Add-2- 7th Boro interview
Add-2 is an MC from Chicago’s Southside. He has released eight mixtapes since 2005, from Tale of Two’s City Vol.1 to last years classic Save.Our.Souls to most recently, last week’s More Missed Calls. He is the type of MC who clearly puts effort when creating his art. He spits well thought out lyrics that can be clever, thought provoking, introspective, or simply boasting how much better he is than most. He represents Hip Hop to the fullest and has the skills and potential to become a huge name for a long time. I had the honor to ask him a few questions so his old supporters and new fans can get to know him a little better. Each question that I ask will be preceded by some of his lyrics off More Missed Calls. Take a few minutes to read this interview and get to know the present and future of Hip Hop.
“My head stay in the clouds while my mind on nine, they love the way I rhyme, I be round the way and I always keep a rap, they should call me Sway.”
Mills: As many raps you may have, I doubt anyone calls you Sway. You go by Add-2. For those that are unaware, What is the origin of this name?
Add-2: No, no one calls me Sway but it would be pretty fun if they did. I got my emcee name from my initials and being the 2nd child out of 3. My father gave us the initials cause he wanted us to always “add to” our legacy and always progress, never take anything away or move backwards.
“So my friends ran streets, while I ran beats, going two different directions like Trinidad James teeth”
Mills: What ultimately made you choose Hip Hop as your career? (who or what motivated and influenced you?)
Add-2: At first I never really thought rap was a way out because I never seen anyone from our neighborhood actually do it and furthermore I never knew anyone who succeeded. The most we seen was someone on the radio but they never seemed to live comfortably. But my friends always pushed me. I guess they seen the potential in me that I never seen in myself. I would always write as a way to vent or just as a hobby but it began to challenge me. Each verse had to better than the last but it was like an endless feat cause I could never fully master it. I could only get better. My father always told me if your job is something you love to do then you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s when I decided I wanted to rap.
Mills: The fact that you keep challenging yourself is clearly heard in your music. WE, your fans and supporters really appreciate that about you. Thanks.
“Southside of the Chi ain’t a safe place to live, watching these grandmothers outliving they grand kids”
Mills: Chicago is going through tough times to say the least. What do you feel needs to happen to start seeing changes for the better?
Add-2: I think its a complicated situation because its so many things but I feel we have to become a community again, people can’t be scared of their neighbors or their neighborhood. We have to re-establish the family with all the pieces. Men need to be better fathers and women need to be better mothers so that we are able to protect, guide, educate and instill values in our children. I believe we have to create more opportunities in our communities for work even if its non traditional so that people have options to live productive lives. In my opinion those are some of the things that we as a people have to work on because no matter law is passed or how much the police send people to jail the cycle will continue until we get love, family and respect back into the community.
“A long list of rappers I’m ahead of, I was good but these wack niggas made me look a whole lot better, mirror mirror who’s the illest that you ever seen? They never leave I got em hooked like methamphetamine”
Mills: You are clearly better than plenty of rappers out… but if YOU were to make a list of the best, who would make the top 5 and why?
Add-2: No particular order: 1) Jay-Z. He rhymes and it sounds like conversation and at his best he is witty, clever, poetic, brash and can make hits. 2) Nas. He is the epitome of what is to be an emcee flat out. 3) Common. In my opinion there wouldn’t be a Chicago Hip Hop had it not been for him paving the way for so many years. His lyricism, story telling and message make him one of the best. 4) Andre 3000. Its 3 stacks I don’t think I really have to explain that one haha. 5) Eminem. He’s one of the people who can purely rap. Like when they say Ray Allen is a pure shooter Em is a pure rapper. He can weave words together in a genius way.
Mills: My top 5 is extremely similar. The only difference is that I would HAVE to include Big Pun in there.
“Can’t hold a candle to me, why you trying to match this, hard to hear the real cuz your ears filled with wack shit, rappers making dollars cuz they stupid niggas lack sense/cents”
Mills: I love this line. You are right about the ton of wackness that is flooding the internet, but ever since we started the 7th Boro, I’ve been fortunate to find a good amount of high-quality Hip Hop out there. Who are some of the new and up and coming artists that you are listening to?
