Interview - Nappy Nappa
We linked with DC native Nappy Nappa after getting wind of his upcoming project, New Balance. We talked about the secret behind the making of New Balance, how he got signed to Babe City Records, his future as a creative outside of rap, and more.
CSDC: When can we expect your next EP, New Balance?
Nappy Nappa: January I believe. I'm just working some things out right now with Babe City Records. The music is done. We're working on presentation, as far as how people get the music.
CSDC: Cool! Since it's all done, can you tell us about any collaborations you have?
Nappy Nappa: I'm denying some accessibility, even to myself, so I'd rather not. But they're all friends, all DMV artists. A couple of producers from different parts of the world too.
CSDC: What is one secret behind the making of New Balance?
Nappy Nappa: A lot of my homies, even before making music, or in between making music, we were always together. We eat, sleep, shit, together. They're like my brothers. My young homie Spvck La Boost specifically, we spent a lot of time together. We went to the same studios and we ended up getting the same job. He got fired and my ass quit. We were making this this project and at the time I had a girlfriend. So, he's making music that's out of this world to me and I'm writing shit that's out of this world to me and we're pushing ourselves to our limits. I've never experienced anything like it. The fact of me having a girl, I'm not really into relationships. I love people, I love people to death, but being in a committed relationship where labels matter and certain shit matters was new to me. All this shit was new to me while creating that project, they were new balances. Technically, the shoe matters because they represent where I'm from but all of this is to say I'm creating a new balance, even within music. You know how some people say the 90's are the golden age for hip-hop? I would say this is the platinum age of hip-hop.
CSDC: How did you link with Babe City Records? It was interesting that you mentioned earlier you don't listen to rock often but you're the first rap act on their label.
Nappy Nappa: I was never really into rock music, but it was always around me. I just found out Serj Tankian was in a System of a Down. My brother listened to Serj Tankian's music and just the other day my friends showed me a video from System of a Down and I recognized him. Everyone around me kind of does their own thing, so I wasn't unfamiliar. I linked with Babe City through this videographer and photographer named Ryan Florig. He did two videos of mine; one for single I made called "Untitled" with my homie, Redd and one for a song called "DC Daily News." He was also doing album covers for artists over at Babe City, so he basically built that bridge. Morgan (of ACreativeDC) also put in a good word for me. I'm not necessarily a rock head myself, but I love the energy and captivation their music has on the crowd. It's kind of similar to how rap artists are, so the blend is not too far apart. I wanted to bridge that gap amongst the city too, so I'm trying to fuck with them. OG's of mine were already fucking with them too, so it was an easy decision.
CSDC: We've seen you in a lot of lookbooks and portfolios for local brands and photographers, are there any other creative directions that you want to explore?
Nappy Nappa: Oh, fuck yeah. I want to make movie scores. My homie Boost and I always joke about having music played on the runway. We'd be tweeting Victoria's Secret like "let us perform at your fashion show." I want to do stadium performances, perform at the Super Bowl, and make music for commercials. I'm weirded out by writing for other people, but I know that could be an opening for me so I wouldn't knock it.
CSDC: In 2016, we've seen you on bills with Show Me The Body, Jay Idk, Red Line Graffiti, and Lakim of Soulection. What is your favorite show from this year?
Nappa Nappa: That's so hard to say, I feel like the shows just keep getting better and better. Off of how I felt, I would have to say last night at First Church of We Back. It was wonderful. It just felt like a battle royale of different sounds of rap, it was fucking wicked. It all flowed together naturally and it was tight as shit.
CSDC: What is your favorite creative experience where rap took you?
Nappy Nappa: I had dinner with a 12-year-old millionaire artist whose father was a drummer for Michael Jackson. Also, a couple of weeks ago, I had Alfre Woodard cranking to Chief Keef.
CSDC: Tell us about what the local music community is like in the DMV.
Nappy Nappa: I was thinking about that today. My last, maybe six songs, all had features. They were produced by all different kinds of people, all recorded by someone who also records someone else in their homies. Amongst the artists, there is a lot of connection. I feel like everybody has respect for each other and are willing to work with each other. I look at rap more like a sport than an art because the energy is intense. Even on songs, I can feel it, like when people are about to go hard as shit. That's gonna have you feel like you would rather stand next to the person than sit down. But we all got love for each other, I got love for everybody.
CSDC: What do you have in store for next year?
All photos by Christina Nguyen for Capitol Sound DC.