By: Rhodesia Muhammad
New Orleans own Nesby Phips releases his latest album titled “Black Man 4 Sale”. This album, written by Nesby and produced by DJ FU is the perfect combination of signature sounds and lyrics that opens with a fusion of old and new music with minstrel show style tunes mixed with New Orleans bounce cadences. The 12-track album is a full body of work that takes you on a journey in each chapter of the residual effects of race and commodification. The album is as long as an episode of “Martin”, but will leave your taste buds completely satisfied.
“The entire western world was built off the sale of Black people…literally and figuratively,” Nesby noted, giving insight on the content of the album. “If we weren’t selling our bodies, we were selling something from our culture or a product that is native to us, whether it be soul music or rap music, rock-N-roll or the cotton gin, the red light or the cell phone, we are the greatest asset and the most profitable of the western world. None of this would be…if we weren’t turned into commerce.”
Nesby, who is a barber by trade, evolved into an artist, a performer, and music producer, from tinkering with sound as a young man growing up in Hollygrove. His music career began from utilizing whatever equipment he had in front of him starting with dual cassette tapes.
“I never had an intention with the direction of the music I was making. I just always took a poetic approach,” he explained. In his early years, he said, he spent time in his great uncle’s bar room and the characters that were always around were colorful when it came to the language and he always found it attractive.
“I love words that taste good when I say them and that’s kind of the root of my rhyme scheme because a lot of the time the cadence is just as important as the content.”
Much of Nesby’s life, he has been exposed to a wide array of images of Black people, both positive and negative, that served as inspiration for two visual songs from the album titled, “Showtunes” and “Bang Bang”. This enabled him to hone in on his cinematography skills.
“Every song is related to how we were profited off and the outcome of Black people being sold as product. We were entertainment. All the advertisement for their products back in the day was centered around us, even though they were shaming us in the advertisement, they still felt the need to have us as a part of the marketing. We are an appeal and we are a draw. Everything that’s worth something in this world comes from us,” he proclaimed. He also added that today, MC Hammer is doing gorilla glue commercials.
“My purpose for ‘Black Man 4 Sale’ is to offer perspective. I want anyone who hasn’t considered some of the things I presented to be in their realm of possibility. I try to make everything I create as unique and original as I can, so it can stand alone. That’s the reason I picked that specific title for my album. And my name is not ‘Lil Ra Ra’ or nothing like that. Nesby Phips is an inconspicuous name and you can’t tell whether I’m an 18th century writer, or the vice president of Chase Bank, or a children’s author. I was able to give my name a meaning.”
The father of two is adamant about breaking what he calls his family’s generational curse. He comes from a long line of heavy drinkers, drug users, and womanizing men, but admits that all his talents are inherited from his great grandfather on down. He’s mostly passionate about changing the path of his family, especially from a wealth standpoint.
“By growing that wealth on things that are unique to me like my catalog of music, my art work, and so forth, there isn’t a cap on what I can make. But there is a cap on how much I can make as a tech at AT&T or working at UPS.” Even though there’s nothing wrong with that, he noted, he just wants his family’s wealth to grow beyond limitations.
As far as Nesby’s music, there are many personal favorites, but the top tracks from the album resonating with people are: Tis of Thee, Son/War, Get the F***k, and His-Story. Be sure to expand your palate and check out “Black Man 4 Sale”. It can be found on his website: www.Blackman4sale.com, iTunes, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram @NesbyPhips, Facebook….
“This project belongs to the world now. My job is just to keep pushing it and talking to people who want to know more about it.” -Nesby Phips