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Q & A with Nappy Roots

Photos: Connor McCourtney

On Friday night, hip-hop group Nappy Roots performed at the annual Drake Relays Court Avenue celebration. The group was nominated for a Grammy in 2003 for Best Rap/Song Collaboration for their song “Po’ Folks.” On Friday, Nappy Roots knew just what to offer to the enthusiastic crowd of college students on Court Avenue: loud music to dance to.

Q: How did you meet and how was the band formed?

A: We met at West Kentucky University between 1993 and ’97. We were all trying to get an education and to better ourselves. Fish Scales was there on a full-ride basketball scholarship; he’s from Georgia. The rest of us are from Kentucky. What really brought us together, though, was our love of music and, especially, hip-hop. At first, we would spend our nights free styling in the back of house parties. Then we started putting songs on cassette tapes and ended up putting out our first album with Atlantic Records in 1998. What we remember is that we all came from college; we’re proud of that.

Q: Who are your musical influences?

A: Definitely Ice Cube. Also, Tupac, Church, Bob Marley…

Q: Where else have you performed and where was your favorite place?

A: We’ve been all around the world. In 2003, we performed for the troops in Kuwait. We’ve also been to London, Germany, the Bahamas and almost all 50 states, except North and South Dakota–we hope to get there soon. The sky is the limit for us. We mainly perform for universities, they’re our comfort zone, but we have versatility. We’ve performed in small hole-in-the-wall venues and big arenas. We have also been fortunate to align ourselves with some of the greats. We recently performed with Keri Hilson. In the past we’ve been with Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews, The Marley Brothers and more. I think our favorite place was at home in Louisville, Ky., at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in 2004. It was the first annual Nappy Roots Day. There were about 16,000 people there.

Q: How did you feel when you were nominated for a Grammy?

A: It was a damn good dream. The thing about the greats who have won, they’re legends. It was a surreal experience.

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