Fort Worth rapper Jigsaw Paul was one of the first members of the Dallas-based music label known as Sunday Dinner Records.
Dominique Gadsden is the head of Sunday Dinner Records. While the label scouts talent from coast to coast, his team actively pursued more Metroplex artists, starting this adventure with the signing of Arlington multi-genre artist Small Town, he said.
“We’re big on individuality on the label. Both artists showcase that through their music,” Gadsden said. “One of the many talents from Small Town, she’s able to hold her own in whatever she does, if it’s background vocals for a record to making beats. Jigsaw is a breath of fresh air in hip hop.”
Jigsaw Paul, 34, is a colorful personality who wears a luchador mask on stage, an homage to his love of professional wrestlers and the mystique behind it.
“We all know that it’s predetermined, but it’s the storylines that get me locked in. It’s the action that is the impact,” he said. “It really connects with my personality. So that’s what made me want to continue with wrestling and eventually don a mask.”
He found his love for rap at the age of 5 when he would listen to it while in a rocking chair.
“I always wanted to make people laugh, or I always wanted to shock and be appalled. Get it? Be a-Paul-ed,” Paul said, emphasizing a pun of his name.
He prides himself on shocking people with his music. He started selling his own mixtapes when he was around 16 and put out a solo album called “Idiot Boxxx.” Fast forward to 2016, when he was in his mid-20s, he linked up with Gadsden to work on the sequel to “Idiot Boxxx.”
“I really liked the concept about it, like, the way he broke his records down. It wasn’t just like a track one, track two,” Gadsden said. “He kind of broke them into channels… had like four or five songs all mixed into one it was, it was amazing. I’ve never heard anything like that.”
After the success of “Idiot Boxxx” and “Idiot Boxxx 2,” Paul took a short break from releasing new music, following the death of his father.
“I didn’t want to continue at this time because there was nothing funny about my father dying. There was nothing funny about the situations that were going on in my family,” Paul said. “So I felt like I couldn’t be funny anymore.”
After some soul searching, he realized that life must move on and was ready to get back into the music business. He came back with a new album called “Weirdo,” which veered from his normal high-energy raps to a depressed rock sound to express his sadness about his father’s passing.
His videographer Darryl McGee told him it was time to get back to that “raw” Jigsaw Paul rap.
In 2021, he released “Turnbuckle Tales,” a collaborative project with music consultant Darrell McGee, producer Larry Douglas Jr., and Gadsden. The project brought the kid in Paul back to the surface.
“Behind the (luchador) mask, I’m still human,” Paul said. “But when I put that on, I’m performing on stage, and doing my promos and cutting my promos and making music videos. Those are the things that make me want to say, ‘OK, you know, I feel like I’m back to myself again.’”
While Jigsaw Paul was getting back his groove with Turnbuckle Tales, Sunday Dinner Records signed Arlington multi-genre artist Kiara Brown, 27, aka “Small Town.”
Gadsden and Small Town first found each other on social media. Gadsden reached out to invite her to participate in his web series called “The Recipe,” where artists perform a few songs in his apartment’s kitchen.
“I categorize myself as genre-fluid because I’m incredibly influenced by all different types of music,” Brown said. “I listen to all those types of music, I always wanted to know how I would sound making music like that. And so I don’t, I didn’t want to put myself into one genre and just stay there.”
She listens to folk music, indie music, alternative and so much more. Her versatility can be seen in her latest track “Paramore Bag” with a pop-punk sound that is very similar to the band in the song title.
Her creative process involves pretending to be a popular artist of that genre and mimic how they would sing on the track and then try to put her own spin on it.
“When I first heard that beat, I was like, ‘Oh, this sounds like Hayley Williams.’ ” she said. “Writing in that style and singing in a little melody, it just brought me back to being 14, listening to Paramore.”
Small Town’s next show
Time: 8 p.m.
Date: Sept. 17
Location: The Post at River East, 2925 Race St, Fort Worth, TX 76111
Tickets: $10. Purchase your ticket here.
She plans to make an EP with different genre songs that transition into one another. For example, an alternative song could nicely flow into an indie song which could then pour into an electronic song.
Brown thinks more Fort Worth music venues should follow the example of inclusivity set by an event hosted by Kirby & Friends at Magnolia Motor Lounge, 3005 Morton St. Brown was invited to play despite the venue being more Americana and country driven.
“So I think what’s important is just the people that have the key to things, opening the doors for other people,” she said.
Jigsaw emphasizes that Fort Worth has plenty of talent — Dallas just overshadows it.
“The reason why Fort Worth has great artists is that they have that hunger,” he said. “When you go to Dallas, it feels like (they have) an entitlement that you have to listen to their music. And I mean that respectfully.”
He believes that if the creativity of Fort Worth and the natural promotion of Dallas could work together, it could create something special, similar to the scene in Houston.
Until then, Brown is glad to have a place where she can grow as a musician.
“I’m incredibly thankful for the little musical family that I have found over there and they breathed so much confidence and life and affirmation into me,” Brown said.