Posts Tagged ‘nappy roots





In the conclusion of this two-part interview with Nappy Roots member Skinnie Deville, The Journalista gets the scoop on the group’s latest album The Humdinger, their faded relationship with Jazze Pha and why they’re so proud to be from the country.


What are the prize tracks on the latest Nappy Roots album The Humdinger?

Skinny Deville: I like Beads and Braids a lot because it kind of explains what we went through in a sense.

It sums up everything from Wood and Leather up to now. It’s lyrical, the beat bangs,

the hook is catchy. The concept in itself was that because of what we going through,

no one can break us up. We’re tighter than beads and braids. So if you saying something,

fuck what you saying. I know my brothers and I know who I am and we gone keep making the music…’cause gatekeepers, label heads and radio doesn’t want to play anything positive or promote any kind of balance to the hip-hop game.

Down ‘N Out with Anthony Hamilton is a favorite of mine, Pole Position is a very fun, lighter side of the strip club. It’s not just the normal booty shake, disrespectful song, but it’s definitely something for the female college students that are working for small fees (laughs.)

I like Small Town, the last song on the album because it takes you back to rural America. We do a lot of traveling on the road and on the highway …and we ride through these small towns… and the people are very simple. They’re not concerned about fashion, fitting in and stereotypes. There’s a lot of the stuff that goes on in the major cities, like keeping up with the Jones’s. You don’t have to worry about as much in the rural parts of America.


So do you guys have a strong relationship with Greg Street?

Yeah. We’ve always dealt with Greg Street just by him being one of the premiere radio personalities in Atlanta and the South. When we started on Watermelon, Chicken and Grits…, we would always run into him and he always showed love and support. And then he told us he was working on a mixtape…and wanted to help us guys get back on the public radar…So he took the record up to Interscope and they wanted to use it as the first single for his album and he knew we were using it for our single as well. So yeah, without Street, we wouldn’t be where we at right now. He’s very influential to what and how we’ve been moving for the last six to eight months.


And what about Jazze Pha? Didn’t he work with you guys on the first album?

Well a lot of people thought Jazze Pha produced Aw Naw. And actually, he didn’t. A producer by the name of Groove Chambers, who produced about 75 percent of our album Watermelon, did it… All Jazze Pha did was sing the hook. We had tried to work with Jazze Pha

prior to that for a while, but his schedule never permitted us to actually sit down and collab. So that was our first collab and our last. Unfortunately, he never really gave us any beats to rap on. Other than him singing that hook, we don’t have a working relationship. I can’t say nothing bad about him, but we’ve never worked with him since. I wish, but sometimes the cards don’t fall that way.


And there’s one guy that is no longer with Nappy Roots, correct?



Now that he’s no longer part of the group, how important is it to everyone to stay together and make sure everyone’s happy and satisfied?

It’s fine. R. Prophet chose to leave the group about a year and a half ago. He quit recording records and touring with us to pursue a solo career. He felt the time was right for him to venture out and do what he wanted to do. Because he wasn’t participating on the records, it wasn’t a big argument. It was like, if he’s not going to participate, then that’s cool. He’s a grown ass man, so go do you. And that’s what you have to do as a grown man… So for everyone else in the group, we had to step it up a little bit. We had to fill in the gap… which wasn’t that hard to do because everyone in the group was already a great MC… He hadn’t recorded with us for over a year and a half. So we already had two or three projects that were done and he wasn’t on none of them.

…As he was working his way into his solo projects, he was doing less and less and everyone just ended up rapping more. It wasn’t a bad thing. We’re all still cool. We see him out and it’s all love.

You only eat what you kill around here with Nappy Roots. If you ain’t rapping, you can’t really benefit off that because of the size of the group. But now, we’re able to work things out as a group. Being a collective does get very stressful on transportation, rooms, how checks get cut up. But now, by it being five of us, it’s somewhat easier to make decisions and to get to and from a city. A lot of people don’t even realize he’s gone.


Does Nappy Roots sometimes find it hard to be taken seriously being from Kentucky?

Not at all. ‘Cause we spend so much time in Atlanta…and on the road with major label acts. People know who we are and they know we get out there and we bust our ass. We rock the show. The lyrics of our songs are innovative and conceptual…and we not trying to be like everybody else. Because of the lack of identity that Kentucky might have, I think we paint a very good picture. Out here and throughout the South, people are very respectful of Nappy Roots, because in early 2000, we helped define the South. When the South was coming up, we were a part of that whole movement.

