A-Plus (Hieroglyphics)

Oakland, California
Artist / Band / Musician

My Last Good Deed
Hiero Imperium Records
In 1982, at the age of 8, Adam Carter woke up on a Saturday morning, poured himself some cereal, sat down in the living room in front of the TV, turned off the cartoons that he normally watched, and penned his first rhyme. The son of Jamaican immigrants living in the heart of Oakland, he had recently been exposed to the early sounds of hip-hop. At the age when most of us are more concerned with the latest toys, Carter made a resolute decision: he would become a rapper. Thing was, at that time the idea of being a rap star was not part of the mainstream consciousness, much less that of young boys. Nevertheless, that morning Carter set out on a road that would span 25 years and lead him through the peaks and troughs of major label deals, gold-selling albums, major label layoffs, forming an independent label, and achieving success on his own terms. A-Plus is a founding member of two certified-classic hip-hop groups, Souls of Mischief and The Hieroglyphics and My Last Good Deed is the next mile marker on his extraordinary journey.

A-Plus (aka Plee) moved to Oakland, California with his family when he was 5 years old. Although he lived in the heart of "The Town", A Plus' home environment was very different from his neighbors'. "When I stepped inside, I left Oakland behind and entered a truly Jamaican household. My parents had that first-generation immigrant work ethic and they valued education very highly" explains A Plus. Carter was bright and consistently did well in school. So much so that his dad took to calling him "A Plus" because of the good marks he received on report cards. It was in elementary school that A-Plus met future Hieroglyphics members, Casual, Tajai, and Del The Funky Homosapien. Tajai eventually introduced A-Plus to Phesto and Opio, and together they formed Souls of Mischief while still in high school. At age 17, A Plus and his group were scouted and signed by Jive Records, resulting in the release of their seminal debut album, 93 'til Infinity in 1993. The album's title track and "That's When Ya Lost" were both certified hits and have become part of the official soundtrack to the "Golden Age" of rap. Despite the success of their debut and 1995's follow up, No Man's Land, creative differences between Jive and the group resulted in Souls being dropped from the label's roster. That same year, facing an uncertain future without major label support, A Plus, Tajai, Phesto, Opio, Casual, Pep Love, Domino, JayBiz, and Del The Funky Homosapien formed the independent collective Hieroglyphics. The crew's Hiero Imperium label has since become the de facto template for successful independent hip-hop labels. They own their own office building, tour constantly, and have sold well over one million albums.

Although labeled as an "underground" artist, A-Plus' rÈsumÈ refutes that moniker completely: he has performed and collaborated with fellow legends Nas, Redman, Wu-Tang, Pharcyde, Eminem and De La Soul to name a few. He has also proven his versatility as a producer with critically acclaimed production credits on the works of artists ranging from Me'shell Ndegeocello to Chris Isaak. He loves life on the road and has headlined at least 12 international tours; so many that at this point he can't easily recall all of them. "I used to proudly say that I'd been around the world two times, but that was years ago and it's now it's many more times than that," explains a grinning A Plus.

The concept for My Last Good Deed was born out of a conversation A Plus had with his father. "We were discussing how I had these reoccurring problems in different areas of my life like relationships and business dealings. My dad's advice was to put my foot down and make one last effort to make the situations work out. He said 'If it still doesn't work out, make it your last good deed and move on.'"
His first solo effort showcases his exceptional rhyming and production skills. Sonically, the album is a testament to A Plus' view that "hip-hop is like potpourri- you can take bits and pieces from any genre and make them into a hip-hop song. It's the first genre to do that and that's why I love it." Compound7, comprised of A Plus and AAGEE, produced most of the album.

Compound7 employs innovative production techniques on the tracks. On "Nothin' Fake/The Ultimate" Plee played all of the instruments, then went back in and "added a little record crackle sound so that people would think it's a sample." The other production on the album is provided courtesy of respected producers Jake One (50 Cent, E-40, De La Soul, MF Doom), J Zone (Biz Markie, Sadat X, Tha Alkaholiks, RA the Rugged Man, Lil Fame (M.O.P.), MF Grimm) and Quincey Tones (Apathy, Masta Ace, Wordsworth).
Lyrically, the album covers a diverse amount of material. "The One" is the jumping off point for the album as well as an homage to A Plus' Jamaican heritage, courtesy of Kingston-born Major Terror. The third verse sums up A Plus' attitude to the album perfectly: "This my first solo effort I hope you get it / If you don't then it's copasetic but no disrespectin' / I done earned my stripes, dude made, my dues paid." "My Dub Song" is Plee's twisted take on a traditional love song, where every reference to "love" is replaced with a reference to weed (a 'dub' in Oakland means a twenty-sack). Classic lines ensue: "What's dub gotta do with it? Dub will find a way. Could it be I'm callin' for dub? Dub is a battlefield. I feel like LL- I need dub."

The most poignant song on the album is undoubtedly "Kiss The Sky." At the beginning of the recording sessions A Plus had trouble finding his own voice, as he was used to working in a group environment. "I was feeling unsure of the direction of the album, but one of my best friends sat me down and broke it down in a way that was simple but perfect. He told me to just be myself, to be the person that he hangs out with everyday," explains Plee. Tragically, when the album was half completed, his dear friend was brutally murdered. A Plus put the project on hiatus for months but eventually found the strength to come back to it and a reason to complete it in the memory of his friend.

A Plus' 25 year journey parallels that of Hip-Hop itself; they have come of age together and experienced the same growing pains. This record reflects a process of soul-searching that tries to reconcile and chronicle that journey through a life in hip-hop. Plee's newfound "last good deed" outlook is perfectly summed up in the last line of "Kiss The Sky":

"Life goes on if you lucky 'cause my homeboy's dead / But I'm alive so I be on my shit / You gotta rock rock on / Keep keep it on."

Past Success:
A Plus is a member of Souls of Mischief, whose works have been deemed "Hip-Hop Classics". The Source Magazine listed both the single "93 'til Infinity" (which he produced) and the album as one of the top 100 rap songs of ALL TIME and top 100 rap albums of ALL TIME.

Combined sales of albums produced by or featuring A-Plus are over 1,000,000 units.

A Plus just finished a 45 city US tour with Del The Funky Homosapien. He has two tours planned prior to release in the US and Canada with his group, Souls of Mischief, and a third solo tour planned post-release in the US, followed by a European tour.

Digital photos, bio and music available at http://www.audibletreats.com/download/APlus

For more info contact:
Michelle McDevitt718.768.7275michelle@audibletreats.com
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