There are more than a few surprises in the long and fairly illustrious timeline of Nappy Roots. The Hip Hop collective first assembled in Bowling Green, Ky., in 1995, and then spent the next four years honing their craft and sharpening their skills before dropping their debut album, Country Fried Cess.
The album was a fascinating blend of Southern Pop/Rock, R&B and stone solid Hip Hop grooves and moves that resulted in a contract with Atlantic Records. Nappy Roots’ major label debut, Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz, was an absolute sensation, notching multi-platinum sales and spawning three enormous singles — “Headz Up,” “Awnaw” and “Po’ Folks” — and becoming the year’s best-selling Hip Hop album. Home state pride was so pronounced that even then-governor Paul Patton designated Sept. 16 as Nappy Roots Day.
Nappy Roots’ follow-up, 2003’s Wooden Leather, was co-produced by Kanye West, Lil Jon and David Banner. The group parted ways with Atlantic and returned to being independents, starting its own label and self-marketing subsequent releases. In 2006, R. Prophet left for a solo career and Nappy Roots soldiered on as a quintet, releasing their indie mixtape, Innerstate Music, the following year. In 2008, Nappy Roots roared back with The Humdinger, which hit the Top 10 on Billboard’s Rap Chart, followed by the well-received The Pursuit of Nappyness in 2010 and Nappy Dot Org in 2011.
Last year, Nappy Roots was reduced to a quartet after the defection of Big V, who also wanted to explore his solo options; the remaining members (Fish Scales, Skinny DeVille, B. Stille and Ron Clutch) released their 10th mixtape, Sh!ts Beautiful, and their anthemic and uplifting new single, “Ain’t Gon Stop,” presumably a teaser for what will hopefully be Nappy Roots’ sixth studio album.
Nappy days are here again.
NAPPY ROOTS perform Wednesday, May 29 with Oreo Jones and Tobotius at Southgate House Revival in Newport. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here .