There’s different colors in the color spectrum that you can paint pictures with. And that’s kind of what we did. We gave the South a different color to to be perceived in. Everywhere we go, people give it up. They respect us when we come to their schools. A lot of troops saw us when we went to Baghdad and Kuwait and performed. Everyone always says thank you for making the music that y’all make.

For a long time, when we would say we’re from Kentucky, people would ask, “It’s black folk in Kentucky?!” All people think Kentucky is is barns, straw and horses. But there’s a city, the biggest city is Louisville, where Muhammad Ali is from and it’s the real home of Nappy Roots as well. So we conduct ourselves in any city, but we hold our head and represent our state as much as possible. There’s a lot of people in the world that are from Kentucky and they say thank you for what y’all do.


Even though, Southern rap is mainstream now, what do you say to people that still aren’t fond of the genre?

Well, it’s some southern hip-hop that’s great, dope and phenomenal. Some is underground and you have to be in the south to relate to it. And some southern hip-hop is not good at all. It’s only biting off someone else’s style or what someone else did to get on. And then there’s those that do it just to have fun and only wanna sell it to their hood or block. And that’s cool. You get different variations of southern hip-hop.

There’s a lot of good artists that don’t get the light of day or respect because the record labels and radio stations and gatekeepers of this industry don’t want that kind of music out there. And its real good music, they just feel it won’t sell because violence, sex and drugs is what they want to see out there.

Keep it real, Nappy Roots and other MC’s that are taking this industry very seriously, they don’t get first shake because of what the record label CEO’s… want on shelves and make money off of.  They want to keep an awkward light on hip-hop because they don’t want it to be positive and successful. They don’t’ want it to be empowering and for the people in the hoods and ghettos to be smart, and start reading books more and start going to school and have opinions about what’s going on in the world and have a say. They want you to be stupid and watch the idiot box and stay glued on the inside and not have words to say, so they can run the country…They like the negative side of hip-hop. They want us to keep killing each other and keep us in prison.

That’s more of a bigger picture of what’s out there in the world. There’s different things’ pulling strings in our country that we as hip-hop artists don’t always recognize. Once you recognize, you can influence someone to go to school and get their degree rather than calling their mother or sister a bitch or a ho.

Now, a bitch is a bitch… but not all women are bitches. Some women treat themselves with a certain level of respect and some women don’t. And some men are bitches…and some are snitches. There’s a certain time and place for everything. And everything has a balance. But you can’t have so much bitch, hoes, guns and drugs and not enough read a book, or get educated or buy your mama some flowers before you make the grave, or take care of your children as a father. You don’t get a lot of that. You don’t get you can’t get no money for commersary ‘cause you was selling drugs on the corner for the third time like an idiot. You don’t get no one will come visit you after your third year in jail. You don’t hear about that side of the game and that’s only because there’s not a balance and and there’s people rapping about that side, but they don’t want that out there. And that’s a shame ’cause there’s got to be a balance in music like it is in life. You can’t have all good and no bad.


In some cities (like Dallas for instance,) it seems difficult for artists to gain airplay and publicity because of the stereotypes of their towns. Repping a rural town yourself, what advice can you offer these artists?

The first advice I would give is… to keep God in your life because the money, sex and drugs in this business is so powerful that it will corrupt your mind and keep you from being an artist and being creative. If you thank him every day…, you’ll never go wrong. The second thing I would say is get you a team of people that are very smart and resourceful and have your best interest in mind because you’re only as good as the company you keep. If you hang around a bunch of knuckle heads, and they want to see you exactly where they’re at, then you’ll be exactly where they’re at. If you hang around successful people that are doing things and bringing in money and handle themselves well and helping you get out, you’ll do better and get further in the game. You may have to get out of Dallas [or your city.]

You’ll have to travel. The only reason Nappy Roots got to where we are was because we got out of Kentucky. Because it wasn’t a music industry in Kentucky. Don’t think that someone owes you something. You gotta go to where it’s happening and cracking and then make a name. You can’t let the fuses keep you from your dreams and goals. Get you a nice business plan, account and lawyer. Get your internet game on. Get a fan base established. You never know who you’ll meet who will give you that break. Opportunity only knocks a couple of times in life. If you open the door, that’s on you.

It’s very discouraging to be a starving artist. Most people aren’t patient enough. Just because you want to rap today, doesn’t mean you’re gonna be on tomorrow. It’s gonna take…years of hardcore work. You might get alot of doors slammed in your face, but don’t get discouraged.

Visit Nappy Roots at








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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