Nappy Roots Make a ‘Humdinger’ of a Change with Obama (pt.1)




The Journalista talks with the overt Skinnie Deville of the group Nappy Roots about supporting Obama, what kind of hip-hop Obama likes, Nappy Roots’ thoughts on Ludacris and Jesse Jackson and why he thinks President Bush is a… Well, read it for yourself. 


How did you guys hook up with Obama and what is it about Nappy Roots that affirmed your status in the tour?


Well, we did a performance for Barack Obama in Louisville, Kentucky about a year and a half ago. He came in to speak for a congressman that was running at the time. So when we performed at the stadium, …we had an opportunity to meet him and take a picture with him… He was a cool cat. That’s how it all kind of came about…for us to be aware of what he was doing [and him running for] the Democratic campaign for President. That’s kind of how it started, but the second wave of it was us doing Good Day with Greg Street and he got a call from the Black Mayors Convention that was going on in New Orleans at the time. Barack was going to speak there. So, we ended up doing a remix to our song Good Day. It’s kind of a Democratic remix to get people out to vote and use hip hop as the voice and vehicle to create a word that we need to use our voice this time and try to make a decision that’s gonna be better for the country. So in the process of doing that remix, we were able to go down to the Mayors Convention and perform that. I guess his team of campaign people saw it, caught wind of it and thought it would be a good idea if we went around with him this fall and while he’s speaking to these groups and be someone to entertain and such. So that’s part of our fall tour package.

It’s just so wonderful that Obama is not afraid to embrace hip-hop artists. Don’t you agree?


I agree. I think it is wonderful. I think that he has to embrace the right artists though. Because if he embraces the wrong artists, the people that don’t won’t him as president… will pick that apart and try to make him guilty by association like they did with his former pastor. So I think that he has to be careful with the artists that he does associate with. Somewhat let them endorse themselves. I think that since he is aware of the hip hop movement and how powerful it is in regards to the torch that we make as Americans; if he recognizes that and supports the whole movement of hip-hop in itself; using our voice to vote, I think that’s a great thing. If he listens to hip-hop or not, I don’t know what kind of sh** he actually rides around to (or if he does at all,) but if he does, it would be very cool. If he’s riding around to Lil Wayne and Jeezy shit, that would be… (laughs)



If he did, would that be cool?


I think it would. I’m sure that he would know the difference between what’s real and what’s not real. I’m sure that his collection (if he listens to hip-hop) would be vast. There’s a lot of great music out there in hip-hop that he could listen to that’s not gonna put a negative spin on his plight to become president. A little Nappy, a little Lupe Fiasco, a little Common Sense, a little Jay-Z, a little Lil Wayne. I don’t see how that would be a bad thing, it’s all good music if you ask me.


What are your thoughts about hip-hop artists (such as Ludacris) that have tried to endorse Obama, but have been rejected by the candidate and his campaign team?


Once again, Barack has to be careful of who he affiliates himself with right now because the spotlight is definitely on him and every decision, whether it be minor to us, could be blown out of proportion by Fox News. I think the propaganda of some of these news stations is to put him in a different light. It’s very easy to be done, if he and his cabinet people are not careful. The news will make statements that were offensive to him and the people around him… and use them to make Barack seem like a not- so-good guy. I don’t see how someone could take offense to that. Right now, he’s got to be very, very clean. He’s like a third-time parolee, he’s three-time felon clean. He can’t do nothing right now. He can even be caught smoking cigarettes like he used to. He’s got to really straighten up and fly right. For the next four or five months, he gotta be on point 100 percent. With that said, the record that we did, because it’s already called Good Day, there’s nothing we were gonna say negative that would portray him (or us) in that light. So I’m sure that there are a lot of records. I know that Hidden Beach is actually doing a compilation CD with…songs dedicated towards the whole Democratic campaign as well. I’m interested in seeing how that will unfold and what kind of songs will be on that as well.


Right now, we’re in a crazy time. The economy is not in good shape. The current President has the economy in a very, very bad place. I don’t think that it’s in our best interest to sit back and let it happen again.


