Review: Izzy Strange plays it cool on “Izzy Duz It” mixtape

When you reach a certain level of success what’s the best way to maintain it? The answer is simple: work harder. Often times people can get their pat on the back and forget about maintaining their hunger for more. That can be a damning habit to have.

Fortunately for our old friend Izzy Strange that’s not a concern. Following the success of 2017’s “A Good Day 2 Be The Bad Guy” Izzy decided to up the ante and keep the focus on his craft. Even in the midst of crafting his new album, the Pennsylvania MC has found the work ethic to be able to release another mixtape “Izzy Duz It”.

“The majority of the tracks were written and recorded in June of 2018. While working on my upcoming album. “The Die Is Cast”, I felt like I needed to release some thoughts that didn’t fit the concept. Overall, I recorded/wrote 30 tracks during that summer span, narrowing it down to just 11 for the final cut of “Izzy Duz It”. The name itself is in reference to the array of styles the mixtape holds and the Eazy-E album, “Eazy Duz It”. This mixtape is more of an affirmation for myself as an artist and a way to release some of the frustration and anxiousness I was going through. ”

Things begin with the intro “Too Many Cooks”. On this one its clear Izzy is looking to set the tone. There is very little build up and by second 15 the MC is already beginning to drop some bars with purpose. “I come without a warning” are the first 5 words heard and they are fitting as he follows with some unadultered boom bap flows.

Next up is “Bogart”, which is produced by Casa Nada. The vibe on this one is a bit mellow compared to some of Izzy’s other records. That’s not to say the lyrics he hangs his hat on aren’t still there, but the presentation is a little different. The airy vibe of the song gives it a feeling of mysteriousness as he hogs his vice of choice.

We arrive at track 3 with another more laid-back aura from Izzy. Titled “I’m Just Chillen”, the MC crafts just that vibe as he makes a case as to why he should not be your hero. The production from Free Beatz here is one of my favorite beats on the album and Izzy falls into the pocket perfectly on it, particularly on the second verse.

“Something I Said” changes the pace of “Izzy Duz It” a bit in a welcomed way. With the project starting with little time to get acclaimated, although by design, the monologue leading up to the music on this record is needed. I won’t spoil the listen on what was said in it but it leads perfectly into one of the more honest and introspective moments of the mixtape. The way Izzy melodically yet lyrically let’s us in to some of his struggle was well crafted in my opinion.

The strong record is followed by another standout in “Just Me”. Here Izzy is joined by Blu & Sara Fox for another soulful and heartfelt entry. The message here is self love which is one that is always needed. It can be hard to remember to love yourself first in an age where everyone has an opinion. This was the leadoff single for “Izzy Duz It” and for good reason.

One of the better hooks of the album comes on “Even A Broken Clock”. Bliss brings a beat that is reminiscent to the “G Funk” Era with its deep bass lines. This is followed by “Desperado” in which Izzy Strange provides some of the social commentary in his verses that have been a part of his formula for years. The power of the dollar and how it can affect someone is on full display.

Izzy rekindles the chemistry that was developed with Mick Jenkins on “Halfway Crooks”. Following up the Nate Fox-produced “No One But Me”, the trio come back for another standout release. Mick helps to paint a vivid picture that in several ways continue the story from the previous track. If you aren’t going to listen to the whole album, you would be a fool to not even play this one song.

Emani acts as producer for “The World Can Wait” and executes his job with efficiency. A whirling, menacing sample sets the foundation for Izzy to put the whole world on hold. It continues the heavy vibe of the album that often feels like a venting session for which Izzy to clear his mind.

“The Sequel” sees Tedy Andreas join Izzy Strange to bounce some bars back and forward. As we reach the back end of the project the two-part production and strong lyrics from both parties help keep the attention high even 10-tracks in. Definitely a lot of lines here that will take a few listens to fully grasp as they brought the wit.

The project’s closer comes in the form of “Robert Johnson”. Nacho Picasso is the feature and brings a nice contrast with his style when paired with Izzy Strange. The song is strong but I will be honest and say I dont think it was the right pick as the end of the sequence. I feel as though it would have been better served towards the front of “Izzy Duz It” but it is still well worth the listen nonetheless.

All-in-all Izzy Strange comes with enough heat on “Izzy Duz It” to make it a strong effort. He continues the standard set on “A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy” and even shows a lot of growth in some areas. If you are a fan of raw lyricism you should definitely put this album in your rotation.

For more info on Izzy Strange visit his website at http://www.izzystrangeraps.com

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