So, you couldn’t quite make it to the last Outkast show, huh? Well whatever it was that caused you to miss that unmistakable brand of Southern rap that the “krunk” duo so animatedly perform, don’t fret. The University of South Florida is here to help–sort of.
Sunday the Special Events Center will host the lesser-known Outkast disciple, Nappy Roots. If Nappy Roots were to kidnap their flamboyant counterparts and stand in at the next Arista record release party, the execs would never even know it.
Nevertheless, if you like Southern rap that is less commercial than Master P or Ludacris and has a bit more substance than Outkast or Dungeon Family, well, these Southern folk are right up your alley.
Nappy Roots hail from Kentucky (with a couple of members from Oakland and one from Georgia thrown in for good measure) and, boy, they sure are proud of it. The new album, Watermelon, Chicken & Grits, epitomizes Southern pride in every facet. Songs such as “Country Boyz,” “Po’ Folks” and “Kentucky Mud” paint a lyrical portrait of the trials and tribulations of life in the Deep South.
The highlight tracks of the album, “Awnaw” and “Slums,” are the songs on which the group’s style strays furthest from the shadow of the “ATL” natives and emerges into a bit of the sunlight of unique artistic capability. “Awnaw” is a lively track that showcases the group members’ variety of lyrical styles on top of an up-tempo drumbeat combined with an organ-esque loop. On the other hand, “Slums” showcases emotional rap vocals woven together with a repeated soul-vocal sample and a handclap-laden drumbeat.
While the group may suffer from an overabundance of vocal repetition and some downright weak vocals at times (“roll sumthin’, drink sumthin’, cut sumthin’, what?”), Nappy Roots’ real strength lies in tunes like “Ballin’ On A Budget,” where their formula that combines issues of Southern Black neighborhoods with a good amount of humor provides listeners with a commendable musical equation.
Recently, the group’s love for their home state paid off significantly. The governor of Kentucky officially declared Sept. 16 as “Nappy Roots Day” in Kentucky. And by the time they return home from their concert at USF on Sunday, who knows, maybe they’ll even have their own stamps.
Contact Nick Margiasso at firstname.lastname@example.org