On Sunday night I found myself huddled in a group around a computer monitor at Jesse Porter's two story walk up apartment on the East side. It was around 10:30 p.m. and the Cool Beings founder was hosting a small recovery get-together of sorts. To my left was Cash'mir of Brain Gang and Slim Gravy of A.Dd+. To my right was the latter's new manager, Vince Chapa. Among some of their close friends and supporters, we looked through pictures from the big Saturday night we were all still trying to process. Taken by Jonathan Stafford, the images were some of the first I'd seen from the DiveHiFlyLo release show at The Granada Theater. The shots of hometown heroes A.Dd+'s set still didn't make things seem any less surreal.
"You look tired ..." said Cash'mir to his friend and #FuhYawMean collaborator, Slim. He was referring to the photos, but it was obvious that Slim was visibly exhausted from the previous night. He was quiet with his shoulders slumped low, and as he nodded in response to Cash'mir, I started to wonder if he had slept at all in the last 24 hours.
As the slideshow panned to crowd shots, we stood in awe of the 776 attendees that filled the historic venue, with a sea of proud faces screaming and cheering for the Nawfside duo. Moments later, someone rushed through the door to announce that K104 was spinning A.Dd+ records on air as we speak. The room was heavy with a palpable combination of post-adrenal exhaustion, disbelief and pride -- it was all happening.
Every music critic in town has been pressing the same common point ad nauseam lately: These are truly exponential times for Dallas rap. We've been told, "big things are coming" for months now, and now we've been shown. This city came together for three major events in the hip-hop community this past weekend: The Dallas All-Stars Charity Basketball Tournament benefitting All Women Marching for Hope, Dustin Cavazos' cookout/listening party in Oak Cliff and the pièce de résistance: DiveHiFlyLo. The tangible sense of excitement was contagious. "It's like graduation weekend," said Chapa.
I took a seat on the nearest couch and began to recap the events of Saturday night. Fans gathering around the merch booth elated to finally get their hands on the most anticipated album to come out of Dallas in years, Picnictyme and DJ Sober building up the room's energy like only they can, -topic's soulful and progressive lyrics booming over the sound system, Tunk's effortless delivery and unmatched momentum, Brain Gang's open-palm salute to an enraptured crowd -- my mind raced with flashes of a moment in time that could never be recreated.
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As I sat and tried to write a few questions to ask Slim before I left, I thought back to A.Dd+'s captivating performance. In the longest set they've ever done, the Dallas duo took us on a journey spanning their work over the past five years. During the rarely performed "Erica & Jamie," A.Dd+'s other half Paris Pershun brought out Mz. Fortune (the incredibly underrated vocalist who contributed heavily to the group's sophomore mixtape When Pigs Fly), to croon seductively as he drank straight from his bottle of VSOP. After a surprise drop-down screening of the group's new video for "Can't You See." Paris and Slim returned to the stage with a twerk team at least six deep, who proceeded put on quite a show of their own as the duo performed some newer material.
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A particular standout for this reviewer (on both the album itself and live on stage) was the Picnictyme-produced "Showtime." A dense and hard-hitting piano-driven beat laces the track with a sense of urgency that only increases with Slim and Paris' powerful yet vulnerable lyrics, illustrating the intense heat of the limelight in the minutes before and after performing. Another big highlight would come when the crowd went wild for local legend Tum Tum, who took the stage to perform the classic cut "Caprice Music". It was a touching and effectual display of an OG passing the torch on to the new school.
Reflecting on all of this, I could only think of one question to ask: "Now what?" Everything seemed to feel different, and still does today. The bar has been raised and the possibilities seem limitless, not only for A.Dd+, but for Dallas rap altogether. I wondered what could possibly be next, and from what mindset Paris and Slim would be attacking 2013 after all of this.
I nudged their manager, and told him I was ready. When we made our way to the back corner of Porter's loft apartment to talk to Slim, we found the young rapper had finally dozed off in the lap of a beautiful woman. I stopped Chapa, and insisted that we let his artist sleep, because if last Saturday's high octane performance showed us anything, it's that whatever's next for Paris and Slim, every ounce of their energy is going into it.