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aDD it up

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"I try to balance drawing, graphic design and music. I use each to feed my creativity," he said. "My first love was art. I've been drawing practically my whole life. That turned into a passion for graphic design. I really enjoy being able to express myself through art; it may be through words, pictures or both."

A longtime fixture of the Oklahoma hip-hop scene, he was a member of Puzzle People, the hip-hop collective that helped keep rap alive in the Sooner State when it was otherwise dead.

It was a modest start for aDDLib, who found that hip-hop helped him move past his shyness.

"For the longest time, I never really told my friends that I rapped. I was a quiet kid in high school, so I just kept it a hidden," Butler said. "I started taking it seriously once I finally let people listen my music and got a positive response. It made me want to continue to do music and keep progressing."

His early material was shaped by his love of West Coast rap heavyweights Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.

"I'm inspired by great writers," Butler said. "I have a true love for words and the way that they are put together. Clever writing is mainly what draws me to an artist and is what I admire the most and try to incorporate in my music."

That approach has been met with a soulful, warm production style that elicits J Dilla and Madlib. Couple that with Butler's work mentoring Oklahoma City youth, and you've got a positive message and sound when that can be hard to come by.

"I like to believe that I bring something different to the table. My approach has changed from years ago," he said. "I now understand the influence music can have on listeners, so I make it a point to reflect positivity. I enjoy speaking on different topics and being as transparent in my music as possible. I normally don't talk a lot, so music allows me to speak on things I might not speak on otherwise."

All that could be found on 2011's Soul on Wax, but expect things to be all that more refined and on point on aDDLib’s upcoming pair of projects: an EP for summer and a full-length album by the dawn of 2014.

Butler said he’s been working on them for about three years.

"I've changed the concept so many different times and have put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure everything comes out just right," he said. " I just want people to understand or at least get a sense of who I am through this music. I make it a point to include my life views and beliefs into songs. The intent is that the true me is always reflected through what I love."

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