Cool Nutz is that dude, a good guy and a Trailblazer. (Pun intended).
He was recently awarded the Pioneer Award at the 2011 Portland Music Awards for his contribution to the city’s music scene.
“I performed at it last year. It was a good experience and I think it possibly opened up the door for me to win,” he said.
Respected and embraced by the cities hip-hop artists, he has been the voice of Portland’s scene since helping conceive it in the mid-nineties. Real name Terrance Scott, he’s released over 10 albums since his debut Dis Niggaz Nutz in 1993 (Harsh Game for the People was the follow up, released independently in 1997 after a deal with Atlantic Records went sour). Coming up alongside and working with bay area legends like Celly Cell and Mac Dre, his first albums had a very similar sound.
“I think evolution leads to more longevity in careers. You have to evolve with the times to stay relevant, and I think a lot of people don’t get that part.” He continued,” If you aren’t progressing or you’re not giving your people something different to be excited about, then they are going to look other places.”
This focus and constant motivation to remain relevant in the youth driven art has helped him achieve a 14-year career with independent hip-hop.
If you have the pleasure of speaking with him you’ll hear him talk about the benefits of building as a community and “the greater good of the culture.” Whether its brining a new artist with him on the road, working with a new producer or organizing another POH-HOP music festival, the word “community” is a big part of his brand.
For new artists, working with Cool Nutz can give them a sense of credibility and help open doors.
After witnessing Jewells Pena, aka DJ Fatboy, perform at Mississippi Pizza, Nutz reached out to him about performing at his birthday party.
“He dug my style and saw that I was young and hungry for work.” Pena said, “That man took me out of the basement and put me in front of crowds of over 5000. It’s crazy to think that three years ago I was working graveyard shift at a foundry, busting my a**, and now I’m DJ’ing for some of the biggest names in Hip Hop.”
His relationship to Cool Nutz, in combination with his work ethic and talent behind tables, played a big role in his opportunity to be E-40s DJ on the Independent Grind Tour last Fall.
“I’ve accomplished more in the past three years than most people will in a lifetime.” Pena continued,” I have been able to DJ overseas and rocked over 500 shows. There is so much I have done for my family and myself, just off of DJ’ing.”
“This is not a competition,” Nutz said. “You gotta do you. You have to get up and work hard and rep your brand. A lot of these dudes now are doing stuff that is counterproductive for hip hop. ..There’s a lot of talking behind people’s back, hating, and just full blown negative talk. Supporting the people around us and supporting the scene will only make it better for everybody.” He added, “We all have things that will come into our heads, but it’s another thing to carry out something foul. That’s what a lot of these dudes do. They’ll slander names and work their best to see someone else fail, or put the energy out there to help them fail.”
Because Hip hop is an especially ego driven culture, motivating people to move as a collective can be especially difficult.
Everyone wants to be the star. Few want to be the hype, merchandise or promo man. This attitude has in many ways taken Portland away from a time when local interest in the genre was at a higher level.
“Before you had a lot more people on the same page and understanding that it was for the greater good of the culture.” He continued, “Now you have a lot of cats just going for themselves. A lot of people don’t have an understanding of unity or what a movement is and how that can benefit everybody that’s involved… I’ve seen the results of what can happen when people work together.”