On Tuesday, Nappy Roots spent the first part of their day performing free of charge for sixth- and eighth-grade assemblies at Middle School 52 in the Bronx. Later that night, it was all about the Benjamins as they opened for Sugar Ray at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Although the six-man collective is on the rise via its single “Awnaw” and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Mark McGrath, its members still don’t feel like stars. Their next single, “Po’ Folks,” finds them ballin’ on a budget.
“Its real, it’s the bare necessities,” Skinny DeVille said of the song. “It’s real simple. There’s not that much that went into it, but a lot went into it. You can listen to the song and pretty much understand what it’s saying.
“It’s pretty much taking a slice of humble pie,” he continued. “Appreciating life for what it’s worth, appreciating the basics of life and not really the material things. ‘Po’ Folks’ is a tribute to the common folk.”
“It’s not just strictly on your economic [status] or how much money you have,” added R. Prophet, “it’s a state of mind. It’s not so bad being poor when you’ve got your family and God in your life and you have different values that, when it comes down to it, matter. A lot of other things really don’t matter when God is knocking at your door. That’s basically keeping it Nappy.”
The group shot the video last Friday and Saturday in Taylorsville, Kentucky, with directors Darren Grant and Rich Newey. Loosely based on the movie “Stand By Me,” the clip, among other things, finds the motley crew on a journey where they walk over bridges and through the woods while performing their verses.
“It’s gonna be cost-efficient,” Prophet said a couple of weeks before the video went into production. “Being that [the song is] named ‘Po’ Folks,’ don’t expect $2 million spent on it, ’cause we don’t got it.
” ‘Po’ Folks’ is gonna be groundbreaking for the industry,” he continued. “It’s really kind of a backlash, the opposite of what’s going on. 2002 is awakening the world to Nappy.”
Even if the entire globe doesn’t get familiar with Nappy this year (see “Nappy Roots Aim To Nourish Kentucky-Style With Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz”), some more students will – the group starts a tour of colleges in April.