Nappy Roots Aim To Nourish Kentucky-Style With Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz

Hip-hop group's major-label debut slated for February 26 release.

As symbolic album titles go, Nappy Roots' Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz

should be at the top of the list. The album from Skinny DeVille, R.

Prophet, Big V, Scales, Ron Clutch and B. Stille, scheduled for a February

26 release, mixes all the nourishing elements the Kentucky hip-hop group

hopes to include in its funkdafied music.

"You can look at watermelon and break it down all different kinds of ways,"

Skinny DeVille said. "Just think of watermelon in the summertime and how

refreshing it is to you if you're a little kid and you're finished playing."

"Chicken, that's that soul food," he continued. "In the South, that's one

of the basic things of the meal. You can cook that chicken on Sunday with

your family, or really any day of the week. Them grits, that's what sticks

to you before you go out to school in the morning. Them grits are going to

stick to you for real."

Such tracks as the bubbling single "Awnaw" and the reflective "Final Thought"

demonstrate that Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz achieves Nappy Roots' vision.

"Within that, you've got the refreshment, the soul food, the sh-- that's

going to stick to you," DeVille said. "That's what our music is. It's refreshing, it's food for thought and it's going to stick to you for a while."

Nappy Roots know what it's like to stick to something. Even though the

Bowling Green, Kentucky, sextet will be releasing Watermelon, Chicken

& Gritz, their major-label debut, next month, they have been on the musical grind for a

hot minute. They put out their first two albums — 1998's Country Fried

Cess and 1999's No Comb, No Brush, No Fade, No Perm — on their own

locally, selling several copies to students at neighboring Western Kentucky

University.

Because of the September 11 tragedies and other factors, though, Watermelon,

Chicken & Grtiz was not released at the end of 2001 as originally planned. 

Instead, the group refocused and tweaked its album, making sure that it

contained a balanced mix of fun and uplifting messages.

"We want to take listeners to another mind-state, where everything isn't so

life-costing, where everybody has to die and things of that nature," R.

Prophet said. "There's a few more things to live for than just placing

values in some monetary things that when it comes down to it, doesn't

matter."

Songs such as the thumping "Ballin' on a Budget" and the hometown anthem

"Kentucky Mud" attest to Nappy Roots' diverse musical mission, which aims to

educate, entertain, nourish and, of course, give props to the Bluegrass

State.

"The folks in Kentucky are definitely happy that they've got some folks that

can rep the home spot now," DeVille said.  "Kentucky and other spots have to

rep for people on other coasts. Now they've got something that they can

call their own. It definitely means a lot to the folks in Kentucky. I

think they're more surprised than we are."