She gets to the gritty of what this hip-hop thing is all about. In just a short 20 years of life, this artist has acquired the know-how and ambition of a seasoned veteran in the game. Her still-relevant Cassette Chronicles is the predecessor to her upcoming EP, and formal introduction, The Boombox Diaries Vol. 1. Exponentially, she’s been gaining attention from several media outlets because this Michigan-born, Florida-raised emcee (don’t call her a rapper) is anchored in the principles of the culture. If you’re looking for the self-promoting, lyrical assault combined with a raw honesty of storytelling, say no more! VIBE Vixen is proud to introduce, Miss Nitty Scott MC. –Niki McGloster (@missjournalism)
Who is Nitty Scott MC?
Nitty Scott MC is a backpack rapper with a rocket in that backpack [Laughs], and by that I just mean that I’m a down-to-Earth, around-the-way fly girl who lives and breathes hip-hop and wants to represent it on a higher level, on a global level. That’s me. I’m an emcee, not a rapper. I definitely stress on that because I just feel that rapping is what you do; it’s an action, and hip-hop and emceeing is a lifestyle. So, I’m an emcee, not a rapper, and I’m here.
I appreciate you clarifying that because a lot of people can’t distinguish the difference between the two.
They sure don’t [Laughs].
How did you start rhyming?
I was always a writer. Growing up, it was therapeutic for me; it was a form of expression; it was very much for myself. But I would always find creative ways to express how I was feeling, the experiences I was having, etcetera, and I was always a music lover, always exposed to classic music. At one point, I remember just thinking that I wanted to merge the two worlds for myself. I came up in the 90’s, not in the way that I was aware of this golden age of hip-hop going on around me, but I recognized at about 14 years old that music wasn’t the same anymore. The music I grew up on, the music I was hearing in the street or in my house, the music that my father would expose me to, it wasn’t the same. It was relatable anymore for me, it didn’t make me feel the same and I just felt this need to become apart of the culture instead of just appreciating it and just being a fan of it. As someone who was lyrically inclined, I took beats and took these poems on top of them, and it was just really putting rhythm to things that I had already written and calling it a song. It was a transition from a writer-slash-poet to a musician. Even now, I’m still making that transition, as far as making really good records.
What has been your grind thus far trying to get into the game?
At 14 years old, I made my own homemade demo, and I passed it around all the local bars and clubs, even anywhere that sold hip-hop clothing. It was more of an experiment to see how people received me, but all my peers liked it and from that point on, I really embraced it. That’s when I seriously started to pursue it as a career—finding a manager and getting my material up.
You’ve been grinding for about six years now, and you’re really doing it. I’ve spotted you at a couple places, and you have a genuine love for the hip-hop culture. You’re not a fame seeker, by far.
Yeah. There are several things that I could do right now if I wanted to be famous. I could do the reality shows, all the publicity stunts and whatnot, to make sure that my face is everywhere, but it’s not about that. I want to be recognized for progressing this culture and preserving this culture at the same time because it is 2011, and we can’t be stuck in tradition but at the same time we have to also preserve the roots. I think there’s a very fine line between that balance where you can still appeal to this generation and still appeal for those who were around for the golden era of hip-hop and not lose that hint of nostalgia and authenticity. I’m definitely about hip-hop, and it’s bigger than myself.
Awesome. Well, talking about growing up and the golden age of hip-hop, what do you say to people who think you’re too young to really know and understand the culture?
It also has to do with this day and age, ya know? The Internet enabled us to get the modern-day version of dusty fingers. Back in the day, you would go check for your favorite vinyl record, [but] the modern-day version of that is going online and seeking out what it is that you want. At this point, you don’t have to be spoon-fed; you don’t have to accept what [a] radio DJ tells you is hot. Not to take away from what is in rotation, but in this day and age, it’s too accessible to get your hands on music that came before your time. As simple as a Google search [you can get] Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke. Look it up! You can get familiar with music that helped to shape the world, the genre [and] the culture. When people say that I’m too young to have an appreciation for music, it’s like, I might not have been around when these artists made their impact, but I have access to them. I don’t have to live in a world where if it’s not on Hot 97 and it wasn’t created in the past five years it’s not relevant to me. We’re not limited to that, so why be limited to it?
Exactly. It’s about the research. So who would you saying are you main influences for emceeing?
Lauryn Hill is definitely one of my influnces. Jean Grae, MC Lyte…
Why these ladies?
I admire them for different reasons. A lot of it just has to do with the honesty and the soul that they represent. It’s also from a career standpoint as well. I respect the longevity of their careers. I respect the fact that it wasn’t about the 15 minutes; it wasn’t about getting a few hits under my belt and then I’m out. It was like, yo I’m here to impact the world via my music. Just their evolution over time, the development of these artists, the different ways that they’ve expanded and changed and grown, I just really base myself off of that. I’m here for longevity; I want to evolve and grow with my fans, develop new sounds and master my craft more and more everyday. The people that have done that, I have the utmost respect for them. The Wu, Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village, you know? That’s my shit.
The real, real hip-hop. Now, out of all the freestyles and songs that you’ve done, which one means the more to you?
