Published on October 3rd, 2022 | by MuzikScribe


Nappy Roots: Slow And Steady Wins The Race


Please introduce for me the members of Nappy Roots…

Fish Scales, Skinny DeVille, B. Stille and Ron Clutch.

In light of recent events, how’s Fish Scales doing?

Fish Scales: I can take this one. I’m good. Things happen, and all we can do is make the best of things. I wanted to get back with my brothers as soon as possible, and am already performing again and am back at work at the brewery. Lots of love for everyone sending love my way. It means a lot.

On a less somber note, let’s hop right into this lead single, “Random Thoughts,” which debuted Friday September 16th also in celebration of Nappy Roots Day — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?

Skinny Deville: “Random Thoughts” is just one of those introspective tracks that Nappy Roots can be known for. It’s produced by an up and coming producer named Juan “JR” Rubio from Miami I believe, and we were just vibing in the studio when I stumbled across the track. I immediately wrote a verse without overthinking it and sent it to the rest of the guys. Scales heard what I wrote and added to it, then B. Stille blessed it. We got our artist on our Not Regular label Svnday to lay the hook down, and there you have it.

How then does “Random Thoughts” either differ and / or compare to previous Nappy Roots’ entries?

Skinny Deville: It’s pretty easy for us to make records that are a slice of life and true to our nature. So if you listen to our previous material you’ll know that we’re not going outside of the norm on this one. We try to keep it simple and not be too braggadocious on most records but speak from a place of experience, rather it be a trial and tribulations record or some sort of reflective point of view mostly. The beat always tells you what to write if you listen to it. This one spoke to me loud and clear… “This is my analog confession, we gotta do better, that’s my suggestion…,” everything else just flowed from there.

“Random Thoughts” comes courtesy of your still forthcoming 9th studio collection — What all exactly can you reveal and / or divulge about upcoming said body of work?

Skinny Deville: It’s hard to say at this point. We normally take our time creating bodies of work at this level in our careers. Most of our albums take about two years to make, and this one will be no different. Slow and steady wins the race, and we have to step our game up in order to compete with the 40 Akerz trilogy we released between 2015 and 2020. Life has been good to us, but we’ve endured the ups and downs it tends to throw in our direction sometimes. We just want the music to reflect where we have been and the approach to how it’s going, and put it down so it is sonically just as impressive as the rest of our catalog. In a nutshell.

Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you all first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Nappy Roots?

Skinny Deville: For me, it started in the early to mid-eighties. My love for Hip Hop goes back to Big Daddy Kane, Eric B. & Rakim, BDP, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Kool Moe Dee, Whodini, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, OutKast, Goodie Mob and basically the whole Dungeon Family to name a few. Me and Ron Clutch came up with the idea to start a rap group after listening to Goodie Mob’s first album Soul Food while walking to class in 1995. From there, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I’m sure everyone else has their own moment of greatness similar to mine.

Now you all are natives of Bowling Green, Kentucky, correct? So growing up in the ‘Bluegrass State,’ who all else did / do you all consider to be your strongest musical influences?

Skinny Deville: Big V was the only person originally from Bowling Green. Me, Stille, Clutch and Prophet were all from Louisville while Fish Scales was from Milledgeville, Georgia. We just all met in college at Western Kentucky University, which was in Bowling Green, KY.

At what point in time did you all even opt to pursue music on a professional basis?

Skinny Deville: When we signed that contract with Atlantic Records in 1998. That’s when shit got real! *Laughs*

With that being said, how do you all classify your overall sound and / or style?

Skinny Deville: Southern Conscious Hip Hop

What’s that whole creative (studio) process like for you all?

Skinny Deville: There’s 99 ways to skin a cat! Each song is done differently. Sometimes we’re all together and sometimes we’re not. Being that we’re a four man group at this present time and live in two different cities, we send a lot of songs back and forth via email. But when we are all together, we can go through several tracks and agree on one or two and just go to our corners and write what we feel. Sometimes we’re on the same page, sometimes we’re completely off…but whoever has the best verse normally shapes the song in that direction. If we can’t get on the same page, then we hope the hook will bring it together. If that doesn’t work, then you’ll never hear that song…in life. Ever! We tried, but it didn’t meet the standards for release.

What particular string of events actually led to y’all’s initial signing to / with Atlantic Records?

Skinny Deville: We put out our first project while in college called Country Fried Cess in May 1998, and worked the hell out of it in Kentucky. Mike Caren came calling that August and said he wanted to sign us. Nobody else came after that. One ship was sailing out and we hopped on that bih…didn’t look back or wait for another one.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you all want people to get from your music?

Skinny Deville: That we stood the test of time. That we added something to the state of Hip Hop from a place where not too many before us were able to do. That we remained friends throughout it all, and didn’t let fads or trends dictate our integrity and lyricism. That every album was a solid effort, and put you in a nostalgic place when you go back and listen to ‘em. That we cared about production and lyricism on every song, and on every album. That we had fun doing it our whole career, and never let the money or lack thereof become the reason we did it. That it’s better to (be) under-rated versus overrated any day of the week in our opinion. That no matter what happened or what was said: ‘We Kept it Nappy!’

If you all could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Skinny Deville: Done it already!

If you all could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Skinny Deville: The Super Bowl! Because…why not? *More laughs*

In terms of longevity, what do you all feel it is that will continue to sustain you in this grueling industry?

Skinny Deville: Slow and steady wins the race. Knowledge of self and integrity helps.

Do you all have any other outside / additional future aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

Skinny Deville: Well right now, Me and Scales have opened Atlantucky Brewing in Atlanta during the pandemic in 2020. I never thought that this actual idea would come to fruition, especially during a time where all hope for everyone was fading and people were dying at a crazy rate. For us to be able to pivot during this time was a blessing from the universe itself, because now we have another way to reach people with our creativity and it’s an amazing thing to see the marriage of craft beer and Hip Hop in real time.

On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

Skinny Deville: That’s not for me to say. Hip Hop is still growing, and it’s definitely in a place nobody thought it would be. It’s multi-generational at this point, and I appreciate all aspects of it. What my kiddos listen to might not be what I would ride around listening to and vice versa…but there’s always a balance that happens in Hip Hop, and I look forward to seeing that happen from time to time without complaining about the process. I’m here for it all.

To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?

Skinny Deville: Nappy Roots Day! In Kentucky in 2002 and now in Atlanta in 2022. Who else in Hip Hop has their own holiday in two different places? I’ll wait. *Laughs again*

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you all see yourselves?

Skinny Deville: Hopefully old(er). Alive and well, and not living with resentment nor with any regret.

As for the immediate, what’s next for Nappy Roots?

Skinny Deville: Back to brewing, working on this next album and building our Not Regular record label to help the next generation of artists have a shot at some of the opportunities that we have been able to enjoy through this thing called music.

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

Skinny Deville: Make sure you check out both singles and music videos we dropped this month; “Random Thoughts” and “Box of Chocolates,” which will be a prelude to what will come from Nappy Roots in 2023. Follow us on Facebook, IG, Twitter and YouTube at @NappyRootsTV and our Atlantucky Brewery on IG @Atlantucky and check us out when we come to your city through BandsinTown.

Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?

Skinny Deville: Love y’all and Keep it Nappy! Thanks.

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