As a woman, there are very few Hip Hop artists that I actually feel. I use the word ‘feel’ because listening to an artist and actually ‘feeling’ them is completely different. I may like to snap my fingers to the beats but music that I hear on mainstream radio three times within the hour, usually isn’t the type of music that I actually ‘feel’.
Around the year 2002 my younger brother went to Oklahoma State University and came back to Detroit with this Southern vibe as if he had grown up down there. Along with this new outlook on life, he brought some music home that I had never heard before and because we are so close, what he likes, I like. One group he introduced me to was Nappy Roots and it was at that very moment I became an instant fan. I may not have experienced everything they speak on in their albums but I can respect any group whose music says something. In this people pleasing era of radio friendly hits, it’s rare to find artists that are actually using their voices to deliver us food for thought as opposed to filling our heads with gibberish as if that’s the only thing listeners understand. When I saw on Myspace that the members of Nappy Roots were working on some new projects, I reached out to group member Skinny Deville so the readers of Rhythmic Soul can get reacquainted with this group that I’ve come to respect so much.
How did you come up with the name Nappy Roots?
I came up with the name Nappy Roots in college. Ron Clutch is the barber of the group [and] one semester his clippers were broke and my hair grew to an uncontrollable level. Being that I write what I see the two words Nappy Roots just kind of evolve. It was catchy and everybody loved it….and there you have it. We put it on some shirts and sold em to the college students on campus, from there we knew that the name was marketable.
Where are you all originally from?
For the most part the majority of the group is from Kentucky…..Skinny Deville-Skinny Deville, B. Stille, Ron Clutch- Louisville, KY; Big V- Bowling Green, KY; Fish Scales- Milledgeville, GA
I noticed that The Humdinger your newest album was released on your own label, does that allow you room for more creativity?
Absolutely…..We had to make a decision a few years ago to either keep trying to get a good situation at a major label or to be the captains of our own ship as an independent…..We chose the latter because of how we were treated on a major…..Of course there is more responsibility that comes with that type of decision, but we’re all college educated grown ass men.
We always had the creativity even at Atlantic Records, but to have total control is what we were looking for.
What is your recording process? Do you all discuss the direction of songs prior to writing your individual verses?
It varies…..there’s 99 ways to skin a cat and likewise when dealing with a group this size…..everyone brings something to the table…whether I bring the beat, Big V has a dope hook idea, Scales has the first verse and structure and so on and so forth….but that’s just one way….Reverse the order and there’s another. I might find the beat, write the hook and first verse and everybody else kinda follow’s suit. The producer might make the beat and have the hook already on it and all we gotta do is spit the verses.
Many of your songs have positive messages, is that something that’s important to you and why?
We don’t really look at it that way. It’s not like we make it a point to make a positive record, but we definitely try to keep both feet on the ground and in-tune with reality. I would say all of our records have some kinda message…..whether it’s positive or negative it’s socially conscious and relevant to what’s going on today.
After the beat and hook fades it would be dope if the artists are actually saying something you can relate to. I never shipped a Ki, I never shot nobody, I don’t spend countless hours on the block, I did go to college, I do smoke weed and struggle like the rest of the world…..that’s not a positive message it’s just the truth…..reality rap!!!
What’s next for Nappy Roots & You?
Right now we are working on several projects scheduled to drop later on this year…..one is the “Skinny & Scales” project titled ‘40 Akerz’. We have the “Pursuit of Nappyness Tour” that we’re on……we go back out in April and May on that and we’re currently working on a DVD and soundtrack titled ‘100 Days’. That’s it in a nutshell. Everybody is working on solo joints to be released as well on our label NREG which is being distributed by Universal/ Fontana.
We good……Livin’ life to the fullest……’The Humdinger’ In Stores Now!