Speak On It: Skinny of Nappy Roots on Being A Rap Dad and “Looking Grown”

Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing written series called “Speak On It.” It features an artist as a guest writer for our site. The artist picks a topic they’re passionate about and then pens an in-depth piece. It’s about time to give the power and voice back to the artists.

This edition features Skinny of the Nappy Roots explaining how his children significantly changed his outlook on life. He also provides three pros and cons of becoming a rap dad.

Being a rap dad is the shit!!! Being that we got signed in college, I was dating my wife at the time and between school and the studio an hour away in Nashville. I didn’t think in my wildest dreams of having a kid in that moment in my life, but shit happens and right before graduation I had my first son. We had just finished recording an album for Atlantic Records and dealing with the politics of trying to get off the shelf and on their release schedule. The pressure to be successful came from me being a first-time father and wanting to provide for my son similar to what my father did for me. Being in that moment made me think of him as I made life changing decisions regarding my career.

Having kids during any part of your life changes you in many ways, but when speaking on pursuing a career in this music industry – particularly rap aka the dope game with poetry – it makes the hardest rapper turn into drugstore cotton balls – for those out there lost from the analogy soft as a kitten. Before I had my first son Kayden it was all about me. Everything was for my own personal materialistic gain. But as soon as he came into the world it was all about him and making sure his mother was also equally taken care of. But being a parent makes you into this person who is thinking multiple moves ahead. For example, If I jump off this stage into a crowd and nobody catches me I could 1.) fk myself up 2.) hurt myself to the point where I can’t be there for my son 3.) hurt somebody else to the point where I can’t financially take care of my son 4.) if my son found out I was stage diving in my heyday he might do same or worse one day and injure himself because he saw me do it. Therefore, I must lead by example at all times because I am now a role model for this little dude.

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Now as for my daughter, it changed up my whole flow. No more subtle misogynistic flows to spit. No more “bitches ain’t shit” mentality. This has never been my thing but now I really can’t even listen to that type of rap anymore. It’s crazy!!! My daughter is the only innocent thing in my world and I will not pollute her mind with what daddy thinks or even likes to listen to. But that’s when she was born and now she’s about to be 11 and the internet holds nothing with its relentless onslaught of viral shock and awe. As I sit here and type this I realize there is nothing I can really do as a rap dad to protect my cubs from the wilderness we call the world wide web and the social media nature that their generation must grow up in. Times have changed. Clearly.

I honestly feel that if my kids weren’t born a lot of things would have been done selfishly solely for my own personal gain and satisfaction. My son changed it from all about me to all about him. Fast forward plenty years and add two more to the equation.  I have to be there for my kiddos regardless of the time or weather and that’s the driving force behind my grind. Without grind I don’t believe you can be successful in this industry. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My kiddos are my everything and add to my overall success and happiness.

3 Pros of being a rap dad:

– You make enough money to take care of your fatherly responsibilities.
– You are the coolest father on the block if done successfully.
– If you get the chance to bring your kid to work with you, they will be blown away.

3 Cons of being a rap dad:

– You are constantly gone on the road or in the studio missing precious moments. (pick one)
– As your kid(s) get older they get used to you never being there and a bit of resentment grows each time you have to go to work. My youngest son misses me the most, my daughter is used to it by now, and my oldest who is 17 couldn’t care less where I go or end up. I’ve been in and out of their lives since the birth and it’s just what comes with the territory. I tell them I love em every day, but it’s not like being there when they need me.
– I miss them so much it hurts sometimes when I’m doing a long run… I grind to take care of them, but because I have to leave all the time to do it is where it gets difficult as fk sometimes. Go figure.

– Skinny

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