Nappy Roots play Dobson Arena
VAIL – Rapper B. Stille of hip-hop group Nappy Roots has a whole new appreciation for snowboarders. The six rappers that make up the group – B. Stille, Prophet, Ron Clutch, Big V, Fish Scales and Skinny DeVille -all tried their hand at the sport in January when they performed with Coolio at Copper Mountain. B. Stille and Clutch were the only members of the hip-hop collective to make it down the mountain. The view was beautiful, B. Stille said, but admitted the rappers are better athletes on the stage.”I apologize for the people that I knocked down on that mountain,” he said. “I hope they walk OK now.”The Grammy-nominated group Nappy Roots play Friday night at the Dobson Arena in Lionshead as part of the nightlife portion of the Teva Mountain Games. The group has sold close to 2.5 million CDs since they were signed to Atlantic Records in 1998. Although the group has not been to Vail, they did fly into the Eagle Airport while touring parts of Colorado.
“Nappy Roots has fans all over the world and, I guess, Colorado,” B. Stille said. “It’s hard to hit those spots just because it’s so hard to get in there.”Although primarily hip-hop and rap, musical group Nappy Roots also incorporates a folksy, bluegrass feel into their music, showing off their Southern roots. “We make, for the most part, feel-good music,” B. Stille said. “We feel good about the music we make and seeing the reaction of the people.”The group counts Scarface, Outkast, many Southern rappers and the late Tupac and Biggie Smalls as their biggest musical influences, B. Stille said. “Being from Kentucky where we are, we’re kind of a mixture of everybody,” he said. Since Kentucky is in the middle of the nation, the group is musically influenced by both the East and West Coast, the South and the Midwest, he said. Before Nappy Roots was formed, there was no music scene in the town where five of the members went to college, Bowling Green, so the rappers opened a mom-and-pop record store with a studio in the back, B. Stille said.
“Maybe with the exception of Outkast and Wu-Tang, there really hasn’t been any group in the last decade to come out on their own,” he said. Now, there are all sorts of artists getting signed out of Bowling Green, he said. For the work they did to start up a hip-hop scene in Kentucky, the governor proclaimed Sept. 16 “Nappy Roots Day” in 2002. They rappers were also made Kentucky Colonels, the highest rank a civilian can reach in the state.The group hopes to reconnect with its fan base with its newest album, “The Humdinger,” coming out this fall. The six rappers have been working on songs that take cues from jazz, reggae and rock. There will also be “hard core club beats,” he said.”We just can’t stop making music, and we won’t stop,” B. Stille said. “We’ve got too much demand.”It has been three years since Nappy Roots’ second major album, “Wooden Leather,” came out, and some have been wondering what the group has been up to. “You might have to dig a little deeper to find some of our music, but it’s out there,” B. Stille said.
The group put out a smaller, less-promoted album, “The Leak,” last year. Two of the rappers, Prophet and Fish Scales, have been working on solo albums. B. Stille said all of the rappers have aspirations of doing a solo project one day. B. Stille himself said he hopes to put out his own album next year. “Each one of us has our own flavor,” he said. “We’re going to appeal to different people.”At Friday’s concert, B. Stille promises that the group will be playing some songs from the new album as well as classics from “Wooden Leather” and their first major album, “Watermelon, Chicken and Grtiz,” released in 2001. After the concert, B. Stille said he will stick around and catch some of the Teva Mountain Games. “We don’t just do the show and leave,” he said. “We kick it with the people.”B. Stille said he hopes Nappy Roots will be on top years down the road.”We’ve laid the foundation to become legendary musicians and legendary people in general,” he said. “What we’ve done for the state of Kentucky, hip-hop musicians in my state, has never been done before.”
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