Nappy Roots Heats Up Fairbanks

By Kaitlin Johnson

Sun Star Contributor

Nappy Roots was “in da building.” Well, sort of.

Last Friday in Beluga Field, the Grammy nominated rap quintet performed to a crowd of over 1,100 people according to Cody Rogers, Assistant Director of Student Activities Assistant Director. The concert simultaneously kicked off the Starvation Gulch weekend and concluded the group’s Pursuit of Nappiness tour.

“I loved the energy,” said rapper Vito. “It meant goals were set and goals were met.”

The outdoor concert was a frigid 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Concert-goers were bundled up in hats, coats and blankets. They downed complimentary hot chocolate and danced to stay warm. But for the Georgia-based Fish Scales, and Kentucky-based Skinny Deville, B. Stille, Ron Clutch and Vito, the atmosphere was hot.

“I was stripping out there,” Vito said.  “The cold don’t bother me when I’m playing for the people.”

Increases of big-names in Alaska are partially due to efforts of people like Josh Silva, aka Alaska Redd. Silva grew up in a rock household but saw rap as his outlet for expression. He tries to promote hip hop and rap in Alaska by attracting recognized performers – like Snoop Dog and Nappy Roots – to the state.

“It’s breaking barriers,” Silva said.  “We’re getting people to accept this kind of music that’s been big in the states but up here we’re just 10 years behind.”

Silva, who opened the concert, said that Nappy Roots was a good group for the college circuit because of their tight lyrics and the hard-knock upbringing that seeps into their music.

The event had a few glitches. Many thrifty students dodged the five-dollar fee by simply standing at the outskirts of the fenced barriers. Some students actually knocked down a barrier while Silva was opening, but security promptly righted it.

After a cable was unplugged, Nappy Roots stopped performing for two minutes and left the stage as support crew figured out how to get power. The group returned to a chant of “Nappy, Nappy.”

“It was like a shower in the summer,” Vito said. “You just come back even hotter and the crowd’s adrenaline’s running.”

The group engaged audience members by inviting some of the women on stage to dance.

“It’s important that the women get their chance to shine,” Vito said. “It’s like a bridge from regular girl to superstar.”

For high school senior, Chonnie Nava, grinding on stage was the highlight of the concert. “It was a big surprise. I finally got to meet my star singer Nappy Roots,” she said.

For Nappy Roots, the concert’s most intimate moment was singing “Small Town.” During the piece they dimmed the lights and tried to really connect with the environment, Vito said. After all, Fairbanks is a small town.

“It’s important to bond with and touch the fans,” he said. “It was the perfect way to end the Pursuit of Nappiness.”

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