I would have to say “Monster.” There are freestyles that are more personal where I’ve gotten deep and they mean more to me in that way, but “Monster” was the freestyle that set everything off for me. That freestyle was just something I had on my noggin for a long time, you know what I mean? To film it, upload it onto Youtube and have thousands of people reacting telling me, ‘I feel the exact same way,’ that was crazy! You have your immediate circle, you have your homies and you have the people that are going to tell you, ‘Yo, that was hot,’ but there’s nothing like strangers who owe you nothing to feel me.
That’s incredible, and one thing about a person’s passion. It just clicks.
It was so humbling, and it was just this confirmation that this is what I’m meant to do.
And there are other people out here chasing their dreams and getting that confirmation as well, what other upcoming female emcees do you feel are in your “class” of hip-hop?
Well Rapsody is definitely dope. I met her in New York at a performance a few weeks ago, and it’s all love! I feel as upcoming female emcees, we send such a powerful statement when there’s no hate involved. Audra, Rapsody, I did something with them for The Source. You know, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a collab, but we’re showing that salute and celebrate the grind with everyone. I feel a wave; it’s a comeback. People are fighting back, and although the music might not be aggressive, it’s still sending a statement like, ‘Yo, we are taking our culture back! Enough is enough.”
I spoke with another female artists and she mirrored your exact sentiment. She didn’t think that everyone was hella dope or that they’d be the next Jay-Z, but she still respects that they’re out there doing it.
Exactly, especially when it comes to female emcees. We don’t have to be fans of each other. We don’t have to collab or be on line-ups together. I have done those things, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just a simple salute [works]. Hip-hop has gotten so bad that I respect anyone who is out here trying to do something different; someone who is really trying to hold it down for the culture. I respect that grind automatically. You may not be in my iPod or someone I’m necessarily checking for, but it’s all love. And as long as we do that, the presence will still be felt.
I really love that mentality. With Nicki Minaj sitting at the helm of female hip-hop right now, it has become blatantly clear that there is a lack of unity.
If there’s different facets of women in the world then there has to be different facets of the female emcee in the world. Not everyone can relate to one female. When we get rid of this [mindset] that only one female can be at the top doing what they do, when we open our minds to different people relating to different things, then there will be a much stronger presence and a much more diverse presence.
Speaking so much truth right now. It’s crazy! Now, you’ve lived in several different cities, but how much does New York and the experiences you’ve had here mean to you and your career?
I was very ambitious. I was 17 years old, and I was smack dab in the middle of my senior year, and I wasn’t going to wait to be found. I wasn’t going to wait for this dream that was developing in my head to just fall into my lap. I felt like I had to go get it, and I didn’t really care that I was 17. I didn’t care that I didn’t know anyone in New York; I didn’t care that I would have to figure out a way to sustain myself out here.
A serious leap of faith…
Yeah, a serious leap. I remember walking in school and being like, ‘Yeah, so I’m going to New York next week!’ [Laughs] I was just so ambitious and I couldn’t see past it. Even my parents were worried. They supported it, but there was a fear there because it’s a gamble to be an artist in itself. I looked at people who had made it and had gone on to do big things, and you know, at some point, this person did not know which way this was going to go but they had to believe in themselves and put in the work. I didn’t feel like I would be exempt from that at all and I was willing to do it. As soon as I got here, I had to grow up really fast! I found myself alone and having to worry about the basics every day, but I graduated and got my diploma. I had to get a job, maintain a roof over my head and it was such a task that it got to a point where I wasn’t writing for awhile. I wasn’t pursuing what I had come out here for because I was so concerned with surviving. It was very, very tough out here but it shaped my character in so many ways and it gave me stories of pain and struggle, of betrayal even, or all these things that we as people go through and it just makes me that much more relatable. It gives me a story to tell.
And that’s hip-hop! It’s all about storytelling. Musically, what can be expectation from The Boombox Diaries Vol. 1?
That is my debut body of work. It’s going to be all original music [and] all original production. People like the freestyles, but they want to know about my records and my sound and they will definitely get that from the EP. They will know what direction I’m going to go. From being underground, from being indie, talking about certain things, not talking about certain things. People are not sure if it’s going to change because I’ve gotten a little bit of attention now, you know? I think they’ll get a real sense of who I am and who I’m not. I reveal things about myself that people may or may not know. [The Boombox Diaries] is very personal. Everything on this project is an introduction to me. I eventually want to expand as an artist in many ways—musically, lyrically—but this particular project, I feel like I need to be like, ‘Hello, world. I’m Nitty Scott.’
What makes you hotter than any other emcee coming up right now?
I’m honest. And I think that’s what’s lacking in hip-hop right now. I’m not about the front and making things seem what they’re not. I’m not about selling lies to the public. I feel like I have a responsibility, especially now that people care and people listen to me. I’m going to be responsible with their ears because I have a sense of knowing that it’s bigger than myself. I represent more than myself. I represent my family, I represent my community, I represent my culture and I represent my era and generation.
Download the Cassette Chronicles here and follow her at @NittyScottMC.