By Gina Vaile/Assistant news editor
People said it couldn’t be done … a rap group from Kentucky? “Aww naw.” Filling Alumni Coliseum? “Hell naw.” But Tuesday night proved that both could be done … “ya’ll went up and done it.”
Nappy Roots, a rap group developed at Western Kentucky University and signed to Atlantic Records in 1998, has become a household name thanks to hits like “Aww Naw,” and the recent “Po’ Folks” which has gained the No. 3 spot on MTV’s “Total Request Live.”
Thousands of tickets were sold, making it one of the highest attended concerts at Eastern. Students waited in the rain for at least an hour before the concert began.
Neil Thompson, 19, a sophomore from Louisville, said he camped out in front of Powell before the tickets went on sale and waited in line nearly an hour and a half to get his seat.
“This general seating section … you know, I had to get a good seat,” he said from his spot in the first row.
Nappy Roots’ Ron Clutch, another Louisville native, said being in the middle of the country was good for the group, in the sense that “we get a taste of everything.”
“We were all influenced by different people,” Crutch said. “We got good music in church. And we each got brothers and sisters, we come from strong families with mom and dad or just a mom. They brought us up right.”
The six rappers include Stille, Clutch, Skinny DeVille, R. Prophet, Scales and Big V, who each bring a “balance to Nappy Roots,” according to Clutch.
On the stage were the six rappers and two bales of hay. According to Brandee Petrey, director of special programs, the hay was requested along with 200 chicken wings (mild and hot), fried chicken, fried fish and shrimp, potato salad and lots of water.
The Kentucky boys were glad to be back in the home state, but Stille said the thing that has been most rewarding for him in all his successes was talking to at-risk kids in the Cincinnati area.
“You know, kids respect firemen and policemen and they look up to them, but when we got on that stage, six rappers from Kentucky, it was amazing, all the eyes were on us,” Stille said. “I don’t look at it as fame but I look at it as being very blessed.”
As for fame, Sept. 16 was proclaimed Nappy Roots Day by Gov. Paul Patton, who made each member a Kentucky Colonel.
According to Clutch, Nappy stands for “keeping it real” and respect.
“Hopefully that day will be recognized world-wide one day,” Clutch said, “But every day is Nappy day, you should be Nappy every day!”