With a New EP On The Horizon, We Catch Up And Take The Pulse of Dallas Hip-Hop With A.Dd+.
The release of DiveHiFlyLo left little doubt: In the world of Dallas hip-hop, 2013 was A.Dd+'s year.
Funny: 2012 and 2011 were Slim Gravy and Paris Pershun's years, too.
Suddenly, the realm once so dominated by this North Dallas duo is crowded. Well, for now.
In August, with the release of a new EP called NAWF, A.Dd+ sets to once again stake its claim on the throne that sits atop this crowded heap. And, turns out, that impending five-song collection is just one of the planned attacks the group has in its quest to puts its own music back on the map — both locally and, perhaps more notable, nationally.
To find out what the group has in store — and in advance of the pair performing as part of a free show at the House of Blues on Wednesday night — we recently caught up with Slim and Paris to talk about the new EP, its thoughts on the Dallas hip-hop scene of the moment and what it will take to get national eyes on the deserving Dallas market.
OK, first off, let's talk about the new EP. What can you tell me about it?
Slim: It's kind of like a reintroduction in a way.
Paris: With these songs, we're just trying to paint a picture of where we're at from our point of view.
Which is what?
Paris: It kind of just describes what makes us. It’s an EP, and we're trying to show what made us and why we are the way we are. The struggle. The come-up. All that shit.
Slim: And how North Dallas molded all of that. It molded us.
OK, then let's talk about the song “NAWF,” which you guys were kind enough to let me preview and which is also the name of the EP. Is it fair to compare it to “Southside Da Realist,” maybe? Because I got the vibe that it was kind of like a Northside response track to that Dallas classic.
Slim: I dunno. That wasn't really what we were going for.
Paris: It's definitely an anthem like that, but it's not a direct response to “Southside da Realist” or anything. It's not like we made a song to compete with that song. It was just the mode that we were in when we made that song. We heard that beat, and that's what we came with.
Slim: Plus, Paris is from North Memphis originally, and we've got a reference to Three Six Mafia in the hook. So there's that part of it, too. And a lot of it's from his side of things.
Paris: It was more just shouting out the Northside is all.
Well, speaking of places: I know you guys have been thinking about your place in Dallas hip-hop lately.
Slim: Oh yeah. We're not trying to talk about other people or anything like that, but we know we're the total package. So we're trying to transition from just a local group.
Paris: Yeah, like, I'm focused on our thing. As far as comparisons and all that, that's cool. But I'm more worried about progress. I want the next step we take to be big. I want it to help continue to build the foundation that we already have and help feed that motherfucker.
So how do you go about doing that?
Paris: It's all sort of things. And planning. With this shit, the new shit, we just want people to hear it. We've already headlined all sorts of shows and shit like that. But we just really wanna create a frenzy, both with the new music and all the videos we have planned around it. The hardest part of all this shit is trying to capture motherfuckers' attention long enough to realize that this is some quality shit. Even though there's people that know about us, sometimes I feel like it's like we're still getting overlooked. There's so much shit around and so much stuff that comes out – and it's quality. Well, some of it is bullshit, but some of it is quality. But all that shit, with it all getting known, it's the quality stuff that stands out best. A lot of that is strategy and planning and personnel and shit — it goes hand in hand.
Given all that, what can people expect?
Slim: We got a couple shows coming up. And we've gotta tour something, y'know?
Paris: We've got that tour coming up, the Soundview Microphone City tour.
Slim: Yeah, that's us, Blue, Sam Lao. That kicks off on August 22. First there's the show on Wednesday, too.
So y'all are getting out of the city?
Slim: Oh yeah. I don't know all the dates and all that. There's some in September. But we're getting outside of Dallas.
Paris: I feel like that's the number one thing for us. We really need that. If our touring steps up, our music gets in new ears. We've toured before and all that, but I feel like to really get people to grasp what we're trying to do, we need to hit them over the head with it. That's what we're working on right now.
