Kentucky’s own hip-hop legends, Nappy Roots, are no strangers to success. Their early 2000’s classics remain popular through the decades and continue generating notoriety– a prime example, their song “Good Day” has appeared in nearly 3 million user-generated videos on TikTok. (Keep in mind the social media platform has only been around for a handful of years.) The group also released their ninth studio album “NAPPY4LIFE, Part 1” in October 2023 and just celebrated the second anniversary of their craft brewery “Atlantucky,” which pays homage to their upbringing and unique blend of Kentucky and Georgia roots. With more exciting new projects on tap (hint, hint), Visit BGKY sat down with the music icons to reflect on the years passed and what’s to come as it relates to music and craft beer. 

The self-derived “crafty country rappers” and WKU alumni have always been beer lovers, but discovered the world of craft beer during their years spent on the road touring. The experience of exploring different micro and craft breweries across the US ultimately led to the group’s portfolio expansion into the craft brewery scene and in 2021, the opening of their very own brewery, Atlantucky. 

“As we traveled from city to city on tour, I really developed a taste for craft beer and took it upon myself to find the best local beer spots in the cities of our next shows. The rest of the group and I would seek out these local breweries, pull up, have some drinks and promote the show,” said Melvin Adams Jr., better known as Nappy Roots member, Fish Scales.

NappyRoots_2024“Eventually by doing that, we learned enough about craft beer to start brewing in Scales’ garage, which ultimately led to not only the creation of Atlantucky, but also additional craft partnerships - some are in the works right now that we are really excited about,” said Skinny Deville, fellow member of Nappy Roots.

And with several staple brews and partnerships under their belt, the group has made their mark in the craft brewing world, earning recognition as one of the most notable Black craft beer brewers in the South. But awards and notoriety aren’t what the both hip-hop and beer trailblazers are after. Nappy Roots wants to help bring brewing to black communities and contribute to a pathway for minority brewery growth. 

“We are happy to be part of the community and bring awareness to not just craft brewing, but minority craft brewing. There was a statistic that came out late last year saying just 1% of all breweries in the US are black-owned, which is crazy when you think about it because there are a lot of black brewers that make great beer. There’s a need to make craft beer not just accessible, but relatable to the black community and that’s something we hope to continue to contribute toward,” said Scales. 

The group noted that it’s just as important to be accepted as part of the craft beer scene as it is to be accepted into the hip-hop scene. Their upbringing and time spent in Bowling Green have influenced aspects of both business ventures.

“We were everywhere in college,” said Skinny. “The cool thing about Bowling Green is that people knew who we were, yet we were able to go out and still be ourselves. But two places we spent a lot of time were a bar called Baker Boys and our record store, ET’s Music. We were part owners as Nappy Roots of ET’s Music and it was a pivotal spot for us as we developed as hip-hop artists. The record store had a studio; so, we would spend a lot of time there just laying down bars and learning about selling music, producing music, etc. There wasn’t a program for that at school and we were fortunate enough to have a space to learn it in the real world.” 

According to the WKU College Heights Herald, Baker Boys is now the beloved college bar, Hilligan’s. 

“It never fails…we always leave Bowling Green with inspiration and ideas. Sometimes it’s for music, but recently, it has been for beer,” said Scales. “Bowling Green is a place that is booming and the growth of the city really makes us think ahead to where we would have a second location of Atlantucky. It would be a great place and natural fit for Nappy Roots to set up shop and bring our brewing to the community.”NappyRoots_2024

The group emphasized that a second Atlantucky location is a long-term idea and there are several other projects in the works before that is a discussion. 

“We love how we’ve grown as Nappy Roots. Bowling Green has been able to see us go from young college kids to Nappy Roots the rappers, and we want to continue to include the community in our development and growth as Nappy Roots the rappers AND brewers,” said Scales.

In terms of music, the group’s newest single, “End of the Night Song” featuring Blanco Brown is  on their latest album NAPPY4LIFE, Part 1, and it’s a nod to their time in college and specifically reminiscent of the perfect tune to play when bartenders announce “last call” at the end of an evening. They are also recording their next album, NAPPY4LIFE, Part 2, with an anticipated 2024 release. 

Additionally, during the upcoming anniversary of Atlantucky, Nappy Roots introduced a new stout to their brewery’s lineup - a bourbon-barreled beer called “Lord Sauce.” The group also opened a pizza and paninis restaurant inside the brewery, giving patrons handcrafted food to pair with their craft beer. 

The Bowling Green Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will continue to keep Visit BGKY’s website updated with important news relating to Nappy Roots and the Bowling Green community. Sources say there may be updates sooner rather than later!