“I like questions,” Nappy Nappa told me after he wrapped up our interview. “Most people don’t ask questions, they’ll just assume.”
Nappa, real name Davonte Squire, cherishes the interactions that he has with people on stage and in the street. During his set at Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe last night, the young rapper from Southeast, D.C. reminded the audience to love each other, despite what’s going on elsewhere in the country or at home. Fellow friends and collaborators MarTYHeem and SPVCK LA BOOST joined him for his 20-minute set, that was way too short.
Nappy Nappa discusses why he cares about people so much, the truth about gentrification in the city and how he is finding a new balance.
Update: The New Balance EP is available now via Babe City Records:
Q: Why do you care about people so much?
NAPPY NAPPA: Why? Because you got to. Because without caring about people, or people existing, I wouldn’t be playing, you feel me? It’s crazy, man. You wish you couldn’t give a fuck about people as much as you do sometimes, but you got to, you know?
(A friend interrupts the interview to apologize for missing the show).
But that’s a part of it. I got to talk to my man’s, because I’ve been man’s with him since my freshman year of high school, so I’m going to talk to my man’s when I see him.
“You wish you couldn’t give a fuck about people as much as you do sometimes, but you got to, you know?”
Why did you choose to go by the name Nappy Nappa, besides the alliteration?
Real live, being by myself. There’s two sides of people: either I can bam the fuck out or cool it.
What was it like growing up in Southeast (D.C.)?
I don’t know. I don’t think I grew up like my most niggas in Southeast, D.C. I went to Catholic school and a performing arts school, you feel me? I seen a lot of fuckshit – I’ve experienced a lot of fuckshit – but I don’t think that’s from necessarily living in Southeast.
I don’t think it matters, living in Southeast, it’s got endless old heads. It’s actually chill. I think Northeast is the wildest part.
Everybody thinks Southeast is the craziest part.
Because it’s the south! The south is down. Hell is low, you feel me? It’s always a negative connotation with anything [in the south]. Like the south is racist. I lived in the south. Niggas aren’t racist, niggas are just ignorant as fuck. ^ Nappy Nappa with SPVCK LA BOOST.
Did getting evicted, and having to move to Northwest, affect your music?
Hell no. It’s never stopping. I’m always moving.
Did that having play into calling your next project “New Balance”?
Yeah, because that’s a new balance, a new part of life. It’s part of progression. If you have a girl, that’s a new balance. Rapping on new music is part of a new balance.
“On Solbiato Sports Music EP” you talked about gentrification and new people coming in.
That’s the funny thing. New people aren’t always coming in. A lot of these fucking condos are empty. People don’t live in them. These joints are built off some federal ‘I want more bread type shit.’
“A lot of these fucking condos are empty. People don’t live in them. These joints are built off some federal ‘I want more bread type shit.’”
What’s different from what you’ve been working on since that project?
My train of thought, all of it. My life is different. It’s going to be different tomorrow, it’s going to be different the next day. I’m going to be higher than I was two seconds ago after I hit this jay.
How was it collaborating with Sir E.U?
I got mad music that man. Collaborating with him is very fun. That nigga sweat when he rap! It’s one of the most best things, it challenges me for real.
Where will you be in 5 days, 5 months and 5 years?