Edited by Azizi Powell
This is Part IV of a four part series about current (as of October 2016) attitudes among African Americans about the word "nappy". Part IV highlights the Hip Hop group Nappy Roots and their 2002 hit song "Po' Folks"'. Selected comments from the discussion thread of a video of that song are included in that post.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/changing-attitudes-among-african.html for Part I of this series. Part I highlights a 2015 vlog (video blog) about a second apology that African American comedian Sheryl Underwood made on a CBS talk show where she is co-host about comments that she had made on that show in 2012 disparaging "nappy" hair. Selected comments from that video's discussion thread are also included in this post.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/articles-about-black-natural-hair.html for Part II of this series. Part II provides information about the Black natural hair movement in the United States, France, Ivory Coast, and Brazil. Information about the Black natural hair type classification system that appears to be widely used by African American natural hair care professionals and African Americans with natural hair styles is also included in one of these articles.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/10/videos-of-black-natural-hairstyles-in.html for Part III of this series. Part III features several videos that showcase various Black natural hairstyles in the United States and elsewhere.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
Thanks to Nappy Roots for their musical legacy. Thanks to all who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this showcased video.
Other pancocojams posts on the word "nappy" will be published periodically. Click the tag "nappy" or "natural hair" for links to previous posts and new posts.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE HIP HOP GROUP "NAPPY ROOTS"
"Nappy Roots is an American alternative Southern rap quartet that originated in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1995. They are best known for their hit singles "Po' Folks", "Awnaw", "Roun' The Globe" and "Good Day". They were the best selling hip hop group of 2002. The group consists of Milledgeville, Georgia native Fish Scales and Kentucky natives Skinny DeVille, B. Stille and Ron Clutch.
In 2006, Oakland, California native R. Prophet left the group, and in 2012 Kentucky native Big V aka Vito Banga also left. Both former members are pursuing solo careers.
The group formed when the members were students at Western Kentucky University. Nappy Roots' debut independent album Country Fried Cess was released in 1998, which led to the group being signed by Atlantic Records. Their first album on Atlantic Records was 2002's best selling hip-hop album, "Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz". The multi-platinum album featured the hit-singles "Headz Up", "Awnaw", and "Po' Folks". The "Awnaw (Remix)" featuring Marcos of P.O.D. appeared on Madden 2003. In their home state, Paul E. Patton the governor of Kentucky, sanctioned September 16 as "Nappy Roots Day"....
Nappy Roots kicked off 2010 with their highly anticipated new album, "The Pursuit of Nappyness", released June 15, 2010.
In 2011, Nappy has teamed up with hip hop producers Organized Noize to create "Nappy Dot Org". The first single "Congratulations" made its way into cyberspace on July 13, 2011 by way of XXL Magazine and 2DopeBoyz. On October 11, 2011 Nappy Roots released their new album "Nappy Dot Org" that was entirely produced by Organized Noize.
The "Nappy Roots Presents Sh!ts Beautiful"* album/mixtape that was released on June 27, 2012 through AllHipHop."...
*This is the spelling of that word that is given in that article.
One website that I found whose name I can't recall indicates that the name of the Hip Hop group "Nappy Roots" is "slang for hair".
It would be more accurate say that one American English definition of the word "nappy" is "a referent for afro-textured, tightly curled, kinky hair". Furthermore, the statement that the name of the Hip Hop group "Nappy Roots" only refers to hair is incomplete. The words "nappy roots" in that Hip Hop group's name also refer to being "for real", being natural, being true to yourself, and remaining true to your country [rural, down home] upbringing.
For more on this subject, read the information section below and particularly note the sentences that are given in italics.
Note that "Nappy Roots" isn't the same group as the Hip Hop group "The Roots" that is the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The group "Nappy Roots" also shouldn't be confused with the Hip Hop group "Nappy Headz" or the Fugees' song "Nappy Heads".
INFORMATION ABOUT THE NAPPY ROOTS ALBUM "WATERMELON, CHICKEN & GRITZ" AND THE SONG "PO' FOLKS"
..."The title they chose for the album ["Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz"] reflected these ideas. "That's what our music is," DeVille told Rolling Stone in January of 2002. "It's refreshing, it's food for thought and it's going to stick to you for a while."*
MTV.com noted that the band's cause was helped when the record company "began touting them as the south's answer to New York's Wu-Tang Clan."Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz" was certified gold (for sales of 500,000 copies) only seven weeks after its release. It went platinum (with sales of 1,000,000 copies) on the success of the singles "Awnaw" and "Po' Folks." (with sales of 1,000,000 copies) on the success of the singles "Awnaw" and "Po' Folks." MTV. com called the album "[o]ne of the better records to emerge from the new wave of southern rap."
