By Regine Stepherson
As seen on “Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta,” rap artist and television personality Scrapp DeLeon is known as the ladies man who always finds a way inside a love triangle. Now that he’s out of prison and back at home, however, viewers get to see a glimpse of how he’s become a changed man — in mind and in heart.
DeLeon recently sat down for an exclusive interview with rolling out and opened up about his experience in prison and how it has shaped his life personally and professionally.
How did your setback change your mindset from then to now?
When I was in prison, I actually utilized that time to strengthen myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I took that time to develop and mature. When you sit in a cell and you’re by yourself, you have a lot of time to re-evaluate everything and self-reflect, so I just took that time to master self — self-confidence, self-esteem, self-control, self-love, all of these things with myself — so I just really learned who I am and found my purpose.
Do you think being a part of a gang or a mob is a part of the survival guide in prison?
It’s unfortunate, but gangs run the prison. Whether you’re a Crip or Blood, GD [Gangster Disciple], it’s sectioned off into organizations. You have Muslims — and, actually, I’m Muslim — so in the prison system, they like to consider us a gang since there are so many Muslims. But being a part of a gang from what I have seen can make it a lot harder due to the affiliation, so if something is going on with the Crips, you’ve got to ride for them regardless [of] whatever it is. But at the end of the day, when you [are] a solid individual and you [are] a real person, they feel that. So, if you just [are] who you are, you really don’t have anything to worry about.
Would you say that you found people in prison who you could call family or friends?
Most definitely. [There are] a lot of real men in prison — and what I mean by real men, I mean men who just take care of their family despite their situation, what they stand for and their morals and integrity — and a lot of them won’t be coming home to their kids, wives or mothers. I definitely met some people that I would consider friends who kept me on the right path. It would be a time or two where [I was] about to get into something [when they] told me, “Scrapp, you need to go home to your kids. Be real to Papii and King, forget the other two.” So, I definitely have some individuals that I got love for and all my Muslim brothers, of course.
This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com.