Yung Blu and Frank Nitty are on a mission: a mission to save hip-hop from becoming a tool for negativity and marketing ploys, and retain its original, revolutionary spirit. We here at Doctor Frank and Elevate the Conversation appreciate this sort of attitude, this will to get-up-and-do-it (or “gumption”, if you will).
We also appreciate the fact that Frank Nitty has taken Yung Blu under his wing in order to teach him about the history of hip-hop, its culture and its roots in the 60s and 70s – a period of time we have much interest in, whether it’s the culture, the music or the ideas.
Though you’ll be seeing both Yung Blu and Frank Nitty in-studio on this Thursday’s edition of ETC (04/06/2017, 9 pm PDT, UBN Radio), we caught up with Nitty first to ask him a few choice questions …
When did you start rapping, and when did Yung Blu start rapping?
I started in the game with Snoop Dogg actually, around 1994. That’s around the time when Death Row, Snoop Dogg were big. I discovered Blu in 2010, about 7 years ago. I knew we had to change hip-hop, because hip-hop was all negative. You know, a lot of people glorified objectifying females and doing drugs.
I felt like, you know, I had to take the power that I had and to develop a kid to become something different in hip-hop. So when you listen to Blu’s music, there’s no cussing. It’s just all pure, all authentic. That’s our mission now.
What can hip-hop do to be a positive influence?
Speak the truth. Don’t lie in your music. Talk about the things happening in the streets. Talk about the real police brutality, the elections, the food and the poison they’re giving us. We need to rap about
this, otherwise hip-hop will die. We have to do things the right way, not selling drugs.
You know, we have people in the rap game, making money from their music, and then going to their friends in the street and buying some dope to sell. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! It’s meant to be the other way round – you’re supposed to use hip-hop to get out of those situations, not into them. You don’t take your rap money and flip that to sling dope, just so you can say in your raps that you’re a big time drug dealer. That’s played out. Hip-hop’s a lifestyle, a platform, and we have a choice in what we talk about. Do you want a million people downloading your song, and it’s negative?
If all these rappers collected together and used their powers in more positive ways, hip hop will never die. In 20 years or so from now, if you have enough money, you’ll be going into space. You will start hearing hip-hop played on ships in space. The question is, what do you want the songs to be saying? Do you want something positive, or something negative? What music will be heard in space? What will be the first hip-hop song played in space? That’s what’s on my mind right now.
Do you use cannabis, and why?
Oh, of course. You know, I’m a very firm believer of plants in general. Not just cannabis, but fruits, vegetables … Anything where you can take a seed and put it in the earth to grow for nutrition – I’m a firm believer in that. Cannabis is nutritional. Really, it’s medical.
The government’s known cannabis has been medicine for years. Our ancestors smoked weed and used it as medicine! Me, I like to smoke and read. That’s when I can listen to jazz and country, because I go into that zone. You know, when I’m smoking that OG Kush – my favorite strain – I get there really easily.
I love cannabis, man. It helps cancer patient, my mom had cancer she smoked cannabis – medical marijuana – and her hair started growing back. The doctors recommended her weed, she started smoking it and she got her appetite back. My mom went from 120 pounds to 140, getting the munchies and eating properly. So I’m fully in support of medical cannabis use.
Cannabis soothes the pain and all of that. You know, I feed the homeless a lot. I have a strain called Gritty OG. What I do is take pre-rolls so, when we go feed the homeless, we ask them “Do you support medical marijuana?” They say, “Oh yeah man, I wish I could have some. It helps me sleep at night.”So I go, “Here’s a pre-roll for you. Help yourself.” Then when I see them again, they’ll come up to me and say, “Man, thank you for that joint, man. That helped me sleep better.” It got me thinking, that maybe I should start passing out joints to the homeless – the sick people who might not have access to medical marijuana cards and dispensaries. Nobody’s really doing that.
You mentioned OG Kush, what do you like about that strain in particular?
I just like the way it stimulates my mind. You know, it gives you certain visions. Nowadays, it’s crazy, because there’s all sorts of chemicals going into the plant. I like all organic. Organic marijuana is the best medicine for me, because it’s natural.
How does the youth of California view cannabis? Is it competing with and beating out use of alcohol and other drugs?
Cannabis is blowing up right now. It’s so rapid, it’s not even funny. People were just waiting for it to be legal. They were going to do it anyways. They government can’t stop it. The government is only making it legal so they can make money off of it. But people now, the young ones as well, are starting to grow their own cannabis. And it’s not just one or two plants, but hundreds.
So these kids are now getting into growing and the culture of cannabis. They’ve got all sorts of stuff now, like wax and oils, and the culture of cannabis is growing, month by month. Definitely a trillion dollar business US and worldwide if it’s packaged right. It’s killing the alcohol game, for sure. I think it’s rising. I support it.
I think that, if you get the right soul smoking the right cannabis, man, I think it’ll give you visions. You know, you can relax and see things differently. And that’s what it’s for. Indians used to smoke through their peace pipe and see visions of the future. That’s never gonna stop.
We’ve been talking to ex-police officers and the like, and they say that, because of the War on Drugs, many people don’t trust the police. What do you think?
Police need to be more active in their communities, so the people can trust them. There are good cops out there. I just think that they need to understand the culture of the streets that they’re patrolling more, and they really don’t.
Instead of always patrolling and harassing people, I think they need to learn something about the people they’re harassing and the culture they’re in. They need to be trained more and not reach for the gun in situations where it could be avoided. The mouth is a more powerful weapon than a gun, if you use it right.
I know a few police people, though, and they’re as cool as hell! They’ll be on their patrols like, “Hey, what’s up Charlie? What’s up lady? You good? Yeah, you good? Alright, just checking on you!” Then I’m telling my friends, “Hey, this guy’s cool, man.” So now, this police officer has a good name in the neighbourhood.
So when they pull people over, they know not to run from them. They know they can talk to the police officer, because they’re not looking to just take you to jail every time. They want to really find a solution. We need more cops like that.
Do you grow yourself?
No, I don’t grow myself, but I have a grower. He grows all organic and that’s his passion. The reason why I don’t grow is because plants, you know, they’re like babies. I’ll probably grow when I’m retired, but you gotta be there for them. Play them music, sing to them …! They’re like kids, and I don’t really have time because of the music.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just for anyone who anyone who likes to listen to music and use cannabis to look up Yung Blu! He is gonna be the next Tupac. Listen him and listen to his mindstate. Check out his new song, ‘Remind Me’. Check out our website, too. I think we’re gonna take the hip-hop game by storm, pushing something positive. We feed our communities every month, and bring the passion back to hip-hop. Because that’s what hip-hop’s missing right now – the passion.
If that’s not enough for you and you want to hear more from Frank Nitty and Yung Blu, tune in to Elevate the Conversation on Thursday 6th April at 9 pm PDT on UBN Radio or Facebook Live. Oh, and remember to #JoinTheConvo and #FreeTheWeed!