Nappy Roots is back at Belly Up |

Nappy Roots is back at Belly Up

Tristan Niskanen
Special to The Aspen Times

When Nappy Roots formed at Western Kentucky University in 1996, they were an independent Southern rap sextet. They released “Country Fried Cess” in 1998 and instantly attracted attention from major labels. By 2002, they were signed to Atlantic Records and released the best-selling hip-hop album of 2002, “Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz.” Today, they are independent again and the group is a quartet. They are on a Colorado tour right now that starts in Aspen today and ends in Fort Collins on Sunday.

When Nappy Roots takes the stage again tonight at Belly Up in support of their 2017 album, “Another 40 Akerz,” expect Nappy Roots’ unique and refreshing hip-hop. Although the group’s last two albums have been recorded mainly by the members Skinny DeVille and Fish Scales, the entire current Nappy Roots lineup will be together to perform hits such as “Good Day” and “Awnaw.”

“Another 40 Akerz” remains true to Nappy Roots’ distinctive southern sound while incorporating influences of the trap-dominated hip-hop sound of today. Producer 808Blake of SMKA produced both “Another 40 Akerz” and the 2015 “The 40 Akerz Project.” He is Nappy Root’s tour DJ and has helped Nappy Roots bridge the gap and stay fresh.

“I am because we are, we are because I am” is Nappy Roots’ motto and also is a part of the chorus of “Nappy Roots Day.” This motto is a statement on the group’s sense of family. The fact that the group has remained successful for decades despite several roadblocks, challenges and ever-changing hip-hop market shows that Nappy Roots are here to stay. In 2002, Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton declared Sept. 16 as Nappy Roots Day as a part of an educational program for students in Kentucky. Like their roots at Western Kentucky University, Nappy Roots remain dedicated to promoting the importance of education. Their music is a blend of conscious hip-hop mixed with the high energy of party music.

Following the group models of Cash Money Records, Master P’s No Limit Records and the Wu-Tang Clan, Nappy Roots continually innovates their sound and product. They have managed to stay together despite losing two members who went off to pursue solo careers. Nappy Roots has their own clothing line and are working on other business ventures. Revisit the classic “Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz” before checking out the latest two “40 Akerz” albums. For people looking for a fun hip-hop show with southern rap legends, Nappy Roots at Belly Up Aspen is sure to be a thrilling show.

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