The Cowboys. The Grassy Knoll. J.R. Ewing. The Stanky Leg? Dallas, Texas is known for a wide-array of things. Progressive, forward-thinking hip-hop has typically not been one of them. That has all changed thanks to A.Dd+ (pronounced aye-dee-dee). The fun-loving yet streetwise duo of Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy, moves easily between slang infused anthems (“Innisho”), light-hearted stories about drug addiction (“Can’t Come Down”), and weighty raps about Black male incarceration (“Put You On This Game”). Their 2011 LP When Pigs Fly' and 2013 project DiveHiFlyLo have earned them praise from national media outlets including XXL and Pitchfork, which described the duo as “the rapper and the poet, the spawn of UGK and OutKast, combining street and cerebral.” It is no wonder why their upcoming LP Nawf America has fans buzzing in anticipation.
The A.Dd+ story began back in 2000 when a 13 year old, Memphis-born Paris (Arrias Walls) moved to North Dallas into the same apartment complex as Slim (Dionte Rembert). The neighbors bonded over a love for writing raps and soon formed a strong friendship. After rhyming together throughout high school, the pair made their partnership official in 2007, dubbing themselves A.Dd+, a play on their first names, as well as attention deficit disorder, the most ubiquitous of youth behavioral problems. “A.Dd+ is whatever you want it to be,” explains Slim, who is also known as “D.D.” to those closest to him. “It has many meanings like A Dynamic Duo, Analog and Digital, Always Doing Dirt. The plus sign in our name symbolizes us being beyond what others are on, always adding to the craft, never subtracting. It’s all about imagination and creativity.”
In 2009, Paris and Slim dropped their debut mixtape, 'Power of the Tongue'. The release earned them local acclaim and a “Best Rap Act” nomination from the Dallas Observer. Their next release, a debut LP, titled When Pigs Fly, took listeners on a ride through the streets of Dallas and a journey through Paris and Slim’s own offbeat imaginations. Upon its release in March of 2011, the Dallas Observer boldly proclaimed it as possibly “the best hip-hop album Dallas has ever released.” The project earned the crew three nods from the Dallas Observer Music Awards, including nominations for “Best Album” and “Best Rap Act,.” Renowned hip-hop journalist Jefferson Mao also featured the LP in his XXL “Chairman’s Choice” column, while Pitchfork Media included it in its list of Underrated Rap Releases of 2011.
“It’s overwhelming at times to be held in such high regard,” Paris says of the response to When Pigs Fly. “We approached the project as more of a mixtape with original production, and it really took on a life of its own once it hit the public. Having it described as possibly the best rap album ever released in a city that has so much talent, is a great honor.”
On the road, A.Dd+ has delivered “blazing opening sets” for sold-out audiences with Wu-Tang Clan, Erykah Badu, Big K.R.I.T. and a west coast run with Talib Kweli. The duo toured across Texas on Red Bull’s Skooled Tour with Bun B, Mannie Fresh and Paul Wall which ultimately led to them embarking on their first North American tour with Black Milk (with whom they collaborated on their popular track “Insomniac Dreaming”). A.Dd+ has also become festival-favorites as they have played multiple shows at every South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin since 2011. In addition, they performed at the sold-out Gorilla vs Bear II Festival in Dallas, TX, appeared yearly at A3C in Atlanta, played FunFunFun Fest in Austin, TX as well as Live Nation's Suburbia Fest, Homegrown Festival, JMBLYA Fest and countless other festival stages.
Perhaps most encouragingly, A.Dd+’s success has come by pushing forward a sound that is thoroughly representative of Dallas, while at the same time completely different from anything that has previously been heard from the city.
A.Dd+'s most recent release, the 'NAWF' EP, is an ode to their part of the city and finds Paris and Slim at their most personal moments on record thus far as they describe the life they saw and experienced growing up in North Dallas. Working heavily with acclaimed producer WLPWR (YelaWolf, Eminem, Wiz Khalifa), NAWF is being called the best work of the duo's career, not only by Slim and Paris, but most importantly by their loyal fans who have actively downloaded the project on iTunes thus far. While many will try to characterize or put artists in a box, it is this hardcore fan base that truly understand A.Dd+ and allow them to make the music they want to make.
“We are not ‘backpack rappers’; we are not hipsters,” Paris says, of misconceptions about the group. “Some folks take our sense of expression the wrong way ’cause we dress a certain way, or ‘cause our artwork and videos have a certain aesthetic, or ‘cause we express our thoughts over all types of canvases. Once people give our music a full listen or see us perform, that perception usually changes. We don’t make ‘fad’ music. We make music from the soul, and we kill shit.”
A.Dd+ is prepping their new album NAWF America for release in early 2016 on the HIGHSTANDARDz record label. Their newest music expands upon the themes of the NAWF EP but on a grander scale with captivating soundscapes produced by Medasin, WLPWR, Blue The Misfit and more. A.Dd+ has crafted the biggest records of their career and with their new label behind them, the A.Dd+ movement will prove to be stronger than ever in 2016 and beyond.