Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Dorian Harris (born February 19), better known by his stage name The Art Dealer is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and graphic designer. He is arguably the most well-known and prolific artist in Augusta, Georgia. He has been producing music for the last 15 years and has published three solo albums, numerous mixtapes, and several collaborative projects.
In March 2016, Harris performed with iconic rapper Scarface on the Icon Tour at the Sky City in historic downtown Augusta, Georgia.
We caught up with The Art Dealer to talk about Life Love Loyalty EP, being a black man in America and his thought about the state of hip hop. Check it out below!
PEM: Now you're a native of Augusta , GA, correct? So growing up, who all did and do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
TAD: Yes, born and raised in Augusta, my influences would be Ice Cube, UGK, Eightball & MJG, and the biggest would be Outkast. They were the first group to feel, represent, and sound like people where I'm from.
PEM: Those are definitely some heavy hitters you just named to be inspired by. How did you get started in the music and entertainment industry?
TAD: As a child, I had older cousins who were like older brothers and they introduced me to rap music. My love for hip hop turned into me rapping as a child and then after high school, I pursued a career in entertainment by throwing events.
PEM: Yeah, I heard you're that guy for throwing events in the Augusta area. What was the first project you put out that started gaining serious attention around Augusta?
TAD: I was in a duo called the Dynasty in the late 90s and our first album was called "World Premiere". That one got us radio, local album sales, and we opened for a lot of artists that came through Augusta.
PEM: What's your thought about today's hip hop scene and why?
TAD: It's watered down, weak, nobody wants to be human, everyone wants to make fantasy music.
It's still a few artists in the underground that I love, but I'm not a fan of a lot of it.
PEM: Exactly! watered down is the correct term to use hip hop isn't the same, although I respect this generation music nothing I ride around listening too. I honestly have no choice if I'm listening to the radio. What’s on the horizon for you, what songs or projects are you working on and what is in the pipeline as far as music that will actually make it out into the marketplace?
TAD: Finally finished my album "Life Love Loyalty Vol. 1", that's coming late Sept early Oct 2016.
:The lead single "Used 2" feat Felly the Voice, is coming in August with the video as well.
PEM: I'm excited to get my hands on a copy. What's the inspiration behind the song "Used 2"?
TAD: I found myself in a space where if I was going to grow, I had to sever some ties with certain people, let go of some old ways of thinking, and solely focus on progression, which is why I finally finished my album.
PEM: Sometimes that's what it takes for a person to move forward. Was there a hard song to write on the album?
TAD: "Unborn", it's the dark side of a love affair, which is pretty much a sequel to "Breaking the Rules". I don't think I've ever been that personal on a song
PEM: What’s the story behind the title, Life Love Loyalty… Vol 1?
TAD: The 3 most important qualities to me is my life, love, and loyalty. Those are my values, I was raised to maintain those at any cost. I've also been through issues because I may have loved too much, allowed some things to control my life, or been loyal to disloyal situations.
PEM:: What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?
TAD: The times when my art connects with the people. I've had people tell me, how my music and events inspired them and those memories stay with me forever.
PEM: What is one mistake you see a lot of up and coming artist making? / What advice would you give to aspiring artist?
TAD: LEARN. THE. BUSINESS. Not from what you heard, and not from social media unless it's a webinar by a reputable business person. Too many people think they know what they're doing by copying what they heard or think.
PEM: Yes!!! So many artist today don't realize it's 90% business and 10% music. Some just want the fame and don't care about the business side. Who are some major, new, artist or producers you would like to work with in the future and why?
TAD: Big Krit!! As a producer and an artist, I highly respect and love what he does. Kevin Gates, Jeezy, and my all time would be Outkast
PEM: Off the topic of music, as a young black man in today's society, what are your thoughts of all the police brutality that's taken place towards many African American males and females across the world?
TAD: It's nothing new. We lost a man in Augusta, a year ago from being tazed to death while he was handcuffed on the ground on his stomach, and on video. I think social media sheds a light on something that's been going on. I pray that we understand it won't change. We need to help ourselves by understanding what we're dealing with and move accordingly. Asking for help from the enemy doesn't make since to me.
PEM:: You are exactly right. I don't see where all the marching and protesting will help the situation, especially with today's generation. In the 1960's it worked, that's because the people were more unified then they are today. Hopefully we will wake up soon as a people... The legendary Prince suggested in the Rolling Stone that all new artist to not sign contracts with labels, because it's a form of "Slavery". What's your take on it and will this discouraged you from signing a deal in the future?
TAD: He's right and I agree. At this stage in music, I challenge artist to fall in love with building your own career and do so. I would love for the world to hear my music, but if I can get 5,000 or 10,000 loyal fans to support my projects, i'm good with that. I think people want the fame more than a healthy career in music.
PEM: That's what destroying the music game right now, Fame over Career. Name two things you would like for your fans to know about Art Dealer, that they don't know?
TAD: I make music for real people, and I want them to take something from my music.
PEM: What's Next for Art Dealer?
TAD: More music, my next projects are already in the works, I have some ideas for shows coming this fall.