Years After A.Dd+’s Infamous Break Up, Rapper Slim Gravy Returns To The Scene With A New EP, A New Game Plan And A Whole Lot Of Wisdom.
Slim Gravy wants a do-over.
The Dallas rapper, best known as the frontman of the defunct hip hop duo A.Dd+, is done watching his peers doing great things from the sidelines. This year, he’s leaving behind years worth of post-breakup depression and running back to the hip hop field — one that he and his rap star peers helped create.
Since 2009, A.Dd+ was known as one of the best hip hop groups Dallas has ever seen. Those years where “boogie” music, which is what Gravy class rap songs meant to be danced to, was taking over the radio and party scenes, A.Dd+ was taking over Deep Ellum — allowing its beloved rap community to finally feel welcomed in the music neighborhood. In 2016, after a seven-year run, six records, two “Best Hip Hop Act” awards and three major tours, A.Dd+ split due to “personal and professional reasons” between him and Paris Pershun, which was well-documented on social media. The split cost them its HIGH STANDARDz record deal, which helped release its final album Nawf America.
After the fallout, Gravy took a break from music. In fact, he swore he would never make music again. For years he struggled with depression, drug and alcohol abuse and surviving in his new life in Austin, all while watching his peers continue to move up the ladder with their music. Gravy remembers feeling like he had starved his soul and neglected his purpose in life. His time was up, it seemed, but not all.
It was time to make a change.
He’s confident and humble — he’s not cocky. Despite what previous articles have said about him, he’s not an angry rapper, he’s the “illest” one out here, he says. He’s passionate about his Dallas rap scene and so deeply in love with its high potential to finally be put on the map. He was not going to let that, nor his versatile talent, lose potential.
In December, Gravy released his new EP Noodles, which marks a new chapter of his life as a solo career, and consists of five tracks written and recorded between 2014 and 2016. Noodles showcases his experimentation with new genres, but especially house music — very reminiscent of his Ghetto DSKO days and ultimately the reason behind A.Dd+’s “creative differences” dispute.
But, that doesn’t matter anymore. Now, he’s making music the way he always wanted to.
Although he wants people to remember A.Dd+’s legacy and impact, he mostly wants people to remember he’s an individual artist, his own artistry, with power, grit and a massive amount of talent and wisdom for the new generation of Dallas rappers (Coach Tev, Devy Stonez, Rillo and Rikki Blu, you already know).
It’s no secret what Gravy has accomplished during his A.Dd+ days, so give him his flowers, he says. It’s about time, or do we need to refresh your memory? Actually, Let’s do it.
In his first-ever interview as a solo artist, here is Slim Gravy – then, now and forever.
As always, I gotta ask you this question the same way I ask everyone – who the fuck are you and who the fuck do you think you are?
My name is Slim Gravy, I’m from North Dallas and I think I am a figment of everybody’s collective imagination. Whoever is in contact with me may be the only person that can really see me or really interact with me. I don’t know, I don’t think I’m real, but I am something very special. I want people to find their purpose. I think that’s my purpose on Earth. I was given the gift of lyricism through music, a gift of gab, a gift of entertainment to be able to reach people and inspire people to believe in themselves. To make people see themselves in a way that they don’t see themselves, based on how I see myself and how I treat myself.
I treat myself at the highest and the lowest. I respect my lowest sides, my darkest sides and my light sides. I’m non-judgmental. I just, I exist. I am God.
I love a good, loaded answer like that. I reached out to you because I saw you had a new EP out and, based on your social media post, it sounded like something very homecoming to you. So, let’s play catch-up! Talk to us about Noodles and why this release is so significant.
As you can tell if you listen to it, I’ve touched multiple genres and styles of hip-hop throughout the project. I’m pretty much trying to show my range as an artist being that this is my first solo project being put out there. It’s, like you said, a homecoming or an introduction or reintroduction of who I am – by myself.
