Nappy Roots rapper eager to return to work at brewery after kidnapping, shooting

Police still searching for 2 suspects after attack at Atlantucky

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Two weeks after being forced into his car at gunpoint and shot during an attempted robbery, musician and Atlanta brewery owner Fish Scales is ready to get back to work.

Speaking with reporters Thursday at the Atlantucky Brewery in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood, the Nappy Roots rapper said he’s thankful to be alive.

The 45-year-old, whose real name is Melvin Adams, was ambushed Aug. 17 as he left his brewery off Northside Drive and was forced into his Mercedes-Benz. He drove one of the assailants toward his home in Hapeville while the other followed behind in a separate car, but he was shot in the left leg during a struggle when he jumped out and escaped.

Sporting a slight limp and a big smile, Scales stood alongside fellow band member and brewery co-owner Skinny DeVille, thanking their friends and fans for the recent outpouring of support.

“I’m doing great,” said Scales, who joined the group in Franklin, Kentucky, for a concert last weekend, not far from where they formed Nappy Roots in the mid-1990s as students at Western Kentucky University.

The duo called the kidnapping and shooting an isolated incident, and said they hope to put the ordeal behind them. Scales had just finished cleaning up after an event that night and was headed toward his car when he was approached in the parking deck.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Forced to drive at gunpoint, Scales said he didn’t want to take his kidnappers home to his family. So he seized on the opportunity to escape as soon as he got a chance.

“My first thought was safety, you know, making it home alive,” Scales said. “That’s all that was going through my head ... I made the decision that I got to get out of this car.”

After the shooting, Scales managed to run to a neighbor’s house in Hapeville for help, officials said. He acknowledged how fortunate he is to have suffered only a leg wound.

While gun violence is a growing concern across metro Atlanta, Scales said he doesn’t think any less of the neighborhood where he and DeVille opened their business.

“We have something special here and I won’t let two guys stop that,” said Scales, whose band was the top selling hip-hop group of 2002.

Atlantucky, the state’s second Black-owned brewery, opened its doors in February near Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The event space and taproom has 11 beers on draft and Scales is the company’s head brewer.

“This is a great neighborhood,” he said. “That’s the main thing. We want to get this behind us so we can get back to working on all the good stuff we were doing here in Castleberry Hill.”

DeVille, whose legal name is William Hughes, said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens reached out to him the day after the shooting to check on Scales and assure them investigators were doing all they could to catch the men responsible.

No arrests have been made, Atlanta police said, but the robbery and shooting remain under investigation by both Atlanta and Hapeville police.

Though his doctor instructed him to take it easy after the shooting, Scales said he couldn’t resist the chance to join the band in Kentucky on Saturday. He arrived at the venue on crutches but said he was up on his feet by the time the group performed their hit song “Awnaw” in front of the crowd of more than 3,000.

“Taking a road trip with Nappy Roots to the show this past weekend was very spiritual for me,” he said. “It’s good to be around my guys and my team.”

While he wants the men who hurt him arrested, Scales said he doesn’t have any sort of vendetta against them.

“It’s life, man. A lot of bad things happen to good people,” said Scales, who hopes to get back to work full time as soon as next week. “I just want to turn this into something positive.”

DeVille said while they have security at the brewery and don’t accept cash, they’ll be more mindful of their surroundings when closing up at night.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

“If something happened to our staff, I would be devastated,” he said. “There’s no reason to come here looking for anything other than a good time and a couple of beers.”