Nappy Roots - The Pursuit To Nappyness

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4.20

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Over blasting horns, the rappers - all of whom are from Kentucky or Georgia, though they met at Western Kentucky University - take turns boasting about fame, masculinity, cars, and the like.

The five constituents of the Nappy Roots have never stopped repping where they come from. It’s right there in the name. "[It] signifies our unwillingness to conform with fads,” group member Skinny Deville once told an interviewer. “Once the fads die out, you always come back to the roots." And those roots? They stress comfort, security, and country: back roads living, dirt road driving, sweet potato pie eating, bourbon drinking … You get the picture.


So, one listen to “Do It Big,” the second track on the Nappy Roots’ fourth official release, The Pursuit of Nappyness, and it’d be understandable to question the group’s new direction. Over blasting horns, the rappers – all of whom are from Kentucky or Georgia, though they met at Western Kentucky University – take turns boasting about fame, masculinity, cars, and the like. This wouldn’t be the first time a regional act attempted to extend its reach to the masses, and it wouldn’t the first time a regional act compromised its material to do so.

Fortunately, beyond track two, that’s not much of a problem here. This album, the guys’ fourth (and second since abandoning Atlantic Records, where they sold over 1.5 million records), relies on the same routine these country boys have used for years; the production is generally packed with dusty acoustic guitars and warm piano loops, and while the emcees aren’t the wordplay experts some of their peers and inspirations may be, they write simple yet effective imagery of the parties, people, and places generally encountered in only the most rural of settings.

The Nappy Roots still like to have fun, but now they’re doing what comes natural, whether it be making girls both laugh and think on “Fish Bowl,” or loading up the truck with a tank full of gas, coolers of beer and paper-bagged bottles of bourbon on “Infield.” And, like “Good Day” on 2008's The Humdinger, the inspiring, keep-pushing-forward anthems are still abound; on the feel-good “Be Alright,” B. Still raps “I used to think I was cursed like The Shining / A lot of folks is worse off than I am,” while “Ride” is an exceptional and laid back ode to the highway and whatever future a journey on it may bring.

There are a few missteps, such as the cringe-worthy, electro-inspired party jam “Right Place, Right Time,”  but for the most part, Pursuit succeeds right where it’s supposed to. The album’s best moments come when Skinny, B. Stille, Ron Clutch, Big V and Fish Scales turn their backs on everything outside of their roots and focus on what they know best: the countryside and the rustic small towns that made the former college buddies who they are. The subject matter may seem slightly redundant, but these themes never get old. “Back Home” pays respect to the dependability of their hometowns, “The People” declares family and friends more important than riches, and ending the album with a thank you to the fans – “All For You” – sums up the humility the guys have maintained over the years.

With gold and platinum albums in the group's rear-view, the Nappy Roots prove that they need no major label system to make the same quality music they always have. The group's production risks of Pursuit make challenge its comfort zone, while the lyrics remain where they've always been. After a decade, one thing’s for sure: None of the accolades have had much of an effect on the group’s output. Because you can take the boys out of the country, but… well, you know.

51 Comments

  • Crumpin in KY

    Great album all around. I agree a couple of tracks aren't hitting on the top of the charts level, but check out songs like Ride, Back Home, Winner Take All and Know Bout Me. You'll quickly see the Nappy Boys are quite capable of crafting catchy hooks with great melodies all backed by great beats, guitar licks and genuine swagger. Check out Scales break down on Back Home when the bridge kicks in and tell me the shit ain't dope.

  • Tdotfromdabronx

    I actually like this album its pretty damn good I have to admit I slept on this one for real for real...

  • THE REAL#1STAN

    fuck these hillbillies

  • mannyman55

    There first album is dope with the Aww Naw them country boyz on the rise , this cd isnt all that good . there a couple cool songs

  • T-Bo

    nappy knows how to make good music. and theyve never gotten the respect that they deserve. stop listenin to drakes garbage and start listen to some real musicians!!! nappys the truth!!!

  • senseinewton

    solid, nice beats, nice lyrics. a real tight summertime feel good album

  • iBar

    Come to my page to find out who Eminem is talking about on his new Recovery album. Listen to "!" and find out now!! www.myspace.com/ibaronline

  • RIPGANGSTARR

    for the guy that said he hasnt heard anybody else from kentucky check ou cunninglynguists they r dope

    • TJG

      Beat me to the punch, I almost lost it when he said they are the only ones repping Kentucky, i've loved cunn. since southerunderground, my personal top 10 albums ever.

  • hiphopizstilldead

    classic album

  • Fiddy

    yes dope shit, love it..

