The Last of A Dying Breed
T. Parris (born Terry Parris) began his life in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY. At the young age of 3, T.P. moved to Harlem where he was raised by his grandmother (his greatest inspiration), the mean streets of Harlem, and his dad, when times and circumstances permitted. His other influences include such diverse minds as Marvin Gaye, Nas, Magic Johnson, Malcolm X, Dr King and Tupac Shakur. It was through the writing down of his tribulations and hardships that he realized his gift as a writer and through the ensuing noteworthy street buzz that his talent as an MC was realized. In an effort to make the most of his obvious talent, Parris has been focused on writing and rhyming for over 10 years. To some he is the “Rakim” of his era, and to others he is the Langston Hughes of his genre – either comparison leads one to believe that Parris is a great look for hip-hop music. While many would be content to let someone else hold the reins of their budding career in order to focus on writing, Parris spent his time touring every underground club - from Speed, in New York City, to D.C. Live out in Washington, D.C. – with his energy and hunger playing an integral role in every opportunity he received. Starting out with a group from Harlem called M.E.N., they made a huge name for themselves independently by being featured on various DVD magazine projects such as “Smack and Sub Zero”, as well as multiple public access stations. Other accomplishments would include the production of their own DVD (entitled M.E.N. of Respect), and their countless mix tapes. As a solo artist T. Parris has released 3 solo mix tapes, 1 collaborative CD, and his own DVD. He is currently in the process of finishing up an album project. When listening to his rhymes and the thought-provoking wordplay therein, it becomes clear that Parris is definitely among the top prospects looking to be signed. While on his mission of securing a deal Parris has made it abundantly clear that any and every microphone is fair game. "…3 mc's 2 Degrees 1 Felony / the end of the road, the only thing ahead of me...” Lyrics like these lead one to believe that Parris is not only a writer; he is a revolutionary and a trailblazer - a pioneer. Who was the last MC to graduate with a Master’s degree, endure numerous difficulties, and still find the passion to deliver countless inspirational songs? T. Parris, T.P., or just Parris - However you decide to address him, he is definitely a breath of fresh air.
N.A.B : How are you and for those who do not know, who is T. Parris?
Parris: I Am T.Parris aka “Da YungMarvinGaye Of Dis Rap Shit” most original, most creative, most in tune wit the times.. sorta Like ya inspiration....
N.A.B : At what age did you decide that hip-hop was what you wanted to do and why?
Parris: Well to be totally honest I grew up on hip hop... It was a learning tool for me. It helped me to get through obstacles that at times my parents weren't able to lend insight. So it’s always been apart of my expression. As far as a career, I wanna say I was about 19, 20 yrs old and it was because a couple friends had heard a tape I made and compared me to The Lox. At that time, that was like saying you had what it took to be recognized and from then on I been proving I belong.
N.A.B: What is your opinion about the direction of hip-hop and how do you try to stay true to the form in which hip-hop was meant?
Parris: In my opinion the art is lost. The game is controlled by the "popular vote" and so "rappers" will continuously compromise not only themselves but the music in order to produce a "hit". Myself, I make music that reflects what's going on in the world. You can't judge it, because it’s our reality. Can you have an opinion about it? Sure you can, we don't all like poverty, but it exists, we may not all want work, but there's a working class. So in short, I spend my time expressing the concerns of those in "the struggle". I'm fighting the fight.
N.A.B: How do you feel about the Elegant Hoodness Musical Program and their grind to give underground/independent artist a platform to showcase their talent?
Parris: Well, I have been A feature a few times and I can say the artists involved get a huge amount of exposure, not only because they are on this huge stage, but the judges have always been industry credible, The DJ’s has always been someone who has also been instrumental in breaking records, and the features for the most part are the most talented artists out there. So, even if you only get involved once, the amount of exposure exceeds almost any other showcase out there!
N.A.B: As you have done many things as far as shows, DVD’s and other events, what is next for T Parris? What can people look forward to?
Parris: Well There's definitely gonna be more music, I have to stay consistent there, because that’s what people know me for. However, you will see more community related events, I think its important we pull those along who wanna go and what better place to start then the community, I am putting it upon myself to continue To lead by example. By doing this I can show my generation that “Yes!” we can do anything we put our minds to..
N.A.B: Who would you say you would be honored to share the same stage with or collab with as far as veterans of hip-hop and what fellow independent artist would you look to collab with?
Parris: Rakim, Nas, Run Dmc, (Lol) I could go on for days. I believe we can't get where we are going if we don't know where we came from. I would work with any pioneers, as for veterans, whoever wants to make good music. I have worked with a lot of artists, so none To name, but if it’s good music,”let's build!”
N.A.B: What is the biggest accomplishment you have accomplished thus far and what is your next goal as far as accomplishments?
Parris: My biggest accomplishment, I don't know. I’ve have done a lot. I wanna say sharing a stage with my daughter at The Apollo, so for years to come she can tell a story of how her and her Dad won over an Apollo Crowd. My next goal, I would like to star in a movie.. I think I have a winning personality, and a “killer smile”...
N.A.B: Last but not least, how can people/supporters get in contact with you T. Parris the artist? Where can they find your music, booking/collab info, mixtapes etc?