Dallas 'Nawfsiders' Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy, known together as A.Dd+ (pronounced 'ay-dee-dee'), have had the local hip-hop scene on lock for years now. Today, North Texas' favorite hip-hop duo will drop their first release since DiveHiFlyLo, a five-song EP titled Nawf.
The project started coming together back in April, when the duo travelled to Atlanta to record the EP, as well as some additional songs that A.Dd+ will likely include on their upcoming album (which has no title as of now, let alone a release date). While it might have been recorded away from home, the project is all about the Nawf.
See also: Watch A.Dd+'s Stunning New Visuals for "Can't Come Down" A.Dd+'s DiveHiFlyLo is Out Today, After a 10-Month Delay and Five New Tracks A.Dd+ Performed at the Dallas Museum of Art, and It Was Glorious: Video If you're unfamiliar with the 'Nutty Nawf Dallas', it might be more geographically accurate it to call it Northeast Dallas, the area that includes Lake Highlands. Or, as Gravy has explained on Twitter, "If you stay anywhere past [Interstates] 75 and 635 then you stay in NORTH Dallas" and "If it [sic] ain't in between Walnut Hill and Walnut St. then it is not the #NAWF... It's just plain ol' North Dallas." While throughout their career they've paid homage to where they're from (for example, the "Where You Been?" video was shot in Nawf Dallas), they wanted to do more for their hood with this EP. According to Gravy, "We really just wanted to paint the picture where we come from, because this is kind of like us reintroducing ourselves to the industry, and first we want to let 'em know where we come from, before we get all creative on 'em." Even the cover art reflects their home base, with the duo posted up in front of Nawfside's favorite soul food, Big Mama's Chicken and Waffles on the corner of Forest and Audelia right in the heart of the Nawf. "We want to try to make where we come from a landmark, you know, like how Compton is a landmark for California when you think of L.A. rap," Gravy explained. So are they aiming for the title track to become the Nawf's "anthem," in the same way Nino's "Oak Cliff" did it for Oak Cliff and Highland Hills, or in the way Big Tuck declared the "Southside Da Realist?" "Not necessarily 'the anthem.' More like the soundtrack, you know what I'm saying?" Pershun clarifies. "It's a collection of songs, so it's more like the soundtrack." The songs do form a sort of soundtrack, an audio picture of the duo's experiences in their hometown. Pershun says he tried to "pretty much paint the picture of everything I see in my life." The group has already recorded a music video for the Anthem-produced and especially catchy "Innisho," which is supposed to drop this week. "O.T.P." (which stands for "Out of Town Pussy"), one of the three songs produced by WLPWR (pronounced Will Power), includes the EP's only feature, Scar, who has previously collaborated with Outkast.
Compared to the smoother, more laid back DiveHiFlyLo, Nawf has a harder-hitting new feel; they haven't forsaken the style that Dallas has come to love, but they've innovated enough to keep the scene progressing. Yet Gravy insists that the stylistic changes weren't a conscious decision. "It really came with the growth," he explains. "DiveHiFlyLo was a super transition point and growth period for us." Pershun agrees: "When we go into the studio, we don't say like, 'Oh, we need to make this kind of song or that type of song. Oh we did this on the last project, so let's do this on this project.'" He pauses thoughtfully before adding, "It's kind of like magic, to be honest. We get in there and we'll all be just talking what we're looking for it and it just happens. And then we just add the icing to that motherfucker."
A.Dd+ also dives into more personal territory than before on Nawf. "I want us to be seen in the light where we can talk about personal stuff, we can talk about stuff that actually sparks people's interests other than like bangers or party shit," Pershun says. The Selasi-produced "Put You On This Game" makes this approach evident, as it's especially personal. He talks about how his 22-year-old brother has been locked up since he was 15, rapping, "Now he's up the stream, ain't got no vote/He in the struggle, ain't got no hope." As Pershun puts it, "I want to be able to represent for the people who can't represent for themselves." Describing the project as a whole, Gravy says, "It's refreshing and brings back a feeling of southern music that ain't been brought back in a while." He recognizes that, in some ways, the MCs are "like the spawns of UGK and Outkast," but Pershun makes it clear: "The Outkast comparisons are cool, but we're Dallas' A.Dd+. We're A.Dd+." While showing respect to Dallas' hip-hop history, A.Dd+ understands that they have a huge role in the scene today: "It feels good, but it comes with a lot of responsibility," Pershun says.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.