a.dd+ nawf america

Nawf America is the final A.Dd+ reminder of what used to be.

Nawf America was never supposed to represent the end. The third A.Dd+ album was supposed to be another quantum leap forward for Paris Pershun & Slim Gravy. Years removed from When Pig’s Fly, they still remained the quintessential Dallas rap duo. “We got the motherfuckin’ Juice,” Paris P rapped on “The Anthem”. Both were growing as men and although they were brothers in arms, they had their own ideas, their own strengths and weaknesses.

Dallas rap had just endured a banner year in 2015. The shows for local acts had gotten bigger, largely due to the groundwork they laid prior. National recognition still bubbled and names were far more recognizable outside of the blog sphere. You knew who belonged to Dallas’ rap class and who wanted it. A.Dd+ set the tone for all of this in post-Boogie era Dallas. Then January 9th bled into January 10th. A.Dd+ announced they had split. However acrimonious the split had become or the public spats had been, the end of A.Dd+ signifies an end for one chapter of Dallas rap.

And Nawf America represents the final page.

“Innisho”, the final A.Dd+ video.

In 2014, the NAWF EP landed on Dallas. As soon as the sample from Ice Cube’s “Friday” kicks in on “Innisho”, you feel Dallas. You feel the gold teeth, the individualism. That was A.Dd+ in a nutshell. Paris Pershun was the rapper’s rapper with a more than distinguishable North Memphis twang and Slim Gravy crushed it with baritone. Nawf America‘s backbone comes from that 2014 EP and both Gravy & Pershun added to it.

On “Been Throw’d / Swanglish Freestyle”, they could still laugh and riff on the Texas mandated freestyle flow. Slim Gravy could have morphed into Big Tuck you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. A track later, Paris Pershun compares the Southern heat to a billy goat’s ass in a pepper patch. That is equal parts country and brilliant.

Nawf America feels a bit off. The vibrancy of the 10-non NAWF tracks echo the ups and downs of growing up in Dallas, or in the South for that matter. “I’m Straight” is a solo Paris Pershun track where he admits to Slim’s abrasiveness, him almost losing his life in a car crash when he was 5 and how his younger brother was active in the wrong things. “My morals mean more to me than a pair of Jordan 3’s,” Slim raps on the penultimate track “IV Ever (Immortals)” and it’s a clear description of who he is as a rapper and a man. Materialism has never been on Slim’s mind yet his creativity and distance from certain things have been.

“The end of A.Dd+ signifies an end for one chapter of Dallas rap.”

The album exists in a stasis – a middle ground when both A.Dd+ parties were still in a good place. Now? They promote it separately, thank the fans, admit that the raps were fire but there’s no heart to it. Not that the songs didn’t mean anything when they were created but rather, they lost their importance when the divorce happened. Even when I heard about the album in hushed tones, you knew how big it was supposed to be. Instead, it’s a reminder of what could have been.

Paris Pershun & Slim Gravy haven’t said a single word to each other since the split. They’ve spoken about it publicly and then swore for the sake of their energy that it was best to leave it alone. Both have embarked on solo careers. P operating like his next feature verse may be his last and Slim crafting more under the DSKO moniker. But they’ll have the memories. The show at the Granada, the Black Milk collaborations, Pitchfork & SPIN and so on. When Dallas lost Sore Losers in 2011, A.Dd+ picked up the baton. Now the city has neither.

The city is in transition anyway in regards to music coverage. The idea of a full-time music writer is almost dead and sites like Central Track, original champions of burgeoning regional rap acts still remain. Dallas will always move in regards to shifts with each of its artists owning a particular year before it belongs to someone else. Nobody, however ruled longer than Paris Pershun & Slim Gravy.

Even in the divorce, the world got The Rapper & The Poet. And that’s all that matters. Stream Nawf America, the final A.Dd+ album below via Spotify.