NAPPY ROOTS (May 2008) | Interview By:
Let’s go deep into the heart of Kentucky, kick up some famous bluegrass and
roll up on some good ol’ country boys. I'm talking about the Nappy Roots – you
know who they are – they are the multi-platinum, southern fried, Grammy
nominated hip-hop collective on the verge of releasing their highly
anticipated, album, The Humdinger. I was lucky enough to preview some of their
forthcoming album, and it can be described with one word...classic. This
exclusive dubcnn interview turned into a smoke-out, talking about everything
in the world of Nappy Land. So, I’ll cut this intro short and we’ll get right
to the root of it.
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave
feedback on our forums or email them to
Interview was done in April 2008
Nappy Roots gave Dubcnn.com a Shoutout. Check that
Lets Get To The Root Of It: The Nappy Roots Interview
By Jonathan Hay
Dubcnn: The Nappy Roots has the internet buzzing like a swarm of bees on
You guys have been killing the internet scene lately and dropping songs
non-stop that people are loving. It’s obvious the massive digital promotion
method is important to you guys -- how do you get your songs out on the net
Skinny DeVille: It’s been a plan from day one: how we was gonna work the
internet and how we was gonna work the mass media and all the other sorts of
outlets, but far as the internet, we have a hookup in various places with a
lot of people that support the movement -- the good music movement. You know
what I’m saying, and Nappy Roots, we are proud of affiliates of that, so…
Dubcnn: The song, “No Static” produced by: Sol Messiah has been burning up the
internet like a California brush-fire. Take us behind the music and into the
lab during the recording of this scorching song…
Big V: I better say something -- not just ‘cause I’m here, because I can. I
think, “No Static got an automatic too much of anything makes you an addict”,
man, Greg Nice and Smooth B [Nice & Smooth] they really said something and
Nappy Roots come back to reincorporate it and it was just a meaningful way to
do great music. That’s what we do is classic music, timeless music and we
finally had that opportunity to do so. It had a great beat, great rhythm and
fans took to it like a duck to water. And that’s what we gonna continue to do
-- is make good music for the people, by the people, for the people.
Dubcnn: The release date for your highly anticipated album The Humdinger has
changed several times. Are you able to officially announce the release date?
Skinny DeVille: At this time, we gonna call it summer, early August
(laughing). I could throw a date of 05 [August 5th 2008] out there if you
wanna hold on to something, but right now the date is August. The schedule is
set and everything is working how it’s supposed to be. Sometimes these things,
they take time and it ain’t that we’re not ready -- I don’t think everybody as
a whole will be ready for the music we trying to bring to the game. It ain’t
what you’d expect to hear from Nappy Roots at this point, but it’s everything
that you thought Nappy Roots would be. That’s what I say The Humdinger is --
it ain’t what you expect, but it’s everything you thought it would be.
Dubcnn: Do any of you guys actually own that classic car that is featured on
the artwork to your upcoming Humdinger album, and is there any special
significance to it?
Skinny DeVille: Yeah, yeah, that’s my man [Ron] Clutch’s car; he’s had that
car since college. We rode in that car many times and that car has history to
the whole movement of Nappy Roots. That car is definitely symbolic and what we
about, its vintage, its classic, its old knowledge, it’s been here, it’s still
in pristine condition. It’s kept up; you know what I’m saying. Where that car
has taken us in life, the many country roads... We’ve seen many things in that
car, experienced a lot of shit. So, you know, that car is symbolic to Nappy
Roots because we’re coming in on our own -- this is our ten years of being in
existence and really putting out music.
Dubcnn: This question is for Skinny DeVille: You have an internet-only song
out with Dave Matthews Band called “A Divine Intervention at 55th.” How did
that song come about?
Skinny DeVille: Man, how that song came about…it’s kinda crazy because, you
know, big up to my man Joe Hopp; he’s pretty much like our producer, our
engineer. He’s the ace-in-the-hole, man, he’s like…you know, everybody should
have one, you know what I’m saying. He’s just the man that can just tell you
what it is and he has an ear for a lot of good music. But anyway, he was
working off in the studio one day just messing around and he had a Dave
Matthews track. That’s very big…to work with Dave Matthews on some, you know,
some hip-hop, crossover type cool shit, you know what I’m saying. We was on
the road with Dave Matthews; we went on tour, hit a couple dates with Dave
about a year before that, so we kicked it and we always said that we could
work out something… So, we said we had this track and we holla’d at him and he
said that it was all good…
Dubcnn: That’s huge… So, what was it actually like out there on tour with the
Dave Matthews Band?
Big V: You see years of work, you see a multitude of fans with not necessarily
an age or creed or an acceptance, or a belief…it’s more of a cult, its more of
people who still believe in great music. More like the “love crowd” and then
more like an empowerment, an empowered crowd -- they just live for good music.
No radio, no television, just good music. And that is a Dave Matthews crowd
and that is a Nappy Roots crowd. I think we have that as a common denominator.