  • buckeyewu

    I think DX is on point with the rating. I'd give this one a 3.5 too. Actually, I'm surprised I like it. I always thought Nappy Roots were overrated back in the day. They will never be on that Dungeon Family level. Those are some real legends from the South.

    • estothepn

      comparing DF to Nappy Roots is like comparing apples and oranges. Dungeon family is a completely different story. their records are both true southern hip hop and booth groups are truly legendary but the differences are huge in terms of their sound and what not. Plus, nappy is the first to do it from kentucky. i aint heard of no other shit in kentucky.

  • Its Um

    well after their forgetful second album I stop buying them, I barely remember any of the tracks that's on there. It'll be a while before I buy them again.

  • Assassin221

    I never heard these dudes before but after reading this review I may have to check them out.

  • chronick

    recovery + pursuit of nappyness = the last 2 albums ill need all year...nappy is truly legendary..ever since there 1st cd country fried cess they have been putting out dope albums & mixtapes..saw them for their album release..the coolest most humble dudes in the game..peace, love & nappyness

  • BigBabyJesus36

    Cd is dope shit.

  • CJ from SA

    this is a dope chill album. maybe not a classic but about 4 Xs is right.

  • 305ilovemia

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  • moor_tribe

    this is that shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

  • Billy Biggs

    I bought Drake's disappointing album and B.o.B's latest and in my personal opinion its no coincidence that "The Pursuit of Nappyness" by far is way better on many different levels. Nappy has been consistent regardless of who is dominating the main stream hip hop blah, blah, blah... They left Atlantic and chose to go independent and are still doing better than a lot of the major label albums that are coming out. They may not be as famous because of their independence but they are definitely just as respected. Im glad they're still together doing it for the fans of good music. Great job Nappy!!!!

  • Twinblades

    I'll give it a four to offset the faggits how give it less than three:)

  • 305ilovemia

    Raw and Uncut Reply I Love M I A Music and Ent Presents $WonDough$ http://www.youtube.com/user/305ilovemia No Image No Gimmicks Just Banging Ass Music

  • 305ilovemia

    I Love M I A Music and Ent Presents $WonDough$ http://www.youtube.com/user/305ilovemia No Image No Gimmicks Just Banging Ass Music Raw and Uncut Reply

  • ChuppsD

    Good chillin album.

  • Matt513

    Amazing album. Makes Adventures of Bobby Ray a coaster.

  • MikeytMAYNE

    Makes me feel like im back home in Tennessee again. Definately good to hear the voice of the south again! I love the new album! My fav track is prolly Come Back Home. That song just makes me feel right at home. Feel good music the whole way through.

  • Ali_

    DOPEEEEE.... ALOT of people sleeping....

  • BigJiggaShadyTip

    Damn what happened to these niggas? Last thing I remember from them was "Watermelon, chicken & grits" which was a great album by the way. I've always wondered this though: Does anybody else think the dude 'Skinny Deville' from Nappy Roots sounds like Andre 3000? I mean he's obviously not as lyrical as 3 stacks but for some reason he just reminds me of him. Am I alone here or does someone feel me on this?

    • wussupworld

      Just his voice...but dude Nappy's got Wooden Leather and The Humdinger check those out! Where you been?

  • EastSideLos

    supertight. gotta b one of the top 10 albums of the year. one to add to the collection.

  • fodadough

    do it big is a dope joint. they cant talk about their success ever? these dudes supposed to act poor all the time. cmon son

  • jonesin

    yo this thing BUMPS. classic album for real. aside from fish bowl and right place at teh right time, all of the tracks are the shit for real

  • jonesin

    yo this thing BUMPS. classic album for real. aside from fish bowl and right place at teh right time, all of the tracks are the shit for real

  • WHATUPWHATSHAAPNIN

    with the exception of a few tracks...this is nothin but classic material

  • mhunke

    3 1/2 stars? Get the fuck outta here. That shit deserves 4, maybe even 4 1/2. Real recognize real.

  • Aubrey Graham

    "Nigga i'm not Drake/ but the My Cock Aches" WOW

  • 305ilovemia

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  • REV Mike D

    Keepin it Nappy!!! More quality sounds from a Quality group!!! Keep it up....There will always be haters...They're just ignorant! Keep it real and keep makin the Nappy fans Proud!!!

  • trly yrz

    I don't think it's best work. I think it's as-good as first two, minus the amazing "Aw Naw" hit shit. Humdinger is still the Nappy's best album.

  • Insomniac

    i love this album! the intro track was my favorite track on this album by far, that beat's ridiculous!

  • ghostchild30

    classic feel good music. I love every album from them but this is album is by far their best work. I love it. keep doing yall thang.