[Exclusive] One Throne Interviews Add-2 (Part Two)

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Add-2’s life is like the name of his current release w/ Jamla producer Khrysis Between Heaven and Hell. Life is pure heavenly bliss for Chicago’s hip-hop artist as he recently signed to 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records. However, Add-2 may catch hell. Is it perhaps the pressure that comes with maintaining his artistic integrity as a genuine artist? Does fear cripple him from becoming his potentially best or does his boisterous being get him into trouble? Find out as One Throne catches up with the emcee himself.

Check out part one of the interview here.

(Written by Hector De La Rosa)

Where did the stage name Add-2 derive from?

I had a bunch of wack stage names {laughs while shakes his head in disbelief}. The stage name derived from my father giving me the initials of my birthright name. I am known as A.D.D. and I am the second born in the family. I recall putting out two CDs. The first CD was titled A.D.D. and the second CD was titled A.D.D. 2. It made sense when my father would tell us as siblings that whatever we had available to us in terms of resources to add to it without taking anything away. He wanted for us to build from that without destroying. This resulted in the name Add-2.

Add-2’s thoughts on today’s hip-hop artist such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, to ASAP Rocky

I like some of today’s emcees. I consider J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar great emcees paying homage to hip-hop’s school of hard knocks while carving their niche in the genre. What amazes me is the majority of new school emcees are not familiar with the greats like Grandmaster Flash or Eric B. & Rakim. They are not acquainted with the Golden Era. Artists like ASAP Rocky prove the opposite. I like the delivery and lyrical dexterity Joey Badass delivers. They inspire me as a songwriter to sharpen my creativity and take it to unknown heights. I’m fortunate to witness the artistry of these emcees because it keeps everything in hip-hop competitive. I despise hip-hop artists delivering half ass music only to make a profit. It cheapens what an authentic artist does in preserving the genre. Soon, those not made to be the next emcee to blow would want to pick up a mic. The skill level begins to lack.

Why the preference of being an independent, quality, and authentic artist versus being a commercial and mainstream brand?

For me, it is just sitting back and seeing what I am comfortable with. Some artists become a commercial entity and are cool with it. It is nothing wrong with being mainstream as long as you as an artist are speaking truth. I do not like dealing with what I term as ‘the machine.’ I do not like executives and other professionals dictating to me the kind of records I need to craft to obtain airplay. I do not care too much about airplay or the number of hits and likes. Record labels crunch and desire numerical data. What matters is the masses playing and tuning into my records. What is important to me is the impact my music has on the people.

How Add-2 is unique from other artists and what does Add-2 bring to the Jamla Records roster?

I am the only artist from Chicago signed to Jamla. I bring my experiences to the table. There is a certain level of storytelling and artistry that I bring that differentiates me from others. What I bring to the Jamla Records is ‘I’ as a brand. My goal is to deliver the best product that I can. I am a unique emcee where sometimes my vociferous being gets me into trouble. I say things others are afraid to voice. I put my life on the line and live and die by what I feel and believe. I would express whatever GOD places in my heart.

What initially made Add-2 signed to Jamla Records?

I signed to the prominent record label because 9th Wonder gave me confidence and believed in my artistry. He believes in me as a person and the musical platform that I stand on. What I admire about 9th Wonder as a one man army with a family and a career of his own, he still manages to give his attention to all the artists on the roster. They are never overlooked. He is a wealth of knowledge to where we all can learn from him. I view him as a teacher. I met people within the industry where they like you for the time being. The relationship with them sours after they do not have anything to take from you. With 9th Wonder, he would always reach out to me even when I did not have anything. Jamla Records would retweet my music on Twitter and always show me love. I learn to roll with the people that see you invisible versus people that see you when you making noise.

Does Add-2 feel pressure in living up to the hype after signing to Jamla Records?

Of course there is pressure. Though, that pressure does not equal the pressure I put on myself. I am my worst critic because I know I am capable of great things. I am not shy from that because I feel everybody should look themselves in the mirror and see their potential. I know that I will get to where I need to be but on GOD’s time. I want to make sure once I get there, I stay there. I should have been signed to a record deal. Although, it was about taking precise baby steps and making sure the deal I sign is right for my situation. I am working diligently and twice as harder than when I was a free agent.

How can Add-2 bring about change and balance to a bleak industry?

I represent something uniquely different. I do not follow up on all the things other emcees do. I view myself as a blue collar emcee. I am not bragging about living lavishly or boasting that I am one of the best lyrically. I am giving others a voice that does not have one in hip-hop. I speak on what happens daily in the world and how it affects everyday people. I speak on real life issues that go on in urban dwellings. I am the voice of reason.

Describe the Anti-Bullshit Coalition campaign and where did the concept derived from?

Anything associated with bullshit is something I refuse to be a part of. If anyone in hip-hop promotes destructive messages and lies is something I want no part of. I do not partake on negativity. I am not a follower. I chose to do right and be a leader. I highly voice my opinion on anything involving religion and hip-hop that promotes false teaching. Fake activism and hidden political agendas is something I consider bullshit. I do not like any form of manipulation on the people.

What are some things emcees should not say or do?

If things are done the right way and articulated in the right context you can pretty much say anything. I caught criticism when I crafted the track entitled “Death of Chicago.” People told me I should not say such notion but I felt it had to be said. There are true moments in the city that take place such as the ignorance and excessive violence that must be exposed. I expressed on the record that I hope that part of Chicago dies. I feel artists have the right to share their viewpoints that can help change and shape perspectives or fuel the passion in making a difference in society.

What does Add-2 think it would take for Chicago to be fully recognized for its talent?

I feel as a city we are all on our way to greatness. We are making a good impact with Chance the Rapper to King Louie. Chicago artists have been putting out many different styles of music and the industry is taking notice. However, it is going to take a big push. We have our legends ranging from Common, Lupe Fiasco, to Kanye West, but we must unite as a collective to bring about further advancement and exposure to our city. We as the artistic community do not have to make records with each other. Though, we must constantly prove our worth pushing our artistry past limitations and boundaries working twice as hard. Once we get the shine and exposure we must not let that opportunity slip from us.

What does Add-2 fear?

I fear not living up to my potential. I fear being mediocre. This is the reason I work so hard. I know how good I can be. Why be mediocre when you can be great? I refuse to settle for less. I remind myself that we are all made in the Lord’s image and if GOD is great then how can you not honor him by being the best you can be. When people tell me I cannot do a certain thing in my life because the odds are against me, I tell them I am designed to be great. When people and life add all the unnecessary weight on you, you as a person will be able to handle it. I refuse to be written off of the history of hip-hop.

What would Add-2 like to be remembered for in his musical career?

I just want to be respected. I have a different perspective when viewing life. I feel I am not meant to be in this world very long. The fact that I am still living amazes me. The only thing I really want at this point in my life is to be heard. I never really wanted much else. I love music so much I would do it for free. Anything else that comes with music I am eternally grateful. I want people to respect what I did for music. I want the masses to view my craft as something I took seriously to the heart.

What is Add-2’s advice to the youth and upcoming talent?

Pray and be patient! You may want it so bad but you must have patience and things will come to you. You may be doing the right thing but it may not be the right time for you to have it. We as a society go so far ahead of ourselves we want everything to be within our reach. Sometimes you may not be great in your craft until you invest twenty years of perfecting it. Sometimes you are going to have to perform on stage when there is not a crowd in the facility. Though, you as an artist is going to have to put in that work and when you do things will fall through for you. The stars are aligned. Sky’s The Limit!

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