Like a highly trained Shaolin monk, this issue has many styles. And many of our featured artists are masters and leaders of their respective styles and movements. And most have combined multiple styles to create a new one. RZA put his two loves, hip-hop and kung fu flicks, together and created the Wu-Tang Clan, becoming its self-appointed leader and arguably the master of New York's grittiest period of hip-hop. To sing the hook on Ghost's "After the Smoke Is Clear," RZA recruited William Hart, leader of the Delfonics and master of Philly's sweet-soul period. Nite Jewel looks to the past for inspiration, whether '80s synth pop or the recording techniques of experimental-music pioneer Brian Eno, who quickly rose to fame during his brief stint in Roxy Music, the art-rock band formed by painting student Bryan Ferry. Ferry, who was mentored by England's most famous pop artist and collagist, likened Roxy Music to that of a collage: all of his interests-art, fashion, women, and music-mashed together. With two different phases of music, Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music would influence countless musicians and bands. Another influential figure whose name never fails to show up is the late J Dilla, who is pinpointed as influence number one by Bilal, who noted, "J Dilla pulled from all different genres, and he had a record collection like I've never seen before...rock, jazz, electronic, everything. And he mixed it all into what he did-which was hip-hop." Bilal would absorb this multi-style influence and return the favor to his protege, Jesse Boykins III, who is sharing his philosophy through his Romantic Movement, recruiting artists like Mara Hruby along the way. J Dilla's music spurred multi-instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson to interpret his songs for orchestra, enlisting Dilla cohort Karriem Riggins to add that beat. Ferguson finds himself as Los Angeles' most in-demand arranger and recently collaborated with the Gaslamp Killer, who is leading L.A.'s turntable scene with his Low End Theory night. Leroy Sibbles was not only the lead singer of the Heptones but also the musical director of Studio One, where he brought a new bass style to reggae. Sinkane brings together many styles and genres-polyrhythmic Afrobeat and modern electronic-to create his unique, indefinable music that sets him apart on the dance label DFA. Danny Alias brought together his love of spoken word, parody and humor, promotion, and house music to create the brief but influential dance label Persona Records. Portland's Pleasure was pleased with the label support from Crusader Wayne Henderson but always stuck to their guns and championed their own polished and funky blend of R&B and jazz. Last but not least, influential Bay Area rapper Mac Dre had two creative periods in his short career, including pioneering the long-lasting hyphy movement, a subculture that combined its love of cars, partying, music, and dance.