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Tasty Southern-Fried Platter

Nappy Roots - Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz
(Atlantic Records)
3 1/2 Stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: March 11, 2002

Nappy Roots

By Tony Bonyata

Look out all you good ol' bluegrass boys, there's hip-hoppers in them thar hills.
The homegrown Kentuckian group Nappy Roots may actually change the way people view Kentucky music in the future, as they throw in their own meaty, country cuts into the southern hip-hop pot.
As the more singular sounds of gangsta rap ricocheted back and forth from East and West coasts, Atlanta's OutKast added a broad mix of styles to their beats, making hip-hop music interesting again. Nappy Roots builds on OutKast's eclectic southern-fried formula as they stir in a good portion of front-porch funk, spicy southern soul and infectious beats that fall off the bone on their major label debut Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz.
Without the flashy gangsta bling, Nappy's R. Prophet, Big V, Skinny Deville, Scales, B. Stille and Ron Clutch instead dress down their music in t-shirts and denim overalls, adding a more earthy, organic feel to the world of hip-hop. "We just some country boys - country walk, country talk," they sing on "Country Boys" before running through a veritable soul food gourmand's menu of string beans, grits, gravy, greens and pork chops. Forget about the benjamins, Ścause Nappy's all about that plate of five dollar pancakes from the IHOP, and their refreshingly simple way of life is a welcome foil to the drive-by violence that dominates the majority of rap and hip-hop.
While the rhymes and rhythms on numbers such as "Headz Up," "Hustla" and "Ballin' On A Budget" are all models of good hip-hop, it's the soulful funk of "Awnaw," "Slums" and "Po' Folks" that makes this platter so dag-nabbity good tasting.
"Go down to the country, you won't wanna go back," raps Scales, and after one little taste of Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz Nappy Roots just might be right.

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