Exclusive: Nitty Scott, MC breaks down her young career including the challenges of being an emcee and a woman, says she wants to help create a new lane for women in Hip Hop.
For Nitty Scott, MC and females alike being taken seriously in Hip-hop as an emcee is an uphill battle. Instead of coming in at their own pace and with their own personality, they often have to enter swinging, swinging to keep those away from placing the inevitable labels upon them.
It was a 2011 BET Awards Cypher that first made those intrigued by Scott go from skeptics into believers. Those wanting to characterize her as something preconceived had to step back and sit down after watching an emcee that was hard-body and lyrically strong. But that tough girl attitude in a cute girl figure was not who Nitty Scott wanted to be but rather what she says she needed to be.
“I felt like I had to put my fists in the air and continually compete and let people know that no I am a Hip Hop emcee for the people, respect to the golden era,” she says. “All those things are very genuine but it’s something that I felt I had to do before anybody would entertain anything that I had to say and I had to differentiate myself from other females and other lifestyles and other approaches and brand that extensively to almost create the opportunity to carve my own lane and that’s exactly what I’ve done.”
In an interview with HipHopDX, Nitty Scott, MC says that she’s finally settling into being herself. With no respect lost to those who’ve paved the way for her, Nitty herself says that she hopes that she herself can pave the way for other females during a new time and in a different culture.
HipHopDX: I always see you tweeting and hearing about you moving around from place to place so first I just want to ask what’s been up with Nitty recently?
Nitty Scott, MC: It is just EP-mania over here and we’ve been really preoccupied just promoting this [Boombox Diaries Vol. 1] EP. I just recently got back from Switzerland about two days ago [from] performing at the Royal Arena Festival so we’re traveling a lot and trying to get back into the groove of things and filming lots of visuals and music videos and what not to follow up for the EP. We’re also then working with Wyclef [Jean] in the studio on some new exclusive juice [laughing] and we’ve just been building with him. Just very busy, very busy to be honest right now and I’m loving it. [Laughs]
DX: I remember talking to you a while ago in a previous interview and back then you were kind of introducing this The Boombox Diaries, Vol. 1, now we’re here. What were your goals and expectations for this really “get to know” Nitty Scott project?
Nitty Scott, MC: Yeah I mean The Boombox Diaries... it was a process that really took a while to bring to fruition but it had a lot to do with the business end of things, wanting to present it in a way that was bigger and better than all the other projects that we’ve released and also just a matter of quality and making sure that the project itself was on point. This project was to show growth and progression in every way. First, the method of how we’re getting it out to people. It’s the first commercially released body of work that I’m actually going to be selling on iTunes and available physically and that’s something that’s a new big step for me. Then the music itself is an expansion of my sound, of my artistry. The records themselves are, they’re solid. They play with different kinds of song structure and concept and things that people haven’t really seen me explore before. It has one cohesive sound, which I call “street soul” and it’s just kind of what I get from it. It is one fluid experience I would say. It’s not just a compilation of tracks just kind of thrown together but rather something that’s meant to be listened to from beginning to end and it’s just very fluid in that way so I think people are definitely going to get a taste of the musical direction that I’m going in and it’s a lot more personal and intimate as far as the subject matter goes. There’s just been a lot of displaying skill and a lot of beast mode and hopping on other people’s freestyles and just kind of showing people, “Yo, I can spit.” But I got a lot more personal on this record as well. I told stories, I revealed things about myself and just really dug deeper and dug beyond the surface of this Hip Hop chick. [Laughs]
DX: You dropped that “Flower Child” joint with Kendrick Lamar before the album came out and it was totally different from what I was expecting. I was expecting that classic Nitty, cypher chick feel coming from you on it and it was quite the contrary. You had Kendrick on the hook and you were a lot more personal. How did that all come together and did you feel any pressure as a newer artist with someone as big as Kendrick sharing this with you?
