In case you haven’t noticed, celebrities are really getting in on the whole social distancing virtual events thing.
Enter Scott Storch, a megaproducer who was prolific during the early to mid 2000s and has deep roots in the Philly area. On Wednesday, Storch won his livestream battle against New Orleans artist Mannie Fresh, best known for his work with the Lil Wayne-affiliated Cash Money Records and Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh’s duo with rapper and music mogul Birdman.
The battle rules: Producers pair up, choose 20 songs and play each track for 90 seconds. At the end, social media unofficially crowns the winner via online chatter and debate.
Who is Storch? He got his popular musical start as the keyboardist for The Roots. Since then, his high energy career has taken a lot of twists and turns.
Here’s a bit about the artist who entertained thousands of fans hunkered down (we desperately hope) in their own bedrooms.
From South Florida to Philly
Long before Storch made his way north from his South Florida home to the Philadelphia area, his mother Joyce Yolanda Storch was a singer signed to Philly’s now-shuttered Cameo-Parkway Records. She went by Joyce Carol.
Storch’s parents split up, and when his father moved to Philly in 1988, Storch tagged along. He was a high school student enrolled in Bucks County’s Bensalem High — but that didn’t last long. To the chagrin of his parents, Storch dropped out of high school.
After his parents kicked him out, Storch linked up with Richard Nichols, who went on to manage pioneering Philly hip-hop and neo soul group The Roots.
“He took me under his wing,” Storch said of Nichols in 2018. “I did odd jobs and did whatever I had to do to support myself at 15, 16 years-old, and I got a record deal with The Roots.”
Storch was a keyboardist for the band as early as 1992, and played on The Roots’ debut album “Organix.”
Another Philly connect, Germantown native Eve, would go introduce Storch to West Coast icon Dr. Dre.
‘Arguably the biggest producer’ in hip hop
With The Roots, Storch earned his first Grammy. It came in 1999, for his work writing and producing the group’s “You Got Me.”
It was on Dr. Dre’s 1999 album titled “2001,” though, that Storch’s production pipes really started to shine.
Take the album’s lead single, “Still D.R.E.,” co-produced by Storch. The keys-heavy intro melded with hardcore rap beat elements came to underline Storch’s style and help elevate the producer. In 2002, he co-produced Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” and worked on several tracks from Christina Aguilera’s era-defining “Stripped” album.
His work on top rap and pop hits like “Lean Back” by Fat Joe, “Let Me Love You,” by Mario and 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop,” cemented Storch as, “arguably the biggest producer in hip-hop and R&B,” one Complex writer said.
Other jams you may not have realized were produced by Storch include “Me, Myself and I” by Beyonce, “Run It!” by Chris Brown and “Make It Rain,” by rapper Fat Joe and Lil Wayne. That last track, produced in 2006, was Storch’s final biggest hit, before he was brought down by drug addiction and money mismanagement.
Downward spiral over, ready for a comeback
Storch made headlines in the mid-2000s when he squandered $30 million on cocaine to support his all-consuming drug habit. By then, he was known for living a luxurious lifestyle that ultimately proved costly.
His career was on the outs, and put to rest after Storch produced his then-girlfriend Paris Hilton’s debut pop album flop. In this time, Storch’s career was marred by myriad failures and incidents. There was also the tens of thousands owed in child support to his first child’s mother, whom he met and dated in Philly.
Over the next decade, Storch’s life was a series of ups and downs. He entered into recovery and completed in-patient treatment in 2009. Once worth $100 million, Storch filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 2015.
Along the way he kept producing but yielded no hits. Storch’s destructive lifestyle separated him from the pack of his megaproducer contemporaries like Jermaine Dupree and Just Blaze.
But he’s far from gone. Storch is still producing. His recent work includes collaborating with top talnt like rappers T.I. and Young Thug.
In 2019, two Storch-produced tracks landed on the Billboard Top 100 charts: “Undecided” off of Chris Brown’s 30-track “Indigo” album, and “I’ll Kill You,” by R&B newcomer Summer Walker. He also earned gold records for work on tracks by Philly singer-rapper PNB Rock, artist Russ, and rappers Roddy Rich and Trippie Redd.