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What do you think you sound like? "Electro-satanic."
What's good? "We just released our first full-length album, Pizza Power. We recorded it at our house, which is also called Pizza Power."
What do you think you sound like? "A band of lost boys that has managed to turn pizza into music with a psychedelic twister of experimental pop incorporating three-part vocal harmonies, Beach Boys on acid, tribal drumbeats, alien hovercrafts, garage-rock leftovers, drone wizardry, Motown wannabes, the-Beatles-are-our-grandfathers, stuffed-animal birthday parties, church of malt liquor kids, colored light show, kaleidoscopic no-nos."
What's good? "Working with Lawrence producer Johnny Quest on our Lonely Hearts Club project. We have an EP coming out in August. My other group, Three the Hard Way — myself, Jo Cool, JL (of B.Hood) and J.P. the City Native — also has an EP coming out, Sofa King Awesome."
What do you think you sound like? "I think my music is just about having fun and enjoying life. We only get one, so we gotta live it up as much as humanly possible. I think my music reflects that."
Editor's Note: At last year's Showcase, Newman had the best rap diss of the night — it was something to the effect of "you're just mad you still work at Minsky's."
What's good? Released album Ron DMC earlier this year.
What do you think you sound like? "Hip-hop getting it on with insanity at Motel 6 at 4 a.m. Just a few trillion neurons trying to make music in my head all day."
Who are you excited for at the Showcase? "Stik Figa, mayne."
Editor's Note: The Pitch selected "Caked Up," a Stik Figa remix featuring Ron Ron, for Best Song in the 2009 Best Of issue.
What's good? "Releasing a project, Crown and Coke, with my friend and KC producer D/Will on August 16. My solo full-length, Figa of Speech, will be out early next year, hopefully. Been consistently working with D/Will, in addition to Oddisee, Greg Enemy and Michael 'Seven' Summers."
What do you think you sound like? "I wouldn't describe my sounds. I like to leave that up to the listeners. However it make you feel is good to me. I make music simply because I can't afford a therapist."
What's good? "I just released my newest album, The Fountain of Youth. It's my most danceable album to date. Put your dancing shoes on! As far as collaborations go, Mac Lethal and I have been trying to get our schedules to align. I also have a band called the Phantastics. There's 10 members."
What do you think you sound like? "Soul-driven electronic rap. Intelligent lyrics with avant-garde influences and deliveries. As far as comparisons go, people have said my music is a combination of Andre 3000, Deadmau5, NERD, Tech N9ne and Lupe Fiasco."
Outside at the Riot Room: REACH
Few local hip-hop figures are as respected and established as Stacy Smith, aka Reach. His raps are positive and socially conscious, and he eschews flavor-of-the-week beat trends, hewing closely to a refined sound that draws from jazz, soul and R&B. The Pen Pusha Mixtape, released earlier this year, is another album of smooth but powerful hip-hop from a man who's obviously in the game for all the right reasons.