Nitty Scott, MC: The whole process of “Flower Child,” when I wrote it, I didn’t write it with Kendrick [Lamar] in mind or any particular feature or anything like that, “Flower Child” was just an outpour of emotion that I had towards my growing audience and the whole process of growth in the public eye and it was just something that was weighing heavily on my heart and I wrote it almost like a letter I feel to my supporters and to the people who are watching me and it’s sort of a message to them to let me experience my natural progression. So I had written the record and I wasn’t completely finished with it yet, I was still building on it, the parts that Kendrick actually ended up performing were missing and I knew that. I was like, “I need this record to be driven by a really dope hook.” I need a crazy breakdown, a crazy bridge for it. It was kind of just in limbo and I knew that the record was going to be part of the EP but it was still being built on. Then Kendrick had his first headlining performance in Brooklyn and I opened up for him and that was the day that we actually met and we were just kind of building backstage and talking about music and our music and ideals and things like that. I had been a fan before a lot of the looks that he’s been getting lately and I had always saw him as an artist that is very like-minded in just his philosophy and how he wants to contribute to the culture, I always felt that we were on the same page as far as that went. So I remember asking him that night like, “Yo would you want to participate or be down with the Boombox Diaries EP?” and he was like, “Definitely.” So we left it at that and it was like months later and it just kind of dawned upon me that I wanted to call the record “Flower Child” and there was just something about the beat and how mellow it was and it was just kind of hippyed out kind of approach to it. So I said, “Okay, cool, I’m gonna call this ‘Flower Child.’” Then the actual title led me to think of Kendrick and who better to put on the track…
DX: Than Black Hippy?
Nitty Scott, MC: Exactly, so I called him up and he said he was with it and the next time he was in New York we linked up, went to the studio and it was very interesting because he heard the record. I explained to him my vision and what I meant by the record but I really didn’t instruct him at all and I didn’t say, “This is what I want you to write, this is what I want you to say.” I just kind of explained to him where I was coming from and I knew that he could relate and then said to give me something along those lines. So it was really dope because he just sat there and came up with everything on his own. He kind of separated for a while and kind of went in the corner and did his thing and when he came back and read it out loud to me, I was just like, it’s perfect. It’s crazy when you can’t describe what you want word for word but then someone still gives you what you want word for word, which was crazy because just saying, “Greatness gets better with time” and “Sit inside my room, let these thoughts bloom.” He just went right along with the concept of growth and the actual flowers and vegetation and that whole thing so I was just blown away when he gave me something that was right down the lane of what I needed and I thought it was really dope too because being melodic and actually saying on the record, I thought would just be a real curveball for everybody because they wouldn’t expect us to hop on a track and just be lyrical and I’m going to outspit you kind of thing and our collaboration was nothing like that. It was just touching a very personal subject. I am glad that I was able to shine and stand on my own two on a record with him because it was something that I was concerned about and there are some people that have entertained it because of him. I’ve seen little blog posts here and there like, “New guest verse from Kendrick, let’s check it out,” well damn, it’s my joint. [Laughs] But I do feel for the most part I held it down, it’s a collaboration in every way. It’s very easy to be upstaged by Kendrick Lamar but I don’t feel that that happened on the record. I feel that if anything he complimented me very nicely and I was glad that I was able to accomplish that.
DX: Right, and you kind of alluded to having more in depth records. It’s still early in the game but do you feel that you’re starting to find your sound at this point?
Nitty Scott, MC: Most definitely. The sound is developing, the subject matter is developing even more. I’m just really growing in front of people’s eyes and I just wanted to reveal to them the many things I am capable of beyond, “Yo, yo check me out, I’m a hard rapper.” I just think it’s a lot more revealing and then the record itself, I feel like it’s a roller coaster of emotion by adding Kendrick to it because he’s like my alter ego kind of in the joint where I’m kind off a little more soft spoken and smooth like more than people are accustomed to hearing me and then Kendrick is a little more edgy but it’s a reflection of the emotion that we both have, which is like I can ask you to let me grow lightly or you can be Kendrick about it and be, “Gun cock! Gun shot!” [Laughs] He brought a different intensity to the record, which made it more of an experience.
DX: I kind of feel like you’re getting more comfortable with things. Coming on the scene you came off as that New York, hard-body, really lyrical emcee. With women, it seems that you almost have to overdue something like that just so you can show that you are about the rhymes and the culture rather than the glitz and the glamour.
