Who: An unholy indie hip-hop union between former KMD frontman MF DOOM and West Coast uberproducer Madlib. Both underground heroes have a penchant for Method rapping in character (for instance, DOOM’s extraterrestrial with three heads); between them, they’ve recorded more than a dozen albums, compilations, and singles under at least eight different monikers.

Sound like: On Madvillainy, the duo’s debut, DOOM, who often refers to himself in the third person, says they wanted to get more “street.” “DOOM doesn’t curse too much,” he says. “So this would be DOOM with a twist of liquor.” With the mysterious MC covering decidedly earthbound subjects (money, weed, girls) and Madlib shelving his jazz tendencies for a hardcore hip-hop sound, the album is a surprisingly grounded effort from two artists who have claimed to be aliens.

Let his fingers do the talking: Madlib is a man of very few words. DOOM says the sessions were “like a telepathy thing. There wasn’t a lot of talking. Someone would say, ‘Oh, snap,’ or ‘That’s hot.’ Then there’d be the occasional cough.”

Alias: DOOM–who has recorded as Zev Love X, Viktor Vaughn, and King Geedorah–was impressed by Madlib’s use of pseudonyms (Quasimoto, Yesterdays New Quintet). “I was like, ‘This dude’s got more aliases than me!'” Adds Madlib: “This is our imaginary crews coming together.”

related artists Madvillain, Madlib