I arrived at Blank Canvas Gallery, a unique and creative gallery located in the Danforth area of Toronto, at approximately 5:00 pm to meet the New York MC, Nitty Scott, before her event that evening. The empowering feminist and rapper who’s creative mind is filled with intelligence and bars to spit, is exactly how you’d imagine her to be- a powerful woman who radiates positive energy, which is what I experienced as soon as I arrived in her presence.
Nitty has built quite a career for herself over the past few years in which she’s been in the scene, and it's nothing short of impressive. She’s worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, gained the support of some of Hip-Hop’s elite such as Ebro Darden, and has made significant and unforgettable moves such as performing at the United Nations. As you can imagine, we had a lot to discuss, and we went beyond just Nitty’s music.
The MC started off by discussing her reasoning for performing at Blank Canvas Gallery, a rather unusual venue for a Hip-Hop artist to perform at. However, as much as Nitty performs at larger and more mainstream venues such as New York’s SOB’s, she is just as passionate about making sure she’s involved in the community by participating in events, such as domestic violence walks, stating that her motivation "is to impact people positively.” She does point out that this might work against her, however. “Maybe that keeps me from doing all the things that are super beneficial to me”, speaking in regards to the difference between her and some artists that may stay out of certain events to not be deemed as controversial. “I’m okay with that,” she states, “I want to make a difference in the world before I make a fortune.”
It makes sense for the young artist to be as involved as she is, as most of the causes she is passionate about she has had first-hand experience with. One issue she’s involved with and cares about deeply is mental health, another being racial discrimination. Nitty has all of these causes embedded in her, making it that much more important that she breaks the silence. “I see myself in a lot of the causes I lend myself to. I think I represent many different communities. I’m one big walking intersection: I’m a woman, I’m Black, I’m Latina, I’m bisexual, I struggle with my mental health. I’m speaking for all of these people.”
Within our technologically advanced generation, now is the time more than ever for people, especially the youth, to take a stand on what is right, and Nitty knows that not everyone will be comfortable with the lack of censorship. "I'm not in the business of making people comfortable.”
For Nitty, as a female and an artist, she knows that everything she says can make an impact on the relationships around her. As someone who has no trouble discussing what she’s passionate about, she is constantly reminded by others not to discuss anything “too controversial”. With the already existing pressure of becoming extremely successful within the industry, comes the added pressure on the young artist to be a good person and stay true to herself. This pressure comes even more forward for Nitty as a female artist who is surrounded by men within the Hip-Hop industry at all times. “There’ll be instances sometimes where I’m in the studio or anywhere and someone will say something where I’m like ‘Wow, that's misogynistic as f*ck’”. However, being surrounded by the male perspective all the time, Nitty comes through as the voice of reason within the male dynamic. “I’m big on the idea of equality and not superiority. Let’s just coexist. I think women are magical, and I think men are amazing and magical too."
Nitty holds the same mindset as the only female within the newly-formed New York group No Panty, with the other two members including New York heavy-hitters Joell Ortiz and Bodega Bamz. When it comes to working with No Panty, a trio who’s music is filled with New York Latina flavor, Nitty loves the situation the three amazing artists are in. “Joell’s pen game is just so nasty. He makes everyone want to rap better,” She says of rapper Joell Ortiz. “[Bodega] Bamz’ energy is just totally different. It’s very aggressive- a lot of bravado. He’s just a character, he’s entertaining.” The three artists come from completely different stories and backgrounds, however, they all have the Latina identity and their New York culture in common.
The three just released their first mixtape as the new trio, titled Westside Highway Story. With a project released that came as an extreme surprise to the majority of people, Nitty gives the credit to acclaimed producer Salaam Remi, who’s vision created No Panty. “We would’ve never thought of coming together,” she states. As well, Nitty feels they perhaps worried about reinforcing the Latina stigma that is already somewhat in place. The mixtape, however, gives us something of a classic New York feel, with it’s beautifully created production courtesy of Salaam, and the magnificent bars courtesy of three of New York’s best. “It’s a dope blend of Hip-Hop, Latin, Soul- we’ve got a lot of genre fusion going on”.
Nitty’s New York sound and her often being referred to as a “New York rapper” got us discussing exactly where the artist is from, which you may be surprised to learn is not actually New York. Nitty is originally from Florida, where she attended art school, and at a young 17, she moved to the Big Apple where she graduated in Brooklyn. When I asked her about how she feels being referred to as a New York rapper, she happily responds, “I’m chillin’”, explaining the fact that she isn’t necessarily focused on having one particular sound. “This is where Nitty Scott became Nitty Scott; that was in New York.” Some may have something to say about Nitty being called a New York artist; the young female, however, got her start in the city, worked primarily with New York artists, and ultimately became Nitty Scott, MC. “It’s definitely where I found my identity as an artist; this is the culture I’ve been surrounded by for the past nine years.”
Besides being focused on the unexpected movement of No Panty, Nitty is also working on her next solo project, titled Creature. The artist’s affiliation with Ortiz and Bodega makes this the prime time for her to also elevate herself as the amazing solo artist that she is, and fortunately, fans can get the best of both worlds with Nitty’s two separate musical situations. “The contrast [of Creature] to No Panty is crazy; it’s a totally different project, maybe even a totally different artist.” Nitty has no issue dipping her fingers in different genres and personalities, and feels most comfortable moving out of the box.
“It’s always dope to try other things. It’s always dope to grow, it’s always dope to get out of your comfort zone. It’s almost like being a painter; just because I paint apples very well, doesn’t mean I can’t paint some grapes today. That’s what I felt like doing with Creature, I’m like... 'I’m ‘gon throw some mangos in this b*tch'.”♠
Watch NO PANTY's video for "Hola" below, off of their debut mixtape Westside Highway Story, available now.