Hip-hop artist evolves, finds wider audience

By Jake Krzeczowski January 9, 2013 5:42PM

Originally Appeared for Chicago Sun-Times
 
 For Clinton Sandifer, life is all about doing what makes him happy.

That he’s best known as Chicago hip-hop artist ShowYouSuck is beside the point. A former student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sandifer, 27, is evolving into a new-age renaissance man by finding many ways to bring his voice to a larger audience.

Along with his music career, he also helps run a tattoo shop, Code of Conduct, and an art gallery, Artpentry, both in Pilsen. Along with all that, he is also the face behind his own fashion label, Slurpcult. It’s all part of a dynamic persona that Sandifer projects to the world.

“I want you to be a fan of me before the music, the relationship is stronger that way,” he said. “If this messed up tomorrow, I can go back to working at a skate shop or art gallery. It allows me to make my music freely, there’s no desperation, music isn’t my last resort.”

To celebrate the release of the final part of his trilogy “One Man Pizza Party” titled “Rest in Pizza,” he will perform Saturday with Chicago-based artists St. Millie and Warhound at the Bottom Lounge.

The lineup reflects the album, which features a blend of hip-hop and rock. To be sure, Warhound and St. Millie are widely different acts. The former is a suburban hardcore rock quintet while the latter is part of the Treated Crew hip-hop collective (along with ShowYouSuck), who delivers thoughtful, poetic lyrics.

As Sandifer explains it, the way the show is set up mirrors the way he began his career performing in and around

Chicago hip-hop artist ShowYouSuck (akClintSandifer)

Chicago.

“I started out playing hardcore shows with bands in the suburbs,” he said. “That was the first scene that really embraced me musically, and I’ve only really been doing shows with rappers for the past couple of years. I wanted to put together a show that I would have wanted to see when I was a teenager, I never had a chance to see a show like this before.”

His music draws on many influences, from punk and indie rock to soul. All are easily seen in his high-energy live act.

“A lot of my stage presence I got from watching other bands play,” he said. “People who are into different music don’t always mix together, and that’s what I want to do with this lineup.”

He’s ready to put his three-part, yearlong project to bed and continue to follow a path of creative freedom and genre-bending that has vaulted him to the forefront of Chicago hip-hop.

“I’m just really working freely right now,” he said. “Just recording and getting in with a lot of different producers and people, but I’m really happy with the way this project was received and excited to keep it going.”

Jake Krzeczowski is a locally based free-lance writer. Follow him on Twitter: @jakekrez

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