Andre “Add-2” Daniels is a man of many names and calls himself “The 1 Man Duo.” The Chicago based rapper/MC is signed to 9th Wonder’s Jamal Records and a motivational speaker. Recently Add-2 discussed his latest projects, success, and his role as an advocate for the inner city youth in Chicago.
What’s your latest project?
Add-2: The album “Between Heaven and Hell” that’s out on iTunes right now. [Currently] I’m working on an upcoming project that might be released in the fall. We still don’t have a title to it just yet, but we’re still working on it.
How do you define your success?
Add-2: For me I define my own success by the person that I am and who I am to other people. How I make them feel? How I treat you? How I care? There’s certain things in life that I’ve accomplished that I’m definitely proud of, but my success really isn’t just these accolades. My success is probably more so based on the impact that I’ve made around here. The things that I value, the people that I value I think that’s more success than anything. Success for me is waking up every day and doing what you love to do. There’s so many people that have to live life according to what they think other people want them to accomplish. It’s like, “I’m living my life and just waking up every day and doing the thing that I would do for free. So that to me is success.
Do you speak mostly at universities and youth centers, or specific places?
Add-2: No, I mean any and everywhere. Any place that would like me to speak I will go there. Yo, any place that welcomes me with open arms. It doesn’t matter if it’s a youth group, or if it’s a church. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a university, [or] if it’s at an elementary school any and everywhere. Any and everywhere is fair gain for me. I want to see the people. Any place where the people are that’s where I want to go to.
How do you reach the youth and let them know not to be afraid of their environment?
Add-2: See that comes from exposure. If you don’t expose kids or any—generally anybody to alternative—“Yeah, if they may not have another option of with—to actually see it. “Where do you find it?” If someone doesn’t introduce certain things to you. If you never-if someone doesn’t show you how to play basketball and you’ve never actually had the chance to be on the court. And then somehow some way people expect you to be a professional. So then how does that—it doesn’t work, somebody has to introduce you to something to see if you’re interested in it. If it appeals to any of your traits that you have, or something that intrigues you enough to the point to where we want to continue it. If nobody introduces it to you then there’s no way for you to pick it up.
Whether it’s TV that exposes it to you or someone else exposes you to it. You have to be exposed. So, I think telling people of different options and alternatives to how they want to live is important. A lot of people want to be rappers because it’s an easy thing to get into [and be successful]. People want to be basketball players because the success. But we don’t see a lot of lawyers and doctors like that in some of these low income areas. So it’s tough for people to actually gravitate towards it because they don’t know the steps of how to get there…They don’t know the alternate routes, so we have to expose more people to it. And it may not necessarily be that—those two things.
Sometimes those two things be over hyped too doctors and lawyers. Maybe they can be other things. Maybe they can be organizers in different ways or they can be business men. Or they can be—they can have their own company if they’re not able to have—just be independent. We have to just expose them to the alternative. We have to show them. We have to. Even if it’s a different way of thinking or being, or even living their day-to-day lives or eating healthy. We have to expose them.
Who exposed you to wanting to be a motivational speaker?
Add-2: Several people influenced me. I wanted to be—sort of like [The Honorable] Minister Louis Farrakhan. To me he is one of the best enforcers of at least my generation. I love people who can not only speak well, and can stir up the fire within you. And makes you want to get up and move. And he was one of those people who not only spoke to just a need for leaders, but he also speaks about black people…It gave me pride at the same time while he was telling me to get up and do something.
My father like he would always get up everyday and he’d be involved in a lot of different things as far as trying to clean up the community. Besides the fact that it would always be just as dirty the next day, but it never stopped him from trying. I would see all of these different people who lead me want to—at least lead me to understand my personal responsibility to clean up my surroundings before I interact. They taught me that, “Yeah you can be in this world, but if you’re not helping to make it better. What’s the point?”
What’s the point because you can do all this for self and then once self is gone all this stuff that you have is gone too. You can’t take it with you. The most you can do is leave it better than the state which you came in. That’s my goal in life. “I’m not going to try and destroy this world.” I’m going to try and build it up in ways that I can help. If I can help people in some way whether it’s with my music. Whether it’s with interacting with people. Whether it’s me helping to make ends meet. [Helping to] make point A reach point B or get these people to connect. I have to do something. I have to do my part.