Slim: We gotta reintroduce ourselves, too. Because we're not the same people. We're not the same artists and we don't have the same music from the last time we toured two years ago.
And I know you guys want that — that recognition outside of Dallas.
Slim: Definitely. But we're not sitting here trying to force anything. We're not moving out to L.A. to try and force ourselves as artists. They know. We're just gonna keep doing our thing and it's going to happen.
Well, what about the home front? It definitely seems like there's a lot going on these days, a lot of new faces on the come-up. How do you feel about the city's hip-hop scene at the moment?
Paris: Shit's going. I can't complain. Everybody's doing their thing. It's always going to be competitive, but, as far as that goes, I'm into it. I dig a lot of the young fuckers that's coming up. And everybody's in their own lane and doing their own thing. There's nothing I can be mad at.
Slim: I'd say the same thing. It's pretty good right now. Shit's come a long way from where it was.
Paris: That's the thing. Things are better than they were.
What are your thoughts on these young guys calling themselves New Dallas and trying to bring something new to the table?
Paris: Well, if it’s new to them, then I guess it's new. But there's always people coming up with stuff that they think is new or stuff that's new to them. It's about history is what I'm saying. If you weren't in the know, you're not gonna know your history.
Slim, I ran into you the other night and you made it seem like there were people who are from Dallas don't necessarily put on for Dallas. You feel like that's a problem?
Slim: It's not that they're not putting on like they should. But, like, the legends out here, they don't act like they’re legends. They're just out here. Like Tum Tum and all them? They're legends. But they don't really do anything about. It's like, “Be a legend!” Legends do stuff. Or like Erykah Badu, y'know? You gotta do something with it.
Paris: I think it's a totally different world, though. Like, I don't care about if a motherfucker came before and is trying to put on for the city. If they didn't quote-unquote put on for the city, then that's our job.
Do you feel like that’s a responsibility of yours?
Paris: Hell yeah. I mean, that's what we’re trying to do. But that shit don't bother me if another motherfucker don't do it. We will.
Slim: But we put ourselves in that position. We fuck with people like that. And we paint the picture properly so that we can put it out there for Dallas to work. We want everybody to get accepted. We want our music to be accepted by everybody.
It seems like things are more unified these days. Are we in a better position now?
Slim: I think so. Like Houston, for example. Those people aren't all best friends or whatever. But you see them all together. You see them in the same places. They ain't gotta be friends but they hang with each other.
Paris: There's always going to be different sounds, though. If everybody starts making the same shit, it's gonna get mundane. It's important to have a diverse sound. But it's not even just the sound. It's the mothefuckers that do it. It's the way the shows are put together. I'm trying to get it together where it's not a long-winded-ass answer, but the sound is not the problem. That's never been the case. I don't know any cities where everybody is working together or everybody sounds the same. It's always cool to have diversity. It's just about how people do things business-wise. And the business side, that's somewhere where Dallas is hurt the most.
Slim: Oh yeah. Check it: We ain't got no business out here with music. No business, no labels. We got media and stuff — cool. But we ain't got no labels down here. We ain't got no majors. We ain't brought nothing down yet to really make shit happen. That could make a lot of stuff happen out here. But it's a process. We gotta show people: You wanna come out and hang in Dallas and make some money? Yeah, come out here. Like, for real.
Paris: That ain't just up to us, though.
Well, specifically for you all, then: What's next?
Slim: The EP. The tour. We'll give it a push.
Paris: We'll do that tour. And we may be dropping an album after the EP, even before the year is out.
Slim: We just really wanna see what we can bring to the table. This stuff's different. It's not When Pigs Fly.
Paris: It's new. It's a different side of us. It's a little bit more mature. It's us. But, like, as far musically, lyrically, beat structure-wise… it's still live, but we worked with different people — a lot of people out of Atlanta — and it's a different side of us. It's different than what people are used to hearing. Dallas will be into this one.
Slim: They'll be with it.
A.Dd+ performs a free show with Mga Czar, Boonie Love and more on Wednesday, July 23, at the House of Blues. More information here.