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' résumé 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