Discussing the meaning of "Po' Folks," R. Prophet told MTV.com that the lyrics did not only speak of being poor as an economic issue. "[I]t's a state of mind. It's not so bad being poor when you've got your family and God in your life and you have different values that, when it comes down to it, matter. A lot of other things really don't matter when God is knocking at your door. That's basically keeping it Nappy."
*Given that watermelon, (fried) chicken, and grits are often negatively considered stereotypical Southern (and in particular Black Southern) foods, the Nappy Roots' choice of that title further reflects the homage that the group pays to their Southern roots. That album title -like the group's name- is another example of the group turning what some consider to be negative into something positive.
From http://globalgrind.com/1731589/nappy-roots/ Nappy Roots: “To This Day, Kentucky Has Never Gotten Over What We Brought…” by Brittany Lewis, published 2011
..."How has being from Kentucky affected the band’s music?
B. Stille: I think that it was a conscious effort because we didn’t want to be looked at as ‘they’re trying to be somebody from Atlanta or they’re trying to be like somebody from New Orleans.’ We had to establish our own identity. It came natural. We had our own swag. When you’re looking at Nappy Roots, it was thirty deep when I first came to college. I couldn’t even tell you how many people were in Nappy Roots. We were just the rappers, the frontmen of it. We started a cult following. To this day, Kentucky has not gotten over what we brought to the campus.We just took that and translated that to our music and now our whole thing about just doing you and being yourself … you don’t have to fake a front. I think that’s what our whole goal is – to spread that message.
Vito: We’re very proud of Kentucky and that really shows in our music. It’s what we do. We’ve maintained our identity and our culture is the sole reason why we’re still here right now.
...How did you come up with the name Nappy Roots?
It started with me and Clutch walking to class one day in our Goodie Mob phase, it just came out. It was very real, organic music. When we came up with the idea to do Nappy Roots, not the name, but the group, me and Clutch started writing and writing. We had our own record store founded by Black college students and we put Nappy Roots on some shirts first. As we began selling music, we sold Nappy Roots shirts in the front."...
I added italics to highlight those sentences.
" "Po' Folks" (featuring Anthony Hamilton) is the three time grammy-nominated second hit single by the Kentucky rap group Nappy Roots. The beat was produced by Trackboyz. The song's signature concept, verse, and chorus was written by R. Prophet, a prolific member of Nappy Roots. Discussing the meaning of "Po' Folks," Prophet told MTV.com that the lyrics did not only speak of being poor as an economic issue. "It's a state of mind. It's not so bad being poor when you've got your family and God in your life and you have different values that, when it comes down to it, matter. A lot of other things really don't matter when God is knocking at your door." Po' Folks was released in 2002 and taken from Nappy Roots's debut album, Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz. It peaked at number 21 in the U.S. and features vocals by Anthony Hamilton who sung the soulful hook.
Anthony Hamilton's performance, as well as the success of the song, is credited for launching Anthony Hamilton's career in mainstream music ."
PARTIAL LYRICS FOR THE SONG "PO' FOLKS"
(R. Prophet; Nappy Roots)
All my life been po'
But it really don't matter no mo'
And they wonder why we act this way
Nappy Boys gon' be okay
All my life been po'
But it really don't matter no mo'
And they wonder why we act this way
Nappy Roots gon' be okay, "okay
We came in the game, plain ya see
Average man when the rest was ashamed to be
Nappy head and all, ain't no changin me
So rough it was, downright wrong I tell ya
Nobody never gave us nothin but tough time and made us somethin
Different stretch of road, new somethin to see
Every state on the map, a different somethin to eat
Daps and handshakes, it meant nuttin for real
Everybody makin a killin man, showin no feelins
Walkin off collectin pay, it's the way of the world
Can't change it, so I guess I'm gon' pray for the world
Sometimes I ask myself, was I made for the world?
I scream this to you, and I say it to the world
Nappy then, Nappy now - Nappy for a bit
Knee-deep, head over heels in this country sh&t!*
Front po'ch, chillin broke, country folk, I'm Nappy with my ways yo..."
Click http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nappyroots/pofolks.html for the complete lyrics for this song.
