Posts Tagged ‘the humdinger





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.

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