Photo by Daniel Mondragón

Daniel Mondragón is a local photographer who grew up in the Mission. We asked him to select and photograph ten of his favorite Mission artists. For the second entry in his series Young Mission Talent, he talks with Mission rapper A-1. 

Adam Traore, better known as A-1, began rapping at 15-years-old while attending Lowell High School. A Mission District native, he grew up between Bernal Heights and the Mission on Army/Cesar Chavez. His exposure to San Francisco’s diverse culture, liberal lifestyles, and more molded his music and taught him tolerance and made him the socially-conscious artist that he is today.

Photo by Daniel Mondragón

A-1’s “Thurl style” does not discriminate whatsoever. His childhood friends in the Mission were primarily Polynesian and Latino, which influenced his sense of identity, ideals and community passion. He says his sense of who he is, is marked by a lack of identity, which allows him to learn about himself through constant experimentation in his music as well as everything he does in his life.

Photo by Daniel Mondragón

While A-1’s music is intended to entertain, its primary focus is to raise social awareness and promote social thinking.

Photo by Daniel Mondragón

A-1 would like to start “Thurl company,” a wellness brand which encourages consumers to be mindful and vote with their dollars. He wansts shoppers to spend money within the community.

He’s a talented lyricists who collaborates with other artists including Carmack and Flosstradamus.

Photo by Daniel Mondragón

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    1. Erika: thank you! We love Daniel’s work as well. His essay on Mission Nights was one of my two favorite for the year. This essay is lovely and there are more coming up in the series of his favorite Mission artists. Years ago, Daniel sent us an e-mail and asked if we would be interested in some of his work. I immediately said yes and he did some early work for us and then left to Los Angeles for a couple of years. We’ve kept in touch and when he returned, he resumed doing work for us. If we could raise the money, he would be on staff. Who knows, maybe we will. In the meantime, we’re happy to get as much work as he can produce. Best and good to hear you are enjoying his work as well. Lydia