*This word is fully spelled out in these lyrics
SHOWCASE VIDEO: Nappy Roots - Po' Folks (Video) w/Anthony Hamilton
Atlantic Records, Uploaded on Oct 26, 2009
SELECTED COMMENTS FROM THIS VIDEO'S DISCUSSION THREAD
These comments are given in chronological order based on their publishing date, with the oldest comment given first, except for replies. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order. I've added numbers for referencing purposes only.
1. T Alexander
"I dont have nappy hair, but im nappy for life"
2. Cali Joe Turner
"CHILLIN BROKE, COUNTRY FOLK, MAN IM NAPPY IN MY WAYS!!!!"
"Chillin" is African American Vernacular English for "relaxing". "Broke" here means "having no money".
"this video is awesome i love seeing the blacks and whites together loving each other and chillin. there's only one homie i would trust my life with and hes a black man and i wouldn't have it any other way. and the black cowboys was hella cool lol. straight country boys. we need more rappers to show this unity instead of the resentment and hate."
"the realest of the real..."
"This video was filmed in my hometown of taylorsville ky, just southeast of louisville. It really doesnt get any better than small town america.... every place you go from mt. eden to elk creek, wakefield doesnt matter if people know you or not, they wave.... its a different world, and i love it!"
"This song just gives you such a great feeling no matter where you come from. I've always loved it, and I'm not all that country (Kinda, but not really)"
7. John Moss
"these are the first rappers ever thats actually rap about stuff worth rapping"
"@jmossUM6 tupac- dear mama
nas - dance
nas - just a moment
biggie- everyday struggle
tupac - letter to my unborn child
tupac- unconditional love
listen to them bro , they are what rap is all about :)"
9. vince lance
"what makes these guys great is that are genuine, they rap from their heart not their wallet."
"hip hop is capable of having a lot of soul and passion, and here's a perfect example."
"Nappy Roots refers to the collective of musicians. Also, Nappy generally refers to unruly african american hair, here in the states. The tight curly kind thats hard to take care of."
12. michael frye
"Hell yeah, thats KENTUCKY, now home of the 2012 NCAA CHAMPS. I dig Nappy Roots, and the pride they have in their ROOTS, down home KENTUCKY BOYS."
13. Marqus Davis
"You know its country...
how you say?
black people, overalls, and cowboy hats"
"Living poor does give you a strong sense of character... and morals. When you struggle your whole life makes you a very conscious person. This song i knew was a hit when first heard it back in 06. Now hip hop is slipping away..."
"my folks are on food stamps, this song ain't about color except green. not having cash, just hanging in there, grinding man. great song."
"Food stamps" is a colloquial name for a United States federal nutrition program that helps income eligibe people buy certain food.
The comment that "this song ain't about color except green" means that the blogger feels that this song isn't only about or only for Black people. Paper money (the dollar) in the United States is green.
16. Wolfpack87063 years ago
R.I.P to the old southern Hip Hop
"Exactly right my brah. I miss this time in Hip Hop. When if you were a rapper or a group with substance to your music you didn't have to be underground. I remember coming home after school and seeing this video on 106 and Park or hearing it on the radio in the car. Now a days, anybody with a message or meaning to their music gets no mainstream media airtime. It's like they put a ban on good music that spread hope and positivity and only wanna promote garbage. Damn shame."
18. Miguel San Martin
"Found them by looking up "Country rap" of Wikipedia. Glad curiosity got the best of me because this song is DOPE!"
"Dope" is African American Vernacular English for "great".
"Even a city dude like myself understand perfectly how it is to struggle songs like this is so inspiring no matter how you was brought up to truly appreciate life counting all the blessing that been given to you. Thank you Nappy Roots for making good music as it should be."
20. The Verbal Architect
"Keep it nappy! y'all will always be crankin out hits!"
"Nappy Roots are real music.. I don't even wanna say hip-hop because they're bigger than that.. they always had something really genuine about their music that crosses all genres and different kinds of people"
22. c walker
"it aint about black or white. its bout po. the tie that binds."
"This song is great. I'm proud to be country raised on fish and grits. NC...."
24. Shawn Haines
"Nappy Roots FOREVER! Fish Scales, Skinny DeVille, Buffalo Stille, & Ron Clutch! <3"
25. DaVido Vose
"wat a true good joint from the Nappy Roots crew. this a throwback when music was real unlike wat we hear today..."
26. Chogono G
"KEEP IT NAPPY!"
This concludes Part IV of this four part pancocojams series.
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