Review: Izzy Strange welcomes you into the mind of the “bad guy”

Throughout time you may see quite the pattern as it pertains to hip-hop. Traditionally speaking the “bad guy” has always been glorified. From the rebellious ways of Run DMC, the glory days of gangsta rap with Eazy E and others, to more recent examples like 50 Cent and Future, the game allows for rule breakers to get there shine. With such a lane open its no secret that some people find no issue in embracing their own inner-asshole and rolling with it.

One rapper going all in, while also exploring how he became the “bad guy” is Izzy Strange. The Pennsylvania-born MC comes with his latest release “A Good Day 2 Be The Bad Guy”. On it we get to examine Izzy from his own perspective as he gives it to us in lyrical form. The tone is set from the start with “Everybody Got A Story”. “Have you ever sold your mother cocaine? Then don’t act like you know the problems in my brain.” Questions and tales like these bring about a world of thought. This confessional-style release kicks the project off well and prepares the listeners for what’s to come.

The album carries a certain Jazz influence throughout which is a good look. That sound mixed with elements of that old school boom bap we all know and love create the pallet for which Izzy Strange can shine. As more of a traditional lyricist who isn’t going to experiment with his style of delivering bars, the production does help to carry the album at times. “No Commercials” in specific sticks out to me in the beat category as the scratches from DJ Mals adds a touch that is sure to get your head nodding. Props must go out to all producers – Nate Fox, Casa Nada, Netherfriends and Danny G for their contributions.

Another thing that is noteworthy on AGD2BTBG is Izzy Strange’s penchant for picking strong features. Every person he calls on to assist fits as perfect as Stockton and Malone on a 90’s Jazz squad. Blu brings the bars on his appearence, Tahlyn pulls triple duty with melodic contributions and additions from Eligh, Open Mike Eagle and others provide a dynamic level of contrast.

My personal favorite record on the set brings a high profile feature in Mick Jenkins. Titled “No One but Me”, the song is produced by Nate Fox. The track acted as a part of the album rollout as a lead single, and rightfully so. It’s a great message as both artists stress the point that better things lie in all of our lives if we just work to attain them. Definitely the standout to me for several reasons.

The album closes with the title track. Though it contains features from Tahlyn and Red Pill this is still one of the joints that are most true to Izzy. It’s a record that like most of the project provide a level of introspect that can be felt in your spirit. We are able to glimpse into the mind of Izzy Strange to better understand what makes him tick and why he tends to think the way he does currently. Thus leaving the listener with a feeling that they come away with a better grasp of Izzy as a man and artist.

As far as drawbacks go, the biggest knock I have on the project is that from time to time Izzy Strange’s flow can become hard to hear. His voice is a good one for rap, but at times he can speed up his flow which makes it a bit inaudible. This is minor though as it is not something that happens very frequently, but it is something that I noted.

All in all I would consider the project strong from start to finish. Throughout we are given lyrically capable tunes that are cohesive in their execution. It’s a great look into the artist from an objective standpoint. It has been stated that Izzy has been working on this project roughly 2 years and from listening it is obvious. The effort and thought is on full display, making this one indie album most lovers of hip-hop should find in their rotation.

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