Nitty Scott: Rapper, modernizer, atypical 21-year-old

Nitty Scott MC is a 21-year-old hip hop musician who has attracted attention from the music industry for her skillfully orchestrated and lyrical raps. Born in Michigan but raised in Orlando, Fla., she began creating hip hop music when she was 14 years old. In 2010, Scott garnered praise for an online video featuring her free-styling Kanye West’s “Monster.” She gave her breakout performance a year later, at the BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher. Known for boom bap, a style of hip hop characterized by a hard bass drum and snapping snare, the rapper helped found an independent music movement called “The Boombox Family.” The grassroots group creates organic and lyrical hip hop that conveys a social message. Last year, the rapper that some in the media now call a “femcee” also released a mixtape entitled “The Cassette Chronicles,” a record meant to serve as a prelude for the upcoming “Boombox Diaries Vol. 1” EP slated for release this summer. As she continues working, Scott continues to win acclaim, recently being named one of GlobalGrind’s “Favorite Up-And-Coming Female Rappers”. She will be performing at Fence Club on High Street Friday night. WEEKEND spoke with Scott about her inspirations, being both a “homebody” and a rapper, and the future of hip hop.

Q. How would you sum up your style of music?

A. I make message-driven, organic, boom bap, hip-hop, human soundtrack music.

Q. When did you get started in rap and why were you inspired to do it?

A. My interest in hip-hop and rap stems from being outspoken — I always have something to say. It began as something that was therapeutic, but then I realized that I can make a real impact with my art. It was after that that I became more focused, and I wanted to use art to change the community around me. Around the time that I was 17 years old, I started getting into music for reasons that were bigger than myself.

Q. Considering your concern for the community around you, what central themes or social issues do you discuss most often in your music?

A. Definitely women and the problems that we, as women, universally have to deal with. I also talk about families and home life. Personally, I’ve also dealt with my fair share of homelessness, asthma and anxiety. My music is all about things that I’ve had intimate experiences with — the things that I feel like I can shed a light on and give a voice to.

Q. How has your music evolved from when you first started out in the industry?

A. Well, I’m currently wrapping up the “Boombox Diaries, Volume 1” EP, which is a piece of work that shows a lot of growth for me as an artist. The subject matter is definitely more intimate — I’m getting more personal with my fans. I’m trying to show people the girl behind the bars. Now it’s not about external success and bravado, but rather just speaking to my audience. I’m also trying to get out of this ’90s boom bap phase. In the beginning it was about paying homage to a golden era, but now I am trying to show people that I can progress hip-hop culture without diminishing what was done in the past.

Q. Can you describe the process you go through while writing your rap songs?

A. Recently, I’ve learned to create under all sorts of circumstances. This is a new thing for me, though, because it used to always be very personal. I used to always be in an isolated setting with just me and my laptop. That’s still the best thing for me, but because of the demands of the career, I’ve had to adapt to writing in different spaces — in the car, on the plane, over the phone. It’s nice to not have a fixed process and to know that I can create whenever I need to. When it comes to the business aspect of music, it’s important for artists to be able to produce something when they are called upon to do so.

Q. What contemporary hip-hop artists inspire you, and in what direction do you see hip-hop going in the coming years?

A. I really like people like Action Bronson, Homeboy Sandman and Big K.R.I.T. They are a part of the slew of modern artists that is trying to move hip-hop forward into a new stage. We are currently in a transitional period; we’re growing up more than anything else. A lot of boundaries are being pushed in the way that people buy and sell music, and that affects hip-hop. I am very excited to be a part of this new wave, this new generation of thinkers and creators.

Q. What do you think of people who question the legitimacy of hip-hop and rap in general? Is this skeptical attitude less prevalent today?

A. That attitude is definitely still present in certain places. I remember having a conversation with my manager just the other day about how I sometimes feel reduced when I am not regarded as an artist or as an emcee, because, to some people, hip-hop isn’t a real art form. We’ve been stuck in a certain mentality, in a certain sound, in a certain trend for a long time. A lot of hip-hop is celebratory — this attitude is from a time when the concept of being able to pay your bills and feed your family using your art was fairly new. And while I do think that it is important to celebrate struggling people who have made it, we need to move out of this “bling, bling look at me” era. In the past, rap has always been presented to the public as something that is one-sided and political and money-driven. It is slowly growing now to be respected as street poetry and as a voice for disenfranchised youth.

Q. You’re only 21 years old, yet you’re already working as a professional musician. What is this kind of life like?

A. I don’t have much downtime. I’m a homebody as it is, so when I do have spare time I just roll up on my couch and watch television. There are few times when I’m not going to a meeting or recording or doing a photo shoot or on the road doing a show, so it’s not the most stable of schedules. On the other way, it’s also awesome in that way, because I never know what’s going to happen next month. I don’t think I have a typical 21-year-old life. I am thinking of this as a chance for me to work hard and put in my time so that I can play harder later.`

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