Nitty Scott, MC: Exactly.
DX: I feel that’s a major problem that women have to face and men don’t. Did you ever feel that pressure coming into the game as someone who has to overdue things just so you can be seen as not a Nicki Minaj but rather as an emcee that’s about the music?
Nitty Scott, MC: Yeah, for me it’s all about strategy I guess where it’s like I’ve always been the flower child, I’ve always been everything that I’m about to reveal to people, however I understand this game and I understand that it’s all about perception and I had to make sure that the perception of me was correct I guess and what was in my best interest when I first emerged. So when I first came out, you’re absolutely right, I felt like I had to put my fists in the air and continually compete and let people know that no I am a Hip Hop emcee for the people, respect to the golden era. And all those things are very genuine but it’s something that I felt I had to do before anybody would entertain anything that I had to say and I had to differentiate myself from other females and other lifestyles and other approaches and brand that extensively to almost create the opportunity to carve my own lane and that’s exactly what I’ve done and what I’m gonna do with this EP. Essentially I shouted Hip Hop to the top of my lungs because I know people are thirsty for that and I know that people are checking for the Hip-hop chicks because of the lack of representation when it comes to women so I knew that that would definitely get your attention like, “Oh wait, lyrical female representing the culture, hold on, I’ll at least check it out.” I had to give them that and once I felt understood like, “Okay, so you’re going to be the around the way homegirl that can hold it down in a cypher.” Once I prove that I can eat you up, I’ve got bars, whatever the case may be, now let me reveal myself, now let me explore topics and things that I may not have entertained before. And that’s exactly what I’m doing on the EP but for the most part, like I said there is some strategy to the way that I market myself but at the same time it’s all very authentic and I think that people can see that, I think that they can hear that, they can hear conviction in my voice where it’s not contrived, it’s not fabricated to appeal to you but I do think I have to go the extra mile for people to not just miss me as just another pretty face, just another chick who’s going to get on this record and talk about shopping and handbags and lip gloss. I had to make that point before they would listen to me so it is what it is. [Laughs]
DX: Do you ever feel responsible for recreating that lane for females in Hip Hop? And I say recreating because that lane was there with Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, MC Lyte and even Lil' Kim, she had sex appeal but she could spit too.
Nitty Scott, MC: Yeah, definitely for women, most definitely. I think it’s already started to happen with males, if you want to call it that where it’s like this middle ground of artists that can stay true to their core audience and make the kind of music that they want to make and represent the culture and be a voice for the culture, fill a void but they’re also entertained by this mainstream audience. They can go on tour with Drake and have the top, number one album in the country and it’s just like the times are changing and that line between, if you’re mainstream, you’re on and you’re cool, if you’re underground, you’re wack and you’re not. It’s really not that black and white anymore. The lines are becoming blurred and it’s getting to a point where you can still make a living, you can still create what you want to create, you can tour the world, you can have a solid fanbase and have a very fulfilling career without going for the gusto per se. So that’s kind of where I’m at with it. I just want to be the female face of that. You have Mac Miller, you have Kendrick Lamar, Curren$y, Tech N9ne, all these dudes who are eating essentially eating their cake and having it too and I want to be that middle ground for women in Hip Hop in every way, the message itself as an indie venture and I just think it’s a barrier-breaker and I think it’s going to help to carve that lane for any woman to occupy now and later so I definitely think that I’m a part of that.
DX: Do you ever feel frustrated that you have to work harder just to be able to be respected as a young woman and as a young artist?
