In early 2010, brothers Gray and Baylor Thomas, along with friend Dan Sewell, started Pairadime as a music blog, which they still operate. The idea was to have an outlet for the music they liked, not imagining the growth it’s seen.
“It’s been an absolute trip. We did not start out with this in mind,” Gray Thomas said. “It’s just been really cool, man. I can’t picture myself doing anything else.”
In addition to managing local hip-hop artists like Josh Sallee and Myke Brown, Pairadime has booked shows throughout the state featuring well-known rappers like The Cool Kids, Kendrick Lamar and Chip tha Ripper. Brand recognition has followed.
right, Dan Sewell, Gray Thomas and Baylor Thomas
“A lot of people want to come to our shows because they know Pairadime’s throwing it,” Sewell said. “They want to hear the music because we posted it. That part of it is really what gets me.”
So does getting to work with Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who’s helped groom local rapper Privaledge, né Priv Anderson.
“[Durant’s] one of the biggest supporters of it all, and that’s the biggest trip,” Gray Thomas said. “I talk to him about music, and he genuinely seems like he cares what we have to say, and he’s a global icon.”
With the Pairadime name established in-state, doing the same with a label is a 2012 goal.
“It’s not something I’m in a rush for, because I want it to be a good situation,” Thomas said. “I think we just have valuable opinions to offer, and people back that up by coming back and messing with us. We want to branch out a little more outside of hip-hop, just because I feel like we know the right people who know good music in general.”
Sallee agreed, attributing much of his growing success — and the music scene at large — to Pairadime’s efforts.
“What they’ve done for the state is remarkable,” Sallee said, “as far as bringing in good hip-hop that people would not normally get a chance to see.”
Once the label is up and running, the guys expect it to continue their streak of success. After all, it’s just the next logical step.
“We’ve been good at staying ahead since the beginning,” Sewell said. “We started off as a blog, then we started promoting shows and making our own shows, and now we’re kind of forming a little label thing. It’s kind of naturally progressing.”
Photo by Matt Carney