

Face wants to take his show, his talent and his soon-to-be-known name to Iowa, Kansas City and Denver, and eventually beyond. But Lincoln is naturally what inspires him.

“Lincoln is right in the middle, smack dab, so we get a little bit of everything,” Face says. “We get a whole mix of eclectic sounds from all the other regions. And I think that living in Lincoln has helped me to see ‘the real,’ or the good more than the bad. I’ve been privileged to have had a pretty good life. I’ve generally kept it on the straight and narrow. And I feel that lets me have a wider base in my music, compared to people that have only lived one way and can only rap about one thing.”

Still, Lincoln’s artistically convenient location isn’t really demographically convenient for Face. It’s a challenge to make it as a rapper in Lincoln.

“It makes you a little bit more hungry,” Face says. “All the coasts — East, West and South — all got their chance. It kind of makes you wonder when the heartland is going to have a chance. It makes you want to work hard to make it happen.

“We all want to be the first one. We’re trying to build a new scene. If I lived in New York, I could walk down to Def Jam and rap outside all day and try to get picked up that - HearNebraska.org


"Q&A: Scru Face Jean discusses rapping to Lincoln, ‘Outcasts & Misfits’"

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:01 am | Updated: 12:10 am, Tue Aug 21, 2012.

By: Kekeli Dawes

Scru Face Jean is a Lincoln native that has been a prominent figure in the local hip hop scene for the past two years, and Wednesday night he will open for Kid Ink’s Bourbon show. Scru Face broke with five albums of material in his debut year, and has released several other mixtapes. He recently sat down with the Daily Nebraskan to discuss the new approach to music he’s decided to take decided to take.

DN: You began officially releasing albums in 2010. How did you get the ball rolling?

SF: I rapped when I was in school because my brother was a known rapper in the city. What made me take it to the next level were my managers Seth and Casey who told me I have the talent to do more than rap for friends, and I need to push myself so my city and the whole world could hear me.

DN: On your latest mixtape you say on a track, “Fuck the popular kids.” Were you always an outcast, and do you see yourself as one now?

SF: Yeah. The whole outcast mentality resonates with me. When I was in high school, Dragon Ball Z was my favorite thing ever. I wasn’t ever the super-gangster type; I was myself. People took that in a different way. It was never cool in high school, so when I got into a position where I could make things cool, I decided to speak for the people like me who got bullied. “Outcasts & Misfits” is not saying “Fuck the popular kids,” or “We aren’t the popular kids so we are mad,” it’s saying, “We don’t have a voice but now we do, so it’s our turn.” What people don’t realize is that a lot of people play that position if you think about it. It’s really just an underdog story.

DN: Do you feel like you are an “underdog” in hip hop because you come from Lincoln?

SF: Definitely. The thing about being in bigger cities is that you do get twice as many looks because there are twice as many bodies, so in Lincoln it’s hard to get half of the result. At the same time, that hounds you and trains to be the ultimate artist. A lot of people say “If you make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” but often times if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. There isn’t really a hip hop scene or a lot of people looking for that, but now that we have created one and interest as well, it says a lot.

DN: Do you think the Lincoln audience is responsive when they find hip hop?

SF: What I have noticed about people here is that they really want to hear stories about people from here. There have been rappers before me and other unsuccessful rappers who talk about experiences a lot of people don’t understand, even though they really did live that life. I said forget that. I try to talk about what it means to be a regular person. Everyone can relate to that.

DN: It’s been a while since the DN last spoke to you. What has changed for you since 2011?

SF: Things have changed. After I recorded my first CD, I told myself I wouldn’t go back to the booth until I lived more life. I used to live in my studio and record all the time, and I started feeling like I was creating because I had to, not because I wanted to. So I took a break from the studio and let a lot of things happen to me, and now I’m back in the studio and some of the tracks I have are blowing my mind. Some artists make music to make it, without putting themselves into their music; a lot of people have got it backwards. - The Daily Nebraskan


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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