From age 14, Nitty Scott MC has been hitting impressive career milestone after milestone since she began rapping. From hitting the decade-mark of exploring her self-expressive talents as an emcee to recently selling out her first headlining show in Tokyo, Nitty’s future is just as bright as the colors in her fashion-forward wardrobe.
The 25-year-old has consistently been holding her own on the mic for years, evolving into the artist she is today by continuously doing what feels natural to her. In 2010, her career was catapulted to a new level, when her freestyle over “Monster” went viral, and ever since, she’s been experiencing growth as an individual while staying committed to her life as a musician.
Being in tune with her individuality has been a vital component she’s held dear to her heart from the very beginning. Her messages come to life in her music and as a result, common themes arise, including promoting authenticity, celebrating self-love, empowering women, being a voice for minorities, and building a community.
Her discography, built on a foundation of mixtapes, was strengthened by the release of her official debut full length in 2014, The Art Of Chill. The project showcases her strengths lyrically while officially putting her on the board as a force to be reckoned with as an emcee.
In the two years in between releases, Nitty has been fighting battles she opens up about for the first time on her forthcoming album, Creature, further promising this is her most personal and intricate project to date. While she’s busy putting the finishing touches on her new album, the champion of consciousness took some time to chop it up with The Source.
TheSource: I couldn’t help but notice you just hit the 10 year mile marker of being an artist in the rap game. When did it hit you that this was going to be more than a passion and was going to develop into your career?
Nitty Scott MC: I feel like I made that decision very early on. I’d say it hit me when I basically ran away from Florida to New York City. That was a big move for me. I think at that moment, I knew there was no way that I would try to take on an entire city by myself that I had no knowledge of, no family in, no support system, no plan and not make it work, you know? I have been committed to this idea of myself as a full-time artist ever since I got to New York, and every little thing that I’ve done since has been a part of that agenda and personal journey. To come to this city, become a part of the Hip Hop community here and establish myself, that’s all part of what I set out to do.
I also shifted from just being a rapper to being an entrepreneur when I obtained my first LLC and established Boombox Family Entertainment. I had to educate myself on all these other aspects of my career beyond the creative, so that was another moment that was very indicative of how serious I take this lifestyle. You have to be open to the challenges and the things that aren’t necessarily glamorous. Learning the business side of things was another big turning point for me.
Do you feel as though the challenges you’ve overcome are related at times to you being a female rapper?
Of course, absolutely.
What are your thoughts on being labeled as a female rapper? In your opinion, does being labeled as such by music writers such as myself, is that doing a disservice to you or is that something that comes with the territory?
I’ll put it like this. You asking me about if I thought it was a disservice; that was a really honest way to go about it and I really appreciate that. The answer isn’t an easy one either.
I actually wrote an entire blog post on the topic, where I was talking about how I’m featured all the time in articles that are like: “Ten Female Rap Artists You Need to Know,” or what have you. I was always so torn because I never wanted to create an issue with the people who took the time to include me in something that had every intention of just giving positive light on a platform. I know that the intention is good, so it’s been difficult to criticize the way that the narrative currently is.
I feel like it reinforces this idea that there are Hip Hop artists and then there are female Hip Hop artists, and we have to discuss both in different lights. Doing so further isolates us. So even though I’ve had opportunities to perform on all female line-ups or all-female tours, I still want to fight to be equal.
In order to be equals, we shouldn’t have to separate ourselves from the rest of the culture as this minority based on gender. I’m all for girl power, so while I do understand that our voices and our perspectives are distinct and different, I’m a little bit on the fence about “female rappers” as a term. I feel like in general it’s a bit of a disservice no matter what you do when you’re being referred to the “female version” of anything.
How was SXSW kind to you this year? And of course, your recent trip to Japan?
I’ve been attending the SXSW festival for about three years and I love the camaraderie that comes with it. It still has this ‘for artists by artists’ feel to it, and seeing so many people supporting each other is really motivational. I feel very inspired whenever I see my peers successfully accomplishing their goals.
With Japan, it was incredible seeing how far my music has traveled and that there are people in other parts of the world following my music and what I’m doing. I wasn’t even fully aware of that until this tour happened. It’s dope to find love in so many different places.
Japan was so amazing and weird and different. I literally didn’t want to leave. I’m definitely hoping to get back on the road as soon as my album is out.
Isn’t it wild to think about how mainstream artists have performed on small stages at festivals at some point in their career? Does thinking about stuff like that inspire you?
Yes, absolutely. I think that sometimes when things become super commercial they lose the allure they had before. Festivals have always been this cool place where you can get your dose of local or independent acts, huge mainstream acts, people who are in-between and you can get it all in one place. Even just comparing last year’s SXSW to this year’s and being able to gauge the experiences as a way to showcase growth is super inspiring.
Do you have any mantras or rituals that play a part into your daily life as a performance artist?
Absolutely. There’s a quote from Maya Angelou actually where she says, ‘Nothing will work unless you do.’
That is something I meditate on a daily basis. I also use it to remind myself that it takes a village to make my world go ’round. There are so many different factors that contribute to being where you want to be in your career and sometimes you have to simplify and condense. It all comes down to the work that you put in. No matter what you go through, nothing will work unless you do. Simple.
I also think it’s important to maintain your work ethic on all levels. If you’re hungry to be heard and establish yourself, you have to have a solid work ethic, no excuses. If you’re gaining some attention, you always have to be thinking ahead to what you need to do to get to the next level. You can’t have longevity in this world without a work ethic. There should never be a point where you are fully comfortable—at least in my opinion.
T-Pain, for example, said during an interview with Sway that, “The hardest part about being number one is staying number one,” and that’s something that’s stuck with me.
Yeah. Maintaining a position is more difficult than even getting there—I definitely agree. I think it’s really important to give myself credit for how far I’ve come and to be grateful of where I am, but it’s this balancing act of factoring in what’s up next and how to get there.
Are these all things that you want people to take away from your music also? Seems like this stuff is pretty engrained in what you’re doing and how you’re expressing yourself.
I think my music has a real spiritual component to it. Everything I create, in a way, can be broken down to my world views, my ideas, how I think, etc. I’m still figuring out what the best formula is for me and I think you can hear that in my music. There’s a true searching element behind the songs on my new album, and what I mean by that is I’m seeking a journey where there’s an exploration of identity throughout.
What else can you tell us about your new album?
My upcoming album, Creature, is really personal, definitely my most honest work to date. I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows in my career. So for me, this project is definitely a high moment for me because my fans know that this is my coming out of a difficult period both personally and professionally behind closed doors.
The Creature album is absolutely a summertime project. Like I said, it’s a celebration of identity, my mixed heritage and all the different things that I identify with. I want to redefine what it means to be part of any community; what it means to be Black, what it means to be Latina, what it means to be a woman, what it means to be bisexual. I’m always trying to create a space to have that dialogue and making art that directly comes from those discussions.
What do you want people listening to the new album to take away from it?
Back to what you asked earlier, I would say this album is another confirmation of my knowing I’m meant to be a performer and an artist. I think my fans are looking forward to the project also because it’s confirmation that when things got really tough, and stopped being fun and enjoyable, I still stuck with it. I chose to believe that this is what I’m meant to do, so I hope people can feel that too.
In a way, I think the game makes or breaks a lot of us. It’s not just about who is the most talented or who is the most connected, but also about who can weather all of these storms that you never knew were going to happen in the first place, especially when all you were trying to do was just pursue your music career. I’m overcoming challenges I never thought I could overcome. It feels good.