It feels good, man, to be in that company. Nappy Roots, we like to think we
give our all in our music and to be around guys or in the company of guys or
in the circumference of guys who do great music and do great works and have
great fans, it just feels good to be invited in those elite companies.
Dubcnn: Some people don’t realize that you guys worked with Kanye West on your
critically acclaimed album “Wooden Leather.” What was the creative experience
like working with Ye’?
Big V: It was the recognization…the recognizing…or whatever you have
(laughing)...it was just two superpowers in the studio. Sometimes it can be
great, and other times it can be better, but we had a great experience with
Kanye. He gave us a classic record. Kanye did his thing and Nappy Roots did
theirs…we are a fan of each others’ work.
Dubcnn: R. Prophet is no longer in Nappy Roots…what was the reason behind his
Skinny DeVille: It’s simple… R. Prophet just chose to go solo and work on his
own album. That’s pretty much it. There ain’t a whole lot about it. We’re
still cool and there ain’t no love lost. We always see each other out and it’s
nothing but love. As far as the group goes and his involvement with the record
or as far as him performing in any Nappy Roots shows -- he won’t be doing that
for a while.
Dubcnn: What is the landscape of the Kentucky rap scene like? Give the
readers here at dubcnn the panorama vision in words to describe our old
Skinny DeVille: I think the scene is bubbling, man. We got a lot of talent out
here that’s definitely going to be able to do what we’ve gotta do to keep the
torch lit for the south and the mid west. I think Kentucky is a midway point
in America, a lot of great music comes through there and, as fans of hip hop
and good music, Kentuckians, we consume that and we spit our own version out.
Our version is called “Nappy Roots”, you know what I’m saying, this is what we
do. And within all of that, there are a lot of things that spawn great ideas
from what we say. And I see that the next generations, and the generations to
come within hip-hop are going to have more identities with their own state. I
think Kentucky is bubbling; I think Kentucky is next on the list to do what
we’ve got to do. We’ve just got to come through, support each other with good
music and stand behind each other and do what the big boys do.
Dubcnn: Speaking of Kentucky, you have an official calendar day, “Nappy Roots
Day” actually sanctioned by the Governor of Kentucky. I mean, damn guys, how
did you get an actual day named after you…that shit bugs me out!
Skinny DeVille: You get that by putting Kentucky on the map. That’s it… We did
a lot of big things and every time we got in front or the camera or got an
opportunity to say things, we always shouted out where we were from. And
people that was where we were from saw that and they seen it and we just did
it so much and brought so much attention back to Kentucky, just in regards to
hip-hop alone that they were like you know what, these dudes, they deserve it,
they were everywhere and everybody knew that these dudes represented Kentucky
in the best possible way.
Dubcnn: The legendary Chuck D once said, “Who gives a f**k about a goddamned
Grammy,” but hip-hop has changed so much and is now embraced by pop culture.
What was it like for the group when Nappy Roots was nominated for a Grammy? Is
the Red Carpet all that it’s cracked up to be?
Big V: Well, we got on the list – was it Joan Rivers who said we were the
worst dressed, was it Skinny? (Skinny: Hmm, yeah something like that.) Yeah
it’s cool, and when you’re Grammy nominated you already won. You’ve already
been recognized for your great work. We didn’t win it for neither one of the
nominations we were up for, but it was cool to be there and if life don’t get
no better, we seen it. And hopefully it do, man, and to those who got
Grammies, man, I see you and we recognize and we want one. We want all the
fruits and blessings that God has been waiting for Nappy Roots, you know, we
understand the DVD – “The Secret” so we building and thanking and training for
success. So the new thing is energy, positive energy and surely we will get
back to the Grammys and American Music Awards, MTV…all that. We want to get
back to it with the Humdinger in 2008, with our best foot forward, a five-man
collective, and it’s beautiful.
Dubcnn: Will the Nappy Roots be touring the West Coast any time soon?
Skinny DeVille: Oh most definitely, most definitely. I know were working on a
West Coast segment of “The Pursuit of Nappiness Tour” which is what is going
on right now. It’s 100 dates and some of those dates coming up later on this
summer -- sometime this summer I should say, we’ll be on the West Coast. So,
definitely be on the look out for us on the West Coast this summer. Nappy
Roots will be in your city and your town real soon. We’re hitting everybody so
don’t worry about it, we’re coming to you. Just keep logging on to our MySpace
www.myspace.com/nappyrootsmusic Pretty soon you’ll be able to check us
out on our own dot com,
as we just finally got that back from the label [Atlantic Records]. We’re
going to be out grinding and getting it so just be on the lookout for us
wherever you can.
Dubcnn: Any last words for our readers at Dubcnn?
Skinny DeVille: You can hit us up at
www.myspace.com/nappyrootsmusic or you can hit up my own publicist,
Jonathan Hay, if you want to book a
Nappy Roots show email,
email@example.com. Our MySpace is the easiest way to get to know
what we’re doing and where we’re going. If you’re going to hit us up, hit up
the dot coms like I said they’ll be available on the MySpace page as well for
information -- Holla!
Nappy Roots gave Dubcnn.com a Shoutout. Check that