Everybody knew me as being a part of the duo, right? But, I was born. By myself. I exist by myself. I am what I am. I just want to show what I can do. I called it Noodles because I was throwing noodles on the wall to see what sticks. I put it out and, for me, it was like therapy because I spent the last five years in complete depression and rejecting my passion, which is music. [A.Dd+ was] at the very top and then everything just stopped, like fell very hard. Everything was just gone. All the work we put into everything – it just didn’t matter anymore. Once the group was over, everybody was like ‘hey, you need to do music, this and that.’ I was just like, ‘Nah, I’m doing graphics, man, I can’t do it.’
I was scared, but my soul was feeling for it. I was depressed because I wasn’t feeding my soul, and I had to put this music out to feed my soul. I’ve been sitting on this music for, like, five years. All our peers have gone on and are doing great things. Bobby Sessions, Blue The Great, Blue, The Misfit. A lot of the homies are doing great things and I felt like I was watching them from the sidelines and I’m just losing. It’s like, ‘nah, bro, get out there, get in the game and play. Even if you gotta play catch-up.’ I rather play catch-up than sit and be sad watching from the sidelines. I needed to do that for myself. I didn’t put this out for any clout. I needed to put this out for my soul, so I can live again and be happy because I was not happy. Ever since I put this project out December 3, I’ve been happy ever since. I haven’t felt the sadness that I felt back then.
Is there a specific track that speaks out to you the most?
The intro track speaks out to me the most, “Scatterbrained.” That was the initial project that kind of lowkey broke A.Dd+ up or started the problem. I was working on a solo project called Scatterbrained, which was pretty much a lot of random music I was making during the time A.Dd+ was on at standstill, while we were working out our deal. It was something that I sat on for so long that I crafted the idea of the dream sequence at the beginning of the song into the track or to be drawn into the other tracks.
Just the concept itself, it stuck out to me. It means a lot to me because the core of where it comes from, the original idea before Noodles, was Scatterbrained. I just kind of downsized it into one song, which is six minutes recession comprised of three songs together in one. It’s the core of my first beginning of creating this project.
I made that connection when I saw it on the track list! As you said, Noodles is so diverse when it comes to sound. This EP has electronic, or house, music influence. You can hear it in “Scatterbrained” and “Stuck.” Also, “Fuck Shit Up” is more alternative and heavier. Were you experimenting with the production or was this something you set out to do?
I’m a chameleon. I can literally do anything and, yeah, I was experimenting. During the time when I was working on Scatterbrain, A.Dd+ was just chilling. I was trying to figure out what our next step was – our next phase. I wanted A.Dd+ to go in the direction of house music – rapping on top of house music — but Paris wasn’t with it. I was like, ‘This is what I want to do. This is my pocket, that’s what I really like doing.’
I came up with the concept GHETTODSKO. Me and Medasin, who produced “Stuck,” started working on the GHETTODSKO project, but he ended up blowing up as well. He’s another one of the peers I was talking about.
Yeah, I was just experimenting, man. With “Fuck Shit Up,” I was just playing with different sounds and just trying stuff. What really stuck with me was the house music and that’s where I feel the direction that I’m going in. The next project I’ll do will probably be the last rap project. After that, I’m going straight house. I’m doing Ghetto DSKO, live music or whatever for the rest of my life. That’s just my pocket, you know?
I found myself. I feel like we’re house music.
How did you discover your love for house music?
It came from two people. It came from Zac Witness, who used to go by DJ White Chocolate and was out DJ after DJ Sober. My new DJ, DJ Xan, was actually the one that put me on KAYTRANADA and all that stuff. I was like, ‘Yo, I could rap to this. This is in my pocket.” There hasn’t been a southern twang to that. You got Mick Jenkins, Anderson .Paak and a lot of these people that are on their way, but nobody from the south has really touched me.
I want to be somebody that has given that but is from this area and to that genre. Not even that, that style didn’t have a name for it. I felt like the name Ghetto DSKO is a proper name for that style. Everything happened with time and reason and I think once I get to that point, it’ll be a solidified, certified staple for that genre.
