nittyscott

A Woman's Worth: Nitty Scott MC On The Beauty Of Struggle

Rapper Nitty Scott MC shares her story for Vixen's 'A Woman Worth' series in celebration of Women's History Month.

Nitty Scott MC laughs in the face of adversity. Better yet, the flower child's determination mirrors the tenacity of a rose blooming in the concrete.

“Sometimes those darker moments of life are the most inspiring,” the 24-year-old lyricist tells Vixen. Yet, these days, the rapper finds peace of mind by standing in her truth and sharing her journey through progressive rhymes and stories of love, abuse, self-discovery, and women empowerment, that reach the souls of listeners.

With bars galore (you'll definitely find them on her 2014 'tape The Art of Chill), the Brooklyn MC has turned both her passion and talent into more than just a hobby as she confidently juggles the underground rap scene in the palm of her manicured hands.

Here, Nitty opens up about the beauty of her struggle, her balancing act as a female in rap, and why her vulnerability will impact generations to come.

Origin of the Nitty Scott movement:
My story really starts online. I put out my freestyle to Kanye West’s “Monster” and it went viral. It was picked up by a lot of blogs and popular online platforms. The birth of my movement started there ­­– built off of the word of mouth, a very organic and grassroots movement.

On pursuing music:
It started with a passion for words moreso than just creating music, but I’ve always been a music lover. I was attending school as a Creative Arts major and studied different forms and mechanism of writing. My strong point was poetry, spoken word, short stories and things of that nature that were very message-driven. One day, as opposed to simply having music be the background of the pieces, I was performing. I selected beats first and then wrote according to the rhythm of the song. It was totally thrilling and so DIY-like. When people began to gravitate towards it, it really sparked a passion in me for creating music as I was able to combine music and my skills as a great, formally trained writer, and marry the two together as an artist. People responded to the raw talent that was there and I never looked back.

My purpose as an artist:
I want to bring balance. I’d like to think that I’m a part of a balancing act in music where mainstream and underground coexist. I’m here to help bring things full circle as a voice for women, minorities, hip hop artists, and young people alike. While there is a mainstream representation of those things, I think my message is a contrast from what’s popular. Essentially, I want to have an impact on my generation and help people figure out themselves by sharing my story and journey. If you haven’t noticed, I’m really heavy on introspective and existential things because that’s where I feel like the root of our problems come from. As an artist, I want to challenge people to really take a deep look at themselves, and have an impact on my generation that promotes spirituality and humanity.

Advice I take to heart:
My parents always instilled in me the idea that I could do whatever I wanted, as far as what my passions were. That has stayed with me until this day. In the past I would question whether I could actually be successful in music, but I’ve grown out of that way of thinking. Now, I truly have this confidence that I can do whatever I put my mind to. As cliché as it might sound, it’s actually a very profound thing to fully grasp and understand. Knowing that you’re going to excel at whatever you decide to do and truly believing it is so powerful.

On being a female in the rap game:
As a young woman in the rap industry, I feel totally empowered and liberated. I’m in a great place now where I am able to fully recognize my power as a woman. That wasn’t always the case though. I used to walk around with a rain cloud over my head, wondering how to maneuver in this industry. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin and it was a horrible feeling. In a male-dominated industry, you find yourself in a lot of those situations where you’re worried about how you’re being perceived, but I have learned to be comfortable within myself to the point that I’m no longer influenced by what people think. I really do feel like it’s all about how you carry yourself though. Energy is always felt and reciprocated, so if you walk around with a certain aura that reads you’re here to be respected, then it’s understood and it’s reciprocated. I am no longer afraid of the way a woman with sexual prowess, like myself, might make a man feel. I am a woman. I am here. Hear me roar (Laughs).

I credit my growth to:
Misery. I had allowed a manufactured mentality that wasn’t fit for my multidimensional being to dictate a lot of things for me early on in my career. Personally, I think the transparency of my vulnerability as an artist is beautiful and very relatable for young women out there, even though I’ve gotten some backlash, some side eyes, and misogynistic comments. People attach me becoming more in touch with my feminine side to selling sex because it’s so easy and has been proven time and time again that it works. I welcome all of that to demonstrate how people react when a woman decides to be their complete and true self. I want to lead the way and be brave and show people, yes, I was actually afraid to be myself but I did it and so can you.

I am inspired by:
The whole hip-hop era of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Slum Village – that is totally where my roots are. But my family gives me the most inspiration. We’re pretty dysfunctional, like most families, but I think coming from that chaos and tragedy makes me a better artist. It’s made me a person that is constantly seeking, growing and learning, and it also made me creative because I had to make sense of a lot of the things I saw growing up. So, in a sense, I needed that craziness because it turned me into this sensitive, emotional, and thoughtful person that I am. Sometimes those darker moments of life are the most inspiring.

If I wasn’t rapping:
I would probably be doing something in broadcast journalism and the communication field, which was my original passion before I fell into music. I even interned at the New York Daily News and took serious steps towards pursuing it.

My next project:
Definitely conceptual. I’m taking records from my favorite group of all time, which I will not mention yet (laughs), and sort of flipping them and putting my touch on them. Just know it’s going to be dope.

ALSO SEE:
Estelle On Owning Your Sexuality
Justine Skye On Growing Into Your Confidence
Sevyn Streeter On Being True To Yourself

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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