Unexpected Influences: A.Dd+ Explains Its Love For Cee-Lo, Gorillaz and Maroon 5

Welcome to a new recurring feature here on DC9 where we talk to musicians about the music no one expects them to like. We're calling it Unexpected Influences -- because, we hope, that's what it will show.

Local hip-hop duo A.Dd+, rappers Paris P and Slim Gravy, has been on our radar ever since they dropped a pile of fresh on us last summer with their free Power of the Tongue mixtape. Equipped with a distinctively Southern swagger, A.Dd+ are also equipped with ample lyricism and a fresh-faced energy that very few acts in town can match.

Their latest project, the yet-to-be-released debut full-length When Pigs Fly remains one of the most anticipated North Texas releases in recent memory.

And these guys are at the forefront of media fundraising, too, enlisting the exciting upstart "crowdfunding" platform Kickstarter.com to get the $2,000 that they need to release that album. Kickstarter gave them 30 days to reach the goal and the deadline is 11 a.m. tomorrow on Thursday. With less than $400 to go, this is a very doable goal and, having heard much of the album, it'd be a shame if they didn't reach the goal. Go here to donate.

And, once you have, dive with us into the minds of Paris and Slim, whose unexpected influences include '70s funk and R&B, as well as a reverence for classic masters of the trade. And, as far as the modern influences go, A.Dd+ threw us plenty of curveballs, including a terrific mix that comfortably segues from Florence + the Machine to Jay-Z to The Beatles.

But don't think that they, of all people, don't notice the vibrant hip-hop local hip-hop scene all around us in North Texas: They look up to plenty locals, too. Read on for more Unexpected Influences from one of the Dallas area's most-promising up-and-comers.

What are some unexpected influences that your listeners may be surprised to know about?
Paris P: The Manhattans. When I listen to their music, I wish I was born in that time frame or that I was able to be part of the group. The production for their songs seemed flawless. Al Green is another big influence on my approach to music. I know I'm not an R&B singer, but the way they seem to captivate a crowd is something I aim to succeed in. Other influences that may surprise people would be System of a Down, Cee-Lo, The Gorillaz, Tech N9ne, etc.

Slim Gravy: I am heavily influenced by Maroon 5. The creativity in songwriting is what pulls me in with them. Also, Gnarls Barkley is a big influence. I have always been a fan of Cee-Lo since Soul Food, and the fact that he expanded to the form of music that he did was amazing to me. He is so well-known for his creativity and I want us to be known for that as well. Of course, I can't forget the incomparable Michal Jackson. Enough said with that name.

Who do you look to for inspiration when you play?
Paris P: The crowd. I feed off the crowd. I pray that they are into it and show it. To me, the energy in the building can make or break a performance. I understand to give 110 percent regardless, but feedback and love from the crowd busts my morale while I'm on stage.

Slim Gravy: I'm no dick rider, but, truthfully, I would say Sore Losers. When I see them perform combined with the crowd's reaction, I just visualize us gaining a bigger fan base and them rocking hard to our shit.

What's are some ringtones from the A.Dd+ Hall of Fame?
Paris P: Well I'm one of those people who has a ringtone for 90 percent of the numbers saved in my phone. (Sue me.) I have sat and made ringtones from our music -- such songs as, "Exit Here" and "Po' My Liqua" (both from Power of the Tongue mixtape). I get excited whenever I hear my phone ring and I hear Andre 3000's "Spread" for undisclosed reasons. (Wink.)

Slim Gravy: Well, one of my favorite ringtones is "Ridin' wit No Ceiling" by Boss Hogg Outlawz. I get crunk every time I hear my phone go off. A couple favorites of ours is "Smoke Break" and "Mac in Me" (both off of our Power of the Tongue mixtape).

The first record that you bought for yourself?
Paris P: I had a million CDs/records before this, but the first actual record I bought myself, out of my money, would be Project Pat's Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin'. That CD is classic. It may be because I'm from Memphis, but I can play that hoe today like it just came out.

Slim Gravy: I too had many CDs before I bought my own such as Lil Bow Wow and anything with Nelly's name on it. The first one I paid for out of my pocket was Ludacris' Word of Mouf. I remember playing that CD and Crazy Taxi on Dreamcast all summer one year.

Guilty pleasures?
Paris P: I would have to say listening to Waka Flocka. I don't care what anybody says, his music will have you moving.

Slim Gravy: I think mine would be Soulja Boy. Yeah yeah, everybody got something bad to say about him, but he keeps steady at his music and I feel he is actually progressing. Not to mention his fan base...

How about a mini playlist for your listeners so they can get a taste of your unexpected influences?
Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Willie Hutch - Theme of The Mack
La Roux - Bulletproof
Elton John - Benny and The Jets
Jay-Z - Allure
Sore Losers - Audio Bio
The Beatles - Dont Let Me Down
J.Cole - Villematic
Sly & The Family Stone - If You Want Me To Stay
Papa Roach - Last Resort

Download the playlist right here.

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Nic Hernandez