So, A.Dd+ was a very popular and sensational hip-hop duo here back in the day. I mean, it’s arguably one of the best that Dallas has ever seen. I remember first learning about you from my former editor Pete Freedman, because when A.Dd+ was around I wasn’t in the scene yet. As we all know, the duo eventually went through a rough breakup. Despite everything, what do you have to say about the good things came from A.Dd+’s impact?
Yeah, it was a moment. Pete pretty much put us on the line, like Central Track was our stamp of approval. They coined us the best hip hop out in Dallas has ever seen. We pretty much changed the entire scope of how hip hop music was received and how artists put themselves out. We changed a lot, man, on accident [laughs].
But, you know, everything happens for a reason. We tried to make it work, but it’s just didn’t feel the same. I could do this by myself, not just for me, but for the city. Time repeats itself and I like there’s a resurgence of that time when we first came out. It came back around again right now. I feel like I have a responsibility to take control – I’m not trying to be a narcissist or a controlling person – but I believe in purpose and I feel like I have to see that through.
We still don’t have a representation or a face for this, and I believe that I’m that, honestly. I’ve always believed that. I thought it was A.Dd+, but I had to realize it was me.
You talked about how you fell into depression following A.Dd+’s break up. How long did that last and how did you deal with it?
For five years, man. When we broke up, I was going through some personal stuff. I ended up moving to Austin and I just lived out my depression out there. I got on drugs really bad and all that. I was suppressing my sanity. I mean, imagine being at the top, like being the golden child, and the chosen one — then dropping the ball. Not even drop the ball, but it felt like it was snatched because I didn’t do anything personally.
Certain situations caused a snowball effect for us to not matter in Dallas anymore, even though our impact still exists to this day. Deep Ellum looks the way it do because of us. It’s because of Sore Losers, A.Dd+, -topic. That’s the reason why people even allow hip hop – just FYI. People don’t even know that. Hip hop wasn’t even allowed in Deep Ellum until we made it comfortable and positive to be allowed.
I’m about to super, super puppeteer and control this whole thing back again, strategically, the way it needs to be done. Somebody’s gotta do it.
You’re super passionate about the Dallas rap scene and you certainly have a reason to be. You and other groundbreaking rappers in Dallas really changed the game in the early 2010s, but how do you see the Dallas rap scene now?
We finally own! Everybody says ‘I can’t wait for Dallas to get on,” but we’re on right now. We got Tay Money, Post Malone, Bobby Sessions. Just FYI, I found Bobby Sessions – that was my little ninja turtle, him and JT. I found both of them and brought them to network and had them under my wing. I’m glad to see them doing big things, I’m glad to be a part of their story. I have to say that because I want my motherfucking flowers and my credit [laughs]. Deadass.
I’m proud of what the city is doing and where we at. Back in the day, it was a lot of community in Deep Ellum with our hip hop scene. The community definitely isn’t there anymore. It’s just a lot of people going out to the scene type of thing – there’s no more community. It’s because there’s nobody intentionally taking charge and creating that community. That’s what we did – create that community feel. I want to bring that feel back and find new artists out here, create that community feel again and create events and parties to where it’s a community out here again.
So, now that you’ve found yourself, where do you go from here?
Oh, from here we go up. All we can do is continue to elevate. I’m trying to get a record deal. That’s where I was at before. We lost our deal and I just want to reclaim what I was supposed to do and live my purpose – live my passion. Continue to make great music, innovate and push the culture of hip hop for hip hop and the city of Dallas.
We have to make our imprint in hip hop – Dallas has to make our imprint other than just the “boogie,” but on skill, talent and innovation. We got a lot of important creative out here like we come from greatness. We’re just the children of Erykah, so we gotta treat that right with respect, dignity and integrity. I take that real serious. All that wack shit – get the fuck outta here. Highlight the greats and let their platform shine.
Let’s them get recognized, who deserve to get recognized.