By Rande Archer
One would not suspect a home on the street in a Baton Rouge suburb to house a professionally furnished and equipped sound studio, but that was exactly where DIG sat down with rising rap artist, Adam Dollar$.
Growing up during the mainstream breakthrough of rap music in the early ‘90s, 27-year-old Adam Dollar$ found a love for the art at a young age. Adam was exposed to the genre early on, often listening to classics with his older cousins who lived next door to him growing up.
“I just really got into that when my brother started making beats when he was in eighth grade, like he got the first ever version of [mixing software] Fruity Loops,” said Dollar$. “He was always playing, and I used to always play with it, but it was never something I wanted to do seriously. That’s how I really got into it, though.”
Dollar$ released his first EP just earlier this year in January titled The Vapor$. Finding initial success outside of Baton Rouge, his first song was hip-hop song of the week on a blog out of Detroit, and he’s been noticed by various independent hip-hop blogs around the world, including one from out of London. Dollar$ contributes the lack of allure in the Red Stick to his lyrical-focused style.
“Because of the type of the music I make, it really doesn’t cater to the rap crowd in Baton Rouge,” said Dollar$. “A lot of the things that I do are out of town, a lot of the blogs that post my music are all either nationwide or international. So the hardship has been doing shows in Baton Rouge and getting the venues to get down with it.”
Drawing from real world events and experiences, Dollar$ weaves these inspirations into his songs with lyrics. In addition, Dollar$ draws musical inspiration from groups such as Jay Z, A Tribe Called Quest, and Wu-Tang Clan, who are considered to be light, lyrically focused hip hop groups by Dollar$.
“All of my music is based on real life events,” said Dollar$. “So I just take things that are going on and try to put it in a way where people can relate to it. Especially being from Baton Rouge, the rap down here is seen in one light so it’s kind of good when you can show a diverse side to it, where it’s not just the ‘in the club beat,’ or the ‘shoot them up bang’ stuff.”
Dollar$ also discussed his brother, who works with him to help produce beats for his tracks, along with sound engineer Larry Francis, who has done work for Joey Badass out of New York and helps Dollar$ by giving him advice on tracks as well.
Dollar$ describes his process when recording as a natural act, basing his actions off of what feels good instead of forcing the lyrics.
“Most of the time music creating is kinda like a natural feeling,” said Dollar$. “I’m really not the type of guy that will sit down, listen to a beat and be like “oh I’m going to just go with it.” I might think of some stuff while riding around in my car, and I just use a repeat process. I just repeat it in my head, and most of the time I get it down by the time I get a beat. People are always sending me beats now, since I got my name out real good. People just send me beats, sometimes I pay for tracks if like it I must have it and then when I think of something it just comes and I go with it. Every time I really like tried to sit down and write something in full, it just never comes out well. It’s just a real natural process, I just let it flow.”
Dollar$ was also able to describe what personal experiences led to the creation of two of his tracks and what brought him to record them. The first one off of his EP, Momentary Lapse, Dollar$ explained that the song was devoted to him stepping back from music and dealing with events that had happened to him, such as the death of his grandmother, a recent break up with his girlfriend, along with his changing lifestyle. His latest single, Situationship, detailed a relationship Dollar$ was in.
“My latest track called Situationship, which will be featured on my upcoming EP is also based on real life inspiration,” said Dollar$. “It derives from a situation where me and a woman who meant a lot to me were on this in between phase of a relationship and could never quite pull it together. I made emphasis to address how great she was just from her mental qualities without focusing on her physical attributes, which is not done often in music.”
Dollar$ has so far released two singles since the initial EP in January, with All I Know and Situationship, which was released just two weeks ago. Dollar$ is set to perform at The Dragons Den in New Orleans on June 22, and The Willow on June 24. Following this he will be performing in Chicago on July 11, and will come home on July 15 to perform at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. Dollar$ plans on touring more this summer and is set to release his second EP in early August.