At first, people seem a little confused,” says rapper Black Nasty about his performances. “There’s some talking, and then a lot of people ask me to show my balls because a lot of the songs are about my balls. They’re just kinda like, ‘Quit talkin’ about ’em. Let’s see ’em.’”
Nasty is an unemployed, supposedly AIDS-stricken, sloth-champion-of-the-world who can be described with countless adjectives, all ending with “-phile.” And yet, everybody loves his gloriously tasteless rhymes over supremely tasty hip-hop beats.
The 24-year-old layabout was born Theodore Beck in Wichita, Kansas, but says he thinks he’s always been Black Nasty. The story goes that his nastiness manifested as young Theodore watched a Buck Rogers rerun where Buck is kidnapped by alien women, who whip him. Nasty recalls he was chewing watermelon bubble gum, which he stretched out in strips across his chest, simulating the welts on Buck Rogers. “I had my first erection [then] and went outside to the sandbox and got naked, then poked a hole in the sand and, just very instinctively, mounted it.”
Nasty’s musical identity began to form soon after, when he stumbled upon his father’s record collection, which included LPs by Ice-T and NWA. The latter’s Straight Outta Compton, particularly its use of lewdness and violence to tell humorous real-life stories, intrigued him. At the time, he clarifies, “I wasn’t very sure what they were talkin’ about. But it excited me.”
When it came to developing a sense of fashion, he explains, Wichita offered three styles: grunge, goth and wigga. Congruent with his budding musical tastes, Nasty embraced the third, shaving his head, sporting baggy green jeans, silky purple shirts, two hoop earrings, A Tribe Called Quest tattoo and seven Malcolm X hats in different colors—one that said simply, “Stay Black.”
“I thought I was black for at least six or seven years,” he says. “And I’d buy these records you never really hear anymore, like The Terrorists and stuff like that ... Old Willy D records that are out of print. I was just completely immersed in it.”
But one day, he “quit being black” and went “no-style,” temporarily questioning his true identity. This, however, was confirmed by revisiting his record collection. “I just sat there and looked at the covers and I couldn’t believe that I was still feelin’ the jams.”
Inspired, Nasty “kicked down the bedroom door” of his songwriter sister and informed her they had to resurrect the bumpin’, funny, violent sound of hip-hop, the way it existed before it became commonplace and commodified. Sarah, soon to be christened Pink Nasty, reluctantly wrote music for Black Nasty’s rancid, ribald rhymes, which cover everything from bestiality to defiling a pre-eighth grade Rudy Huxtable or Anne Frank. Nasty, who has yet to recommence his “blackness,” claims the resulting AIDS Can’t Stop Me (BlackNasty.net) is “like NWA and the Carpenters,” but it’s more like a return to the late-’80s/early-’90s sound of hip-hop—sometimes hard gangsta sounds, sometimes pop-rap.
For instance, Nasty checks Ice-T’s rapid-fire gangsta delivery (remember “Reckless” from the Breakin’ soundtrack?) on “Suck My Ballz” and smoove thuggin’ R& on “There Ya Go,” but sounds like LL Cool J circa “I Need Love” on “Real Animal Lover,” DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince on “Tuna Phish.”
To date, though several labels have expressed love for Black Nasty, all balk at actually signing him. Nevertheless, Nasty neophytes are popping up around the country, from New York to Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., where an ex-girlfriend interns for a law firm. One of the firm’s esteemed clients (a man charged with attempted murder) gave Black Nasty big-ups, which his ex relayed.
“She asked what kinda music he liked and he’s just like, ‘I like 50 Cent and Eminem, Black Nasty—me and my boys, we all love him. He’s real dirty.’”
The love has even reached Salt Lake City, where Black Nasty has developed a cult following and will appear this Friday. He says he’s never really bared the boys, but ...
“I guess if there was an encore, I’d probably have to pull ’em out. Both of ’em. Eventually, ya gotta give ’em what they want.”