While carving out their own unique niche, the group
parlayed their hustling instincts into a number of early entrepreneurial
ventures including the Nappy Roots T-shirts that quickly became the
hottest-selling item on the WKU campus. However, their biggest venture
came via the local ET's Music record shop (with ET short for ER'Thangs
Tight). It was at ET's, which also doubled as a production studio, where
the six would musically take shape with each Nappy Roots member
bringing their own distinct flavor to the mix.
"You'd think it would be hard to get six guys
moving in the same direction, but that's something more people bring to
our attention than we actually think about ourselves," says Skinny
DeVille. "We just be kickin' it, doing what we doing and not really
thinking about the fact that 'okay, it's six people.' It is a matter of
give and take."
Of course, the Nappy Roots creative formula has
been paying off for years now, giving rise to an underground following
courted through tantalizingly belligerent flows, intuitive hood
analysis, and PA-melting beats. Created and sold at ET's, the Nappy
Roots 1998 indie album, "Country Fried Cess," flew off the
retail shelves from the word go. In fact, NR garnered such a tremendous
buzz with the album that representatives from Atlantic Records soon came
They're much happier with the simple things in life.
"We're trying to make people realize that it's good to just be
you," says Skinny DeVille, who, along with his five other mic
cohorts, rhymes about "ballin' on a budget." "That's
essentially what Nappy Roots is about. We're glamorizing being
In shying from narcissistic, flashy images, "Watermelon,
Chicken & Gritz" stands as the antithesis of the norm. "You
ain't gotta be country to understand it," says Big V. of the
album's title and overarching themes. "Our music is just like those
foods fresh of the earth, of the soul." Indeed, the Nappy
collective serves up a hearty helping of soul food for thought with
tracks like the pensively absorbing "Peanuts," a
semi-autobiographical account of the group's ongoing struggles. Over the
splatter funk of the Groove Chambers produced "Peanuts," the
listener is hit straight up with introspective lines like "Ain't
about thuggin'/it ain't about hustlin'/it's about seeing your kids go
The Scales-composed "Life's a Risk" is
equally as ruminating with such Skinny DeVille rhymes as "On the
verge of losing my mind as well as my last nerve/I served my last dime
standin' on this crack curb." In this way, the group places you on
the frontlines of a future fraught with uncertainty. With production
contributions from the likes of Carlos Broady and label-mate Jazze Pha,
the album possesses an abundance of tracks sure to secure Nappy Roots
among the game's most contemplative thinkers, as it also demonstrates
their readiness to party crunk with the best of them as they reveal
on the block rattling "N-A-P-P-Y."
However, proving their musical muscle is only part of
the challenge for Nappy Roots there's also the responsibility
of holding it down for their often over-looked hometurf. "It's like
a plant," says Big V. "If there's no light to shine on
Kentucky, it won't grow." "We do have a burden on our
shoulders because a lot is riding on the success of Nappy Roots,"
adds Ron Clutch. "But we're not worried. Our music speaks for
"Nappy Roots believes that you are the diamond. You should
shine," said Big V, a Bowling Green native. "Why not you? It's
OK to be a common person. Like if you don't get your jeans dirty today,
which is a Tuesday, then Thursday you can put 'em on again, you know
what I'm saying?
"Just be you, and it's all right to be common, cause there's
more common people in the world than rich, so we cater to the common
man. I don't want to tell people something they can't relate to.
Everybody likes turnip greens and chicken somewhere or another, whether
it's baked, fricasseed, rotisserie or deep-fried.
"So it's that way, you know, just talking in language so that
people know how it is to have pocket lint and beer money, nothing more,
Now that, my brother, is keeping it nappy.