By Jake Krzeczowski
Originally appeared for Elevator Magazine
If ShowYouSuck’s recent release, One Man Pizza Party Three: Rest In Pizza, ends up as a flop, it won’t be the end of the world for the Chicago MC.
While he may not have to worry about bad reception, Clinton Sandifer, better known as ShowYouSuck, has plenty of options if the music world was suddenly not an option.
At 27, Sandifer finds himself of the older guard in a city where it seems as though the average MC’s age hovers somewhere between a driver’s license and a first legal drink.
With age comes wisdom and Show has seen it all, becoming a sort of twenty-first century Renaissance man in the process.
A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, Sandifer helped establish an art gallery, Artpentry, in Pilsen and is involved with Code of Conduct tattoo parlor along with his clothing line Slurpcult, and yeah, he sometimes finds time to rap too.
Fresh off the Slumerican Tour with Yelawolf, ShowYouSuck credits his creative personality to his success.
“If this shit fucked up tomorrow I could go right back to working at a skate shop or to the art gallery or tattoo shop,” said ShowYouSuck. “It allows me to make my music freely. Music isn’t my last resort.”
The Bridgeview native doesn’t necessarily evoke the stereotype of a rapper. You can often find him around town in a cut-off jean jacket and tie-dye shirt. His style is more punk than hip-hop, an ode to his first true love in music.
“I’d rather embody the spirit (of rock) than rapping over guitars and shit,” said ShowYouSuck. “There’s definitely been rappers before me who have shown influence from rock but I feel like a lot of it comes off cheesy. I just want to make rap music.”
The rock influences are easily evident in his work.
“Girlfriend” from his 2012 Stefan Ponce-produced mixtape Girls, Girls, Girls features a heavy guitar riff and “The Return of the Headbanger’s Ball” on OMPP3 evoked feelings and fond memories of the 80s MTV rock show.
He admits his stage name is somewhat modeled after bands he knew growing up.
“It was sort of an ode to me playing with a lot of bands when I started doing shows, especially in the ‘burbs and hardcore scene,” said ShowYouSuck. “A lot of them had names that were statements. People seeing it might think I’m a band at first.”
OMPP3: Rest In Pizza is the end of a saga for the Treated Crew member, the third installment of a trilogy that came about because “America loves threes and who doesn’t love pizza?”
To be sure, the growth in each chapter is evident as his deep, gruff tone rhymes about everyday topics over uptempo beats from an assortment of producers including Chicago’s own Mike Jaxx with some help from Ponce.
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Auggie The 9th, Hollywood Holt and Grade A Plus also lend a hand with well-placed features.
The mosh-pit party vibe that was a theme on the first two One installments of the Man Pizza Party trilogy is still there in the third chapter, but blends itself with a grittier, trappier sound.
“I get the same feeling from trap music that I did when I first discovered punk,” said ShowYouSuck. “OMPP3 is basically a kind of cleansing, kind of a bass-heavy trap sound. There’s definitely inklings of what we have coming in the future on there.”
As someone who has been around the game in Chicago for awhile, Show has seen the growth in the scene around the city.
With the rise of a steady, nationally-recognized hip-hop scene one would assume competition and beef would be at an all-time high; he feels the contrary is true.
“I’m kind of like the new old guy,” said ShowYouSuck. “I was rapping on the Chicago scene before the internet age. At that time? Four years ago? That was cut-throat. Right now it’s not cut-throat; everyone’s working together.”
The collaboration of artists in the Windy City is obvious by looking at any release to hit the internet from the area in the past year. With more freedom for everyone to pursue their own lane, the competition has given way to a sort of collective.
With the project out for the public, ShowYouSuck continues to carve his own very distinct niche and will turn his sights to 2013 of which South By Southwest in Austin, Texas March 12-17 is the first priority.
ShowYouSuck was chosen by RedBull and Fake Shore Drive as one of three contestants for the SoundSelect competition between Sasha Go Hard, Tree and himself for a spot at RedBull’s SXSW showcase, fans can vote for their favorite artist of the three here.
If his performance at the kickoff event February 7 at the Bottom Lounge was any indication, ShowYouSuck means business. Sandwiched between the other two acts, Show’s punk-inspired live show left the crowd in a frenzy.
“The SoundSelect show was hands down my best show yet,” said ShowYouSuck. “The crowd was amazing and the vibe was perfect. I was stoked to be playing for people that were ready to party, I felt right at home!”
While he may be prepared to pursue other endeavors at some point, it looks like hip-hop will remain priority No. 1 for the do-everything MC. The strong, well-thought Rest in Pizza finale is the perfect end to one chapter and beginning of another for ShowYouSuck.
“At this point I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel,” said ShowYouSuck. “I just wanna keep doin rad shit and keep connecting with like minded people. Life is good.”
Written by Jake Krzeczowski