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Plus - Addition By Subtraction
Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Stamford emcee and producer Plus has experienced a number of turning points in his life. From his group, Nervous System, deciding to part ways with their label, to the cutting off of the dreads that took him eleven years to grow, Plus and change have always seemed to go hand in hand.

Going solo is the latest turning point for Plus, which is why he felt it apropos to title his first solo project The Turning Point. “This is the turning point in my life,” he says with sincerity, “this is the turning point in my career.”

In 2002 Plus, then going by the name Polarity Plus, formed Nervous System with fellow emcees SolStorm and Eclipse. The group saw both local success, in the form of packed houses to see them perform, and national success with their music charting high on CMJ. The music Plus made with Nervous System, however, is a bit different from what listeners can expect from his solo project.

“I think that this record is a little bit more, I don’t want to say aggressive like it’s some hardcore, Get Rich or Die Tryin, record, but I think it’s a little realer,” he explains, “I think it’s a little bit more aggressive in terms of lyrical content. I don’t think Nervous System was that aggressive. I think Nervous System was a little bit more experimental, more on a Black Eyed Peas kind of thing, or a Fugees kind of thing, which is not a bad thing, because they’re both great groups, but I think with this record it’s a little bit more real all the way around the table.”

Plus’ decision to go solo was one he made with a heavy heart, but a determined mind. After Nervous System parted ways with the small, indie label they had been on, they signed with a management company. Unfortunately, according to Plus, “the management company really didn’t do anything for us.” Having this incident follow their unpleasant situation with the label left the group feeling deflated. “After that everybody’s heart just kind of failed out,” Plus remembers, “we did have interest at major labels, but after things didn’t work out everybody was just kind of like OK, we don’t want to leave this group, but what else are we gonna do here? It was showing in the recordings, it was showing in the performances. After a while it just stopped being fun for me and music is supposed to be fun.” This was the indicator that pushed Plus to make his decision. “I love them dudes, but I needed to make a change and I felt like this was the change I needed to make, to make a solo record and go solo.”

The more aggressive, solo version of Plus is also significantly more open about his personal life. “I don’t let a lot of people in,” he explains, “(and) I felt like everyone was talking about ‘you gotta let down your wall, man. Let it out.’ So I was like alright, I’m gonna let it out on The Turning Point.” Letting it out included telling some stories that are of a deeply personally nature. “There are things on this record that a lot of people didn’t know about me, like a lot of the things I went through on the song ‘My Life.’ A lot of people didn’t know I went through the things with that ex-girlfriend, or that my father had passed.”

Songs like “My Life,” which includes a verse about a former flame who claimed to be five months pregnant with another man’s child, have an undoubtedly dark quality to them, but as Plus points out, “we all go through some dark times and the best way to get around it is to let it out. I actually feel better letting it out.” That being said, don’t expect to hear “My Life” during Plus’ set when he rocks with Deuce Bug and legendary New York emcee, Cormega, at the Acoustic Café on Friday, November 20th. “I don’t even want to perform that song, to be honest with you. I just want to have people hear the record and be like ‘OK, I feel him.’”

Like the majority of the artists hailing from the state, Plus is going the independent route for distribution, but unlike many of his peers, he has label experience that taught him some of the ins and out of dealing with the industry. Although he learned a few of his lessons the hard way, the wisdom he has stemming from his time as a signed artist has stuck with him. He says two of the most important lessons he’s learned have been to “know your business and stay focused,” adding “Don’t let anybody tell you that you need to sign this, or you need to go here.” Plus also notes that for the people who don’t want to do it all themselves, “if you’re gonna have somebody do it for you make sure you’re on top of them and know what’s going on.”

Plus is in total control of his career now, and while the naturally affable nature his fans have come to know and love hasn’t changed, musically everyone needs to be prepared for a whole new Plus.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:15 AM  
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