Her Take: Speaking with North Carolina Hip-Hop Blogger Nancia Odom
It’s been a year since this hip-hop column debuted. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my experience documenting hip-hop in the Triangle region, but I’m not the first to do so. In the mid-2000s, when the future of print magazines and newspapers became uncertain, blogging began to flourish. When Google acquired and redesigned blogger.com, one of the first dedicated publishing tools, the pre-built, easy-to-navigate template format made it possible for anyone to write about anything and share those ideas with an audience. .
Highpoint native Nancia Odom, a registered nurse who now leads clinical software support teams, started Nancioishiphop.com in 2008. The blog made her one of the first people to document hip-hop in Carolina North, and the site is still active.
Over the years, Odom has covered music in both Carolinas, often interviewing artists she admired from neighboring southern regions. Some of his most notable accomplishments include interviewing 9th Wonder, J. Cole, King Mez, and SkyBlew. It’s important that I – that we – give her flowers to Nancia and recognize her work as an integral part of the North Carolina hip-hop ecosystem. Recently, I sat down to talk to him about mid-2000s hip-hop in the Carolinas and the sequel to the blog.
INDY week: When did you first fall in love with hip-hop?
ODOM: I found my first paid job at the age of nine playing the piano for my church. I played three instruments growing up: the piano, the French horn and the French horn. When I was getting paid I would go to the record store and buy some music that I had seen on Yo MTV Raps and Rap City. It was while watching Rap City that I fell in love with hip-hop.
What prompted you to start blogging?
In the height of the blogging age, I was following bigger blogs like 2DopeBoyz, and I was also following a lot of regional hip-hop blogs. There was a blog in Texas that I was following, one based in Miami that covered a lot of Florida hip-hop. I was following one from Philly and Detroit. And then it came to my mind and I was like, ‘Who’s picking up Caroline’s hip-hop?’
I don’t think there is ever really an original idea. So there was probably someone who already covered Carolina hip-hop, I didn’t know that. I already went to all the shows in the area. So I decided to start blogging about the shows I go to and the artists and people I meet. And that’s how I started. I started on Blogspot like a lot of people. Eventually I got intentional about my branding, created a Twitter account, and bought a domain from Godaddy.com.
Can you tell us a bit about your blog format and your approach to interviewing?
I spent a lot of time blogging, you know, not only was I going to concerts in North Carolina and South Carolina, but I was also going to Atlanta for festivals. I even went to shows in Richmond and different places in Virginia, pretty much anywhere I could drive.
I did some video interviews when artists came to town. I remember doing a video interview with Big Sean shortly after signing with Kanye. I also interviewed a lot of artists from 9th Wonder. He supported me a lot in what I was doing.
[The] the majority of the interviews I have done have been conducted primarily over the phone or over the radio. I ran my own show on UNC University Radio Station, so I did a lot of my interviews on the air. If I saw an artist in person at a show, because I was carrying equipment with me, I had an audio recorder that I took with me, I would say, “Can I talk to you for a few minutes?” And would register it right in the moment. I approached people a lot and just told them who I was and what I had done. If they didn’t have time to interview, I would ask them if we could meet later.
How did you finance your trip down south to see hip-hop shows?
I started selling t-shirts as a way to get money to help fund driving places. There was a store in Greensboro that sold my shirts. So that was another way to make money. And then, if people in the community organized music related events, I would ask them to have a table or they would offer me a table to sell my shirts. It was also another way for me to meet people.
Can you share your favorite memory while you blog?
From 2009 to 2012, I had a weekly podcast with Atlanta-based Randy Roper. We were podcasting before podcasting was a thing. Our podcast was called “Where’s the Hip-Hop” and we recorded 96 episodes. Randy was the music publisher of Ozone Magazine, and together we became known as the âSiskel & Ebert of hip-hopâ. Every week we were discussing everything that was going on in the culture.
I was able to share with him upcoming artists from Carolina during this time and he shared with me what was going on in the music industry. Some of our latest episodes are still available on YouTube. At the same time, I also had a hip-hop and tech podcast with Shadeed Eleazer who is based in the DMV area. We’ve covered everything tech and hip-hop.
What does Nancioishiphop.com have in store?
I really want to come back to it but not in the same way, because what the “blog” is today is not what it was then. For now, I plan to keep the website active as a Carolina hip-hop archive from 2008 to 2017.
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