With that said, we are very into politics and we watch what’s going on on CNN and when we do stop into a city, we read the internet, but we have a choice right now as the hip-hop generation, we have a say in who we want to be President… I voted the last two times, and I feel it was all for nothing because someone came in and tried to do their own agenda and at the same time, ruin the country. The whole agenda … was personal. The situation now with gas, real estate, foreclosures at an all time high, jobs being shipped overseas, I think as hip-hop artists and purists (or whatever you consider yourself in the business,) we have a choice to influence what the world thinks of not just hip-hop, but America. And if we all make the right decision this Election 2008, we can really change how we’re viewed in the world. And we won’t be looked as greedy bastards, as selfish, or about high crime rate, as slow or dumb,… as menaces to the classrooms. I think a new president such as Barack, would come with some fresh ideas. He came from a single-parent home. To me, he’s the perfect candidate. He’s got a white mother, a black daddy that [wasn’t around.] He was raised in the inner city. He’s a minority. He’s fighting for what’s right for the common man. Where as the Republican candidate is only concerned with keeping this going another four years. I don’t think the world can handle another four years of how the administration has been running the country and affecting the world.


What was the process for the Black American Committee to accept Nappy Roots?


I just know we got a call from Greg Street and he told us to be in New Orleans “tomorrow” was what he said. And we stopped what we were doing and shot to New Orleans. It was a cool road trip and I always had love for New Orleans. I hadn’t been back post Hurricane Katrina. But it’s good to see the city back, but it’s still sad to see how the government and this whole FEMA shit is still not doing the people right.  It’s like, Damn! It’s America and it’s still messed up. People are still living in small ass trailers. Man, it’s like, What’s going on?  It’s a shame. I’m sad to see how the whole thing has been handled from day one. And Bush is a fucking idiot, that’s all I gotta say about that. He’s a fucking idiot. He’s a dumb ass. He was a B average student. He was on alcohol and drugs. He finished last in the military. He half-assed, rode his daddy’s coat tails and all of a sudden, he becomes President. So, why wouldn’t the country be fucked up? ‘Cause he don’t know what he’s doing. My son could run the country better.


I’m really shitty about this whole administration. A lot of the troops fighting in this war are really college students who would love to see a Nappy Roots performance, or a Kanye West performance, or a Lupe performance. These guys show up and support the rappers and are fighting in a war that’s unnecessary. I support the troops, but I’m not really 100 percent [sure] why we’re over there. And I don’t think they’re 100 percent [sure] either. They just know they gotta do what they gotta do.


What were your thoughts about the remarks that Jesse (Jackson) made about Obama?


That showed who he really is. That was a dumb ass remark. It’s like that in hip-hop too. Every time someone tries to do something positive and get the people behind them, someone gotta hate on ‘em. And it’s messed up that Jesse Jackson (of all people,) who was considered a leader prior to Barack; he was one of the last leaders we had left… from the Civil Rights movement that is still around today. We got Al Sharpton; and Muhammad Ali had a voice. But, Malcolm X is no longer, Martin Luther King, Jr. is no longer, JFK is no longer, Biggie is no longer, Pac is no longer. All the leaders we’ve had as African Americans do not exist anymore. So here comes a guy from Illinois. He made a great speech several years ago at the Democratic National Convention. And he’s picked by the people to be the first black President of America. And then you have another Civil Rights leader say he “wants to cut his nuts off.” For whatever reason he (Jackson) feels that way, whether he didn’t go for one of his (Obama’s) planks, or one of his topics or speeches; whatever made him say something to a black news anchor; whether he knew that the mic was on, I don’t think it was appropriate. Now, if he had said that Bush was a fucking idiot, I would be like “yeah!” He’s a hater, Hater #1! Jackson is the biggest hater. And in hip-hop, we recognize haters so easily. So he won’t have a foot to stand on or a leg to hold him up for a long, long time. From here on out, in hip-hop, we gone be like “Shut up, Jesse Jackson.” And I’ve done some things with his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and he’s cool. He was like “Dad, you fucked up.” He can apologize all he wants to, but what’s done is done. Personally, I can’t fuck with him. So what’s he gonna do? Go vote for McCain? Is he mad because he didn’t get nominated? Many moons ago, he tried it and wasn’t no one hearing it.




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