Add-2: ANTHM, Rapsody, Ab Soul, Joey Bad Ass, of course Kendrick, Krit, Cole, Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, Chuwee, Tiron, XV, Blu…so many of them but those are some of the people I got on my ipod and laptop.
Mills: Very solid list. That ANTHM verse on “Boombap Blues” was sick. He’s nice. Also the whole T.D.E. crew and definitely J. Cole.
“Now I’m rolling with his homey I don’t know or understand, no instrument in hand but he got me in a band”
“She had a hoodie on smiling in the office of admissions, hand me to this lady saying this for my tuitions”
“I hear a man speaking preaching about a prophet, they put me in a plate and take me to the alter”
“In a hotel room he rolled me up and passed me to his escort, put me to her nose did a line he took the next snort”
Mills: This record is crazy. It was extremely well thought out and flawlessly put together. Explain the creative process you went through when taking this concept and putting it into action.
Add-2: Slot-A had sent me the beat by itself and I felt like it was perfect for a story and I kept thinking about how money is just a piece of paper but we are all controlled by it and connected to each other through it in some way. No matter how high up or low you may be, we’re all the same. I started with a drug dealer who we later find out isn’t just a drug dealer and it travels up to a politician who isnt just a politician. Connecting all of them while adding in little details was the fun part cause there’s so many intricate details I wish I could share but it takes away the fun of dissecting the song. As well thought out the song is it didn’t take me long to write it. I think we recorded it the day after Slot-A sent it to me.
Mills: I love tracks that paint a vivid picture and tell an amazing story. Once again, good job.
“See I shock em like Blanka, my minds as sharp as Kitana’s fans
Or Baraka you can’t block it, with E. Honda’s a hundred hands”
Mills: Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat?
Add-2: Street Fighter. Ryu all day. I hated playing MK when I was younger cause my cousin would get always use the sweep kick til he won.
Mills: Ryu was the truth, but I was much better at MK tho.
“I could be your Martin you can be my Gina… every Phil need a Viv every Will need a Jada”
Mills: Martin or Fresh Prince of Bel Air?
Add-2: Martin. When I got older I got a chance to appreciate both of them but when it comes to just being funny Martin wins. The episode when he thinks they stole his walkman PRICELESS.
Mills: hahaha. I have to go with Fresh Prince, but my favorite Martin episode was when he fought Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. His swollen face at the end HILARIOUS.
“You know who I be, Nikes on my feet, Juggernaut fitted, the rest is LRG”
Mills: All time favorite clothing brand?
Add-2: LRG of course!
“I’m rapping like I ain’t make a dollar yet, promise mama I’ll get her a house and she ain’t got it yet.”
Mills: Besides buying your mom her house, what must happen for you to realize that YOU have made it. That all your hard work and dedication has finally paid off?
Add-2: Whenever I have kids and their education is taken care of.
Mills: Possibly the realest answer I will ever hear about anything.
“You think I give a damn you say I’m underground, I’m back on my shit you cowards back up in trouble now, you barely walk the city so how the hell can you run the town”
Mills: With this mixtape your fame will reach an all time high. How do you plan on dealing with the success and where do you plan to go from here?
Add-2: I try not worry about success or anything too far in the future. I try to jump the hurdles in front of me. Keep God first, family second and let the rest fall in place. If something changes me I pray its for the better and not for worse. The only place I plan to go is where God takes me. If he sees fit to cut everything else off tomorrow I have to be ok with it. If he takes it all across the world I have to be ok with it. But what I’ve learned is that I’m not the best person to map out my future so I’ll let God do what he does best.
Mills: I respect that. Well, we definitely wish you the best and much continued success. Once again, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for us. Much appreciated. More Missed Calls will continue to be in heavy rotation and I will continue to share it with as many people as I can. Keep doing your thing and we will keep looking out for more from Add-2 in the near future. Peace.