29 May Hip Hop, Brewing and The Things That Make Us Nappy
The air smells of brewing beer and there are small refrigerators with freshly stocked brews from newly formed brewery Atlantucky spilling forth from every crevice in this converted garage. It’s a comfortable air-conditioned sterile environment with a very warm atmosphere. Hanging on the wall are stainless steel spoons, liquid tubing and a strainer right next to a framed Bob Marley poster. This is a place where dreams are in motion, and good beer flows like the rhymes on the paper. Nappy Roots has been in the rap game for 23 years now and over those years they have matured in to one of Hip-Hops strongest forces in the Southern Hip Hop genre. With the recent release of their new album Another 40 Akerz, Nappy Roots has been touring nationwide relentlessly with sold out music halls to packed festivals. This year, they are returning to Mondo Roots and I had the distinct pleasure of catching up with them to discuss the album and their new venture in to brewing.
How has this year’s and last year’s tour been going with the release of Another 40 Akerz?
Been going great. Still out throughout the country. We have also been super focused on getting our
brewery and brewing concern up and going. (Scales, Clutch, Stille and Weeks)
Last year was the first year that you all played at Mondo Roots, was there anything that surprised you
about playing in of all places Clayton NC?
The people were super nice…It felt like a big family reunion and the turnout was amazing. Particularly, the festival staff was super helpful. The weather was amazing….it was a great day overall. (Scales, Clutch and Weeks) I‘ve been familiar with Clayton for the past 20 years. I came down for college in Durham and my sons played rec football and baseball against Clayton. About 10 years later, I had a chance to open a business in Clayton, which was super exciting because it gave me an opportunity to introduce something new to a small town…The people loved it and I made a ton of friends here. Clayton really throws away a lot of the preconceived notions that you would have about a small town in the south. (Weeks)
Why did you decide to return to Mondo Roots again this year?
We feel connected to the festival, we share last names! The crowd was super receptive, and we love
small towns. Our song “Small Town” is a true story and Clayton woulda (have) been mentioned had we
visited here before we recorded it 10 years ago. -Scales
New to this year is the Mondo Roots VIP Tent, in that tent we are doing Craft Beer Sampling all day, rumor has
it that you all are craft beer connoisseurs and have even begun working on your own brews, tell us about that.
Yeah, (as you can tell) we have set up a microbrewery and are brewing between 20-30 gallons of beer per session.
When we are not out on the road, we are brewing. Really just learning and getting better and more
creative with our recipes.
From there we have had the opportunity to do a few collabs with larger breweries. In fact we are doing
our first National Release called Watermelon, Chiquen, and Gritz!! That may be what we have on deck
at Mondo! -Scales
Like beer, your albums have some similarities but a wide arrange of diversity, what sets this most recent album
of Another 40 Akerz apart?
As part two of the series, Another 40 Akerz really completed the musical journey and experiment we
went on. Wholly produced by 808 Blake, we really trusted him to give us a great sounding follow up to
the original. All components remain, big drums, great insightful rappin’, big melodies and a good time.
Why do you think your fans range so much, last year it looked like the crowd of Mondo Roots was of every age
and race group?
Nappy Roots covered all their bases when we came out and appealed to a wide range, personal
backgrounds and growing up in diverse cultures. BRIDGES are what we build, we kick it with everyone
and build bridges between regardless of any dividing factors. -CLUTCH
There are a lot of younger fans that are starting to wake up to the world of 90’s and early 2000s Hip Hop, why
do you think that era has so much staying power and is back on the rise?
Albums and stories were still being made and told (STILLE) This generation is the first generation to be able to get history instantaneously. We had to wait for encyclopedias to publish stuff about the previous generation. So as kids look back to times when they were born, the internet gives them an opportunity to experience the arts immediately and without having to listen to their parents tell them how much better their music was. Instead they can discover that on their own and not have to give parents credit. This was an important time period where two generations were listening to the same genre of music (hip hop) and that really opened things up tremendously. (Weeks)
You all have been doing this since ’95, what would you tell young artists that are striving to start a career in
Listen to 1985 by J. Cole. He wraps it up perfectly. We could expound on that but then you wouldn’t
go listen, and you need to listen!
Nappy Roots will be headlining this year’s Mondo Roots festival on June 2nd. In order to hang with them this year and have the opportunity to sample some of their beer VIP tickets will be required, must be 21 or older. For more information or to purchase tickets go to Mondoroots.com.