Music News

Local Boy Scott Storch Conquered Hip-Hop and Raked in Millions. Then He Broke Bad.

When Scott Storch was 8 years old, he was dizzied by a soccer cleat to the head. His mom did not take such injuries in stride. She had been apoplectic when Scott lost his baby teeth in a living-room dive five years earlier, leaving him with a Leon Spinks grin. "I was an overly worrisome mother," admits Joyce Yolanda Storch, who goes mainly by her middle name. "I was overbearing to a fault."

Mom banned Scotty from participating in sports. Instead, she enrolled him in piano classes at Candil Jacaranda Montessori in Plantation, about 15 minutes from their Sunrise home. An old jazz pianist named Jack Keller taught him. A singer herself, Yolanda stopped taking weekday gigs so she could drive Scott to the lessons and scraped together enough cash to buy him a baby grand.

The scrawny, creative kid wasn't much of an athlete anyway. But it turns out he was a virtuoso on the keys. By age 12, he was landing paid gigs. As an adult, he parlayed that ability into studio production, eventually becoming one of hip-hop's elite beatmakers. He laid backdrops for nearly every rap or R&B superstar of the past decade, including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, and 50 Cent.

At age 33, in 2006, his fee hit six figures per beat, which he could produce in 15 minutes. The money turned the Sunrise kid into a Palm Island Lothario. Hip-hop's blinged-out white boy lived in an expansive villa in the Miami Beach enclave, kept more than a dozen exotic vehicles — including a $1.7 million sports car — and docked a $20 million yacht.

So Yolanda, who raised Scott and his brother, Matthew, after she divorced their father in 1983, has reason to cling to the fact that she introduced Scott to the piano. It's the consolation prize of her life. "It's not that I want to toot my own horn, but I was always very supportive of his music," she says. "It's just too bad that everything went sour."

She perches gingerly on a bottomed-out wooden patio chair outside the modest two-bedroom red-brick home she shares with her 88-year-old father, Julius. The years have battered Yolanda's former starlet looks, but she's still a handsome woman, instantly identifiable as a Storch by her ghostly fair skin, blue eyes, and prominent jaw. Keeping large eyeglasses atop a nest of bleached hair, she wears pink slippers, gray sweatpants, and a T-shirt bearing a cartoon bird saying, "How about a Christmas goose?" A burned-out Doral Ultra Light 100 is wedged between her fingers.

Yolanda is, to put it one way, quirky. A Catholic convert of Lithuanian-Jewish descent, she's obsessed with all things Italian. Especially Al Pacino. She calls the abstract prospect of meeting the actor "the reason I get up in the morning."

For her and her gifted son, nothing has turned out the way it should have. She watched Scott blow his fortune in spectacular, infamous fashion, giving millions of dollars in diamonds and cars to his girlfriends, which included America's holy trinity of floozydom: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Kim Kardashian.

In the meantime, Yolanda, who cares full-time for her partially blind father, waited in this $81,000 house for her son to remember her. Instead, Scott descended into a cocaine binge that crashed his career, propelled him into massive financial litigation and bankruptcy, and sent him to rehab.

The neglect gnaws at her. She can't help but bring it up — to complain about the holes in her "36-year-old carpet" and her decaying patio furniture and medical expenses that eat right through her father's social security checks.

Public records also tell the story: In 2008, Capital One sued her for $5,700 owed on a credit card she uses for food and pharmacy bills in a case that's still being decided in Plantation court.

"Scott always told me he had plans to do certain things for the family," she says. "But then I guess things got bad before he got around to it. I read about all these other rappers' mothers — P. Diddy's mother, Kanye West's mother, Jay-Z's mother. Their sons all took care of them."

Then Yolanda worries, "If he reads this, he would be very angry at me. He's not going to ever give me anything."

So, exactly what would she like to see in print? She thinks and begins again: "I think that maybe you should make sure your mother has her retirement taken care of before you buy another $2 million necklace for some hotel heiress. You don't just have a miracle from God like that and then take all that money and throw it in the garbage pail."


Born in Long Island but raised in South Florida, Scott Storch has music in his blood. His great-great-grandfather was Lithuanian immigrant Meyer Machtenberg, a seminal Jewish composer in the early 1900s. In the '60s, Mom was a Queens-born pinup-caliber beauty who was signed to Philadelphia's Cameo-Parkway Records under the stage name Joyce Carol, and his father, Phil Storch, sang street-corner doo-wop in his native Bronx.

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Gus Garcia-Roberts