Nitty Scott, MC: Yeah, I mean I think a lot of artists that are on my level and trying to do the same thing as me can all relate to that feeling of just being frustrated and just seeing these obvious, obvious, obvious publicity cop outs essentially. I see it happen all the time whether it be a cosign, whether it be some controversial statement or some “fly” video, whatever the case may be, you see artists getting put on for the most ridiculous reasons nowadays. But you can’t dwell on what you don’t like, you can’t dwell on what’s okay cause it’s essentially a waste of time and energy so I just focus on my movement, I focus on my culture and what I’m bringing to the situation and I’ve kind of just flipped the mentality to instead of “why me? Why do I have to carry this whole thing on my back and really take the long way up?” I’ve completely reversed that thought process to say, “Why not me?” So why not be the one to really, really change the scope of things or being a part of changing the scope of things by being willing to stay true to myself, to not bend for anybody and check or whatever the case may be and take the time to build and develop this organic buzz that I have. It’s all these things I feel are going to speak for me and just speak for themselves when I get to a certain level. And I was having this conversation with my manager the other day where as it’s happening, I feel that people don’t respect it as much as you’re grinding and as you’re building to break this barrier. You definitely have fans that are cheering you along the way but for the most part you don’t get that validation or that gratification until it actually happens. So until I make some kind of statement via numbers or maybe just having a longevity that some of the other emerging female artists won’t be able to have that’s when I expect people to acknowledge the hard work that I really put into this because there are so many things that we could do right now to up the popularity, to speed up the process but it’s like once you get to that point it’s all about maintaining that and I’m not here to have your average four to five year rap career and just kind of be ran into the ground until nobody wants to see my face anymore. That’s not really what we’re trying to accomplish. I want to have longevity, I want be one of these artists that can evolve literally through their art over years, over a very long amount of time and still be able to make timeless, impactful music that will affect people beyond this week’s Billboard charts and that’s what we’re all about.
DX: I heard you don’t do diss records. Come on, really? [Laughs] A hard body New York emcee with no beef? What’s the deal with that?
Nitty Scott, MC: [Laughs] you know it’s just about energy. I’m a very energy and vibe kind of person and we just don’t want any of that attached to us. I think it is very Hip Hop in the spirit of competition to drop beef records and diss records and I’m not even trying to say that people haven’t taken shots at me or people haven’t given me a reason to say certain things here and there but once again, I don’t want to create headlines because of the Twitter argument I got into. It’s just not my style and I’d rather you talk about what I’m contributing to this whole situation or talking about how dope that verse was. I’m not aiming for your pocket, I’m not aiming for you to shake your ass in a sense, I’m aiming for your heart. I just want to connect with people. My intentions are very pure and that’s why I really do steer away from the beef records and diss records and it’s really not about that. And everything is so subjective as well. I just feel ahead of the game in that way. It’s just so subjective like who’s the best emcee, who’s got the best bars, who’s doing it, who’s getting money and it’s all so subjective. My fans will think it’s me and your fans will think it’s you so I don’t really see any point in duking it out when at the end of the day I just want to create music and make a living off of it.
DX: Fair enough. I want to know though, when you began this Hip Hop journey, moving from Florida at a young age to the promise land of New York City, it’s still early but did you ever envision that this is how things were going to start to come to fruition?
Nitty Scott, MC: Um, yes and no. I would say that you have your own little fantasies of how everything will come together and how you’d like it to be and being a part of the industry and kind of working my way up for the past two years now, there’s been a lot of things that I completely expected and a lot of things that I completely not expected happening. So I think it’s a little bit of both, definitely a learning experience involved and sometimes you’re just like completely thrown off and sometimes you’re like, “Okay this is the part where this happens.” So I think it’s a little bit of both.
DX: Once you get this project out there what’s next for you?
Nitty Scott, MC: Well we’re going to definitely hit the road. I definitely want to tour and bring the Boombox Diaries to as many places as I possibly can so we’re all about that tour money, we’re all about seeing the world and portraying the message that way, more music, more follow up projects and what not, visuals to go along with the Boombox Diaries and a lot of ventures on the Boombox Family Entertainment end of things that I can’t get too into right now but as an actual entertainment company, there’s also Nitty the entrepreneur [laughing] that I don’t talk about as much but I’m basically in the position now where I can sign an artist if I wanted to and that’s via Boombox Family Entertainment, which is a label now so we’re definitely exploring some things on that end. The Boombox Family Entertainment side of things is about doing this but also gathering what’s needed whether that be producers, engineers, actual recording artists, graphic designers. People that are like-minded in progressing urban culture, we want to give you a home via the Boombox Family so that’s everything from film distribution to book distribution to music distribution and that’s what we’re exploring on the business end of things. So I’m just going to continue to work hard, continue to build that brand and keep my fans happy.
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