I got to wax poetic with Texas native Nick Pratt about 70’s music, the quest for the perfect flow and being a working class rapper on his way up.
PD) Your song “Comin’ Dyne Clean” sounds like a real, summer jam. You have a slight Q-Tip rasp to your voice but your delivery is a mixture of old school and new. How did you develop your flow and when did you start?
NP) Well, I started messing around with rap in the 4th grade. I loved music and was already singing all the time, so the idea of playing around with rhyming words to a beat was intriguing. Over the years my ears evolved and subsequently so did my style. So this flow has been fostered through the many phases of me being a music fan. I hear stuff..patterns and intricacies in different folks’ deliveries and know that I need to add it to my repertoire.
PD) Your music is a mixture of lush R&B and beat-heavy Hip Hop. This mixture can be problematic, but you keep your Hip Hop soulful without pandering. What music gives you inspiration besides Hip Hop?
NP) I’m real big on 60’s and 70’s soul. My dad played a lot of that in the crib while I was coming up. He used to DJ so he kept crates of vinyls and I remember sitting around playing Teddy P, The Isleys, EWF, and all kinds of stuff on the record player at the house. I also grew up in the church so I had a lot of gospel music in my life too. Kerrion Franklin (Kirk Franklin’s son) was a good homie of mine growin’ up so I’d get put on to a lot of the new age gospel music as well as the older, more traditional stuff. The R&B and the New Jack Swing of the 80’s and 90’s is what really does it for me though. You get those same jammin’ harmonies and melodies but with a more funky, upbeat vibe. Most of those songs had like the perfect blend of hip-hop too. Man, that really set it off for me. Props to Teddy Riley and all the architects of that era. I’d really like to see it make a comeback.
PD) You’re a working man’s rapper. What’s the worst gig you’ve ever played on your way up?
NP) Man I can’t really complain too much about the gigs I’ve played, definitely not in comparison to the jobs I’ve worked lol, but man….worst gig ever so-far was probably this poetry reading that I did while I was at Pitt. The people there were so cool though so I can’t really get mad at it, but it was in somebody’s house and the vibe was tight for like a spoken word joint, and if I had made The Badu Sessions back then it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I came in there with heavy beats and hard raps lol. Completely altered the vibe for that ten minutes or so. Needless to say, I cut my set real short.
PD) Off the top of your head, can you name three MCs that changed your life?
Sheesh…only 3? Let’s see…Snoop Dogg because as a child I thought he was the coolest (and Doggystyle is in my top 5 albums of all time…I won’t even debate it), Jay-Z because I used to listen to him for inspiration right before I started trying to write a song or anything back in my middle school days, and last, but certainly not least, is Chamillionaire. When we were coming up we listened to a lot of Swishahouse and the like and Chamillioniare was my favorite and, in my opinion, the best of all the Texas underground rappers out. I could (and still can) recite about a hundred Cham mixtape rhymes and before I get ready to write a rap over somebody else’s beat I still revisit some of that old King Koopa (one of his aliases) before I get busy.
Hip hop’s rebirth continues, don’t sleep on Nick Pratt’s collaboration with Dj Booth on his EP ‘The Badu Sessions’. A potent jam-filled excursion inspired by the ‘Neo Soul’ Goddess herself.