Being a hip hop act in the music industry is akin to being a running back in football. Many play the game, but few play it long enough or well enough to attain veteran status. With over a decade of experience, Nappy Roots has put together a list of accomplishments that ensures their contributions to the world of hip hop leave a worthy legacy. Platinum and gold certified albums, multiple industry awards nominations (Grammy's (2), American Music Awards, MTV VMAs, Soul Train nomination), movie soundtracks, video game soundtracks, and loads of catchy songs with thought provoking lyrics attest to this fact. The group even has a Kentucky state holiday, Nappy Roots Day (September 16), named in it's honor.
Nappy Roots got it's start in the mid 90s at Western Kentucky University. Kentucky natives Skinny DeVille, Ron Clutch & B. Stille teamed up with Oakland transplant R. Prophet and Georgia native Fish Scales at the college. Within a few short years they developed their signature sound and in 1998 independently released their debut album Country Fried Cess; a celebration of the southern lifestyle and all things Kentucky. The buzz created by Country Fried Cess opened the door to major label interest and in 2002 Nappy Roots released it's commercial debut Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz on Atlantic Records. The release garnered both critically and commercial acclaim for it's off the beaten path lyrical and musical approach. The certified platinum release spawned 3 singles, Awnaw, Po' Folks and Headz Up, that were equally at home in the car, the club or a family picnic.
The follow up album, 2003's Wooden Leather, was also well received critically. In fact, 2003 represented would should have been a year that solidified Nappy Roots place in the stables of Atlantic Records. In addition to the release of its major label debut follow up, the group also appeared on the Madden 2003 video game soundtrack, the Daredevil movie soundtrack and recorded 3 songs for 2004 release of The Ladykillers Soundtrack. Wooden Leather featured production by the likes of Lil Jon, Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq and David Banner. However, it didn't achieve the same level of commercial success and the group eventually parted ways with Atlantic Records.
Hip hop through and through, Nappy Roots continues to produce refreshingly original music for a still growing fan base. Using a combination of full fledged independent studio releases (The Humdinger and The Pursuit of Nappyness) and mixtapes they've managed to release new music every year since their split with Atlantic; All the while staying relevant and continuing to add to their substantial legacy. The group and it's 4 current members have several recent releases and current projects in the works. Nappy dot Org is a 2011 collaboration with the hip hop collective Organized Noize. 2012 saw the release of the mixtape Nappy Roots Presents Sh!t's Beautiful. The 40 Akerz Project is a current collaboration between group members Skinny DeVille and Fish Scales. In addition to 40 Akerz, Scales is also working on his solo debut The Balance and mentoring Tha Stick Boyz; the newest artist of the Nappy Roots Entertainment Group.
While the sound of the Dirty South has evolved into the commercially successful, but limited trap house style of rap, Nappy Roots has continued on their own path of creating music for everyday people. Fans old and new have the opportunity to come together to pay homage to Kentucky's own Nappy Roots in The Sanctuary at the The Southgate House Revival this Wednesday, May 29. Do yourself a favor and grab tickets to see hip hop that honors the complexities of life in the south and beyond. "The whole damn world's country!"