The Sh!t Takes Hip-Hop to The Twilight Zone

In this week's issue of Phoenix New Times, we profiled 10 new(ish) bands we expect to dominate Phoenix iPods and boomboxes this long, hot summer. We'll be focusing more deeply on those artists over the next couple of days on Up on the Sun.

See the entire list: 10 Phoenix Bands You Should Be Listening to This Summer

It's been a long road, but The Sh!t are ready to live up to its namesake.

The Sh!t is the collaboration of Ianfluence and Sourpuss, who double-team on both production and rhyming. The two are former members of the local group Shortbus, which they say was a passion project started long before they could hit the bar scene. "When we weren't even old enough to go to Blunt Club, we'd mix beats and freestyle all night long," Ianfluence says.

The duo's latest track, "Ass Dro Not," is a funky combination of backpacker sensibility and outer space antics. The song, from the Earsweat label mixtape available online and at Zia Records, features Ianfluence and Sourpuss talking shit in the cosmos, with sci-fi synths and Wu-Tang trash snares. Throughout the track is a sample from a 1950s cartoon of an announcer making prophetic statements about a heroic cosmonaut.

The Sh!t leans heavy on classic hip-hop approach and old-school pop culture, "Shit people forgot about," Ianfluence says. "We've got stacks of vinyl. I'm a movie person. I dropped out of college, but I took screenwriting classes and film studies. I love old Hitchcock, The Twilight Zone -- just classic pop culture. Today's pop culture is all corny and shit."

Comparisons could be made to psychedelic rap like Del the Funkee Homosapien or Edan, but the two enjoy the invented genre designation of "creep funk." "One of our fans came up with that," Influence says. "After I hear her say that, I thought, 'Yeah, that's exactly what it is.'"

The guys cite classic hip-hop crews like Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and A Tribe Called Quest as sonic guideposts. Their relationship with their label, Earsweat, has a similar group feel. It's a collective endeavor Ianfluence compares to that of the Native Tongues crew which featured '90s hip-hop luminaries like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

"We're down with everybody making music in Phoenix, but we didn't really have an identity," he says. "With Earsweat, we have each other's back creatively. We're all similar but different."

Sourpuss agrees, saying the label has poised The Sh!t to make serious moves. "We're the step-children of Arizona hip-hop and we're growing up. We go between sanity and insanity," he says.

Currently, the duo are stacking up tracks for a new album later this year, their allies right behind them, itching to get at that real sh!t.

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