We begin Izzy Strange‘s album A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy with “Everybody Got a Story,” the perfect scene setter from the Scottdale, Pennsylvania MC. Sometimes where you’re from or the things you’ve had to go through in the past are what people judge you the most harshly on, rather than who you are right now. Even more so, people can write off the fact that you might have had any sort of struggle in your life. Everyone has a story to be told, even Izzy.
You can learn a bit more about Izzy in our interview here.
A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy sounds very old school at its core. There’s a lot of jazz influence to be heard, along with some boom bap and rock. The production sounds like something you could hear on a Royce Da ‘5’9 track which, come to think of it, is a good comparison to Izzy stylistically when it comes to his music. This is heard on “On One” and “No Commercials,” where the latter features a good share of scratching, which some in hip-hop might consider to be a lost art. The nostalgia behind the scratching is powerful and enticing. AGD2BTBG runs for 15 tracks and holds seven features including the likes of Mick Jenkins and Open Mike Eagle. The first feature on the album comes from Blu on “At Home,” and he absolutely kills it. The contrast between Izzy’s deeper and raspier voice and Blu’s more nasally (in a good way) tone makes for a real nice back and forth as they trade bars.
Izzy is a traditional lyricist and he does a nice job at making effective rhymes. He’s clever with his wordplay in a way that isn’t corny. You take him seriously when you hear him rap. There’s something about his voice that makes you want to listen. The way Izzy uses inflections and tone changes is similar to that of Aesop Rock, where no matter what the track, you still want to hear what they have to say; they just straight up sound good over the beat. This is clear on “Fear Is The Leader” where the element that carries the track is definitely Izzy’s voice and his rapping ability. He busts out on a spree of raps where the hook becomes an afterthought. Not to say the hook is bad, either. It’s just that the rapping is so enjoyable.
The first issue that came to fruition on AGD2BTBG is one that isn’t even necessarily a problem. On track nine, “Real Love,” Izzy uses a feature from Tahlyn who’s voice is wonderful in so many ways. Then on track 10, “Run ’em’ thru the Sticks,” we get another Tahlyn feature. The latter however, uses her much more effectively. This isn’t because “Real Love” is bad, it’s more the fact that once we come to “Run ’em’ thru the Sticks” we get to really see what Tahlyn can do. This just leaves us wanting more on “Real Love,” as it’s a much smaller role for her. Spacing these tracks out might have prevented this, but the tracks do flow nicely into each other so you can’t fault that decision. It’s a good thing then that we actually do get three Tahlyn features though, as she comes back to close the album on the title track, and shines with some nice riffs in the background.
Izzy proves to us on the album that he is built with a lot of versatility. He sings hooks to back up his raps in a successful way, he is able to stand out on tracks with big name features, and every track doesn’t follow the same formula. Compare “Trap Musick” to “Rappers Say The Darnedest Things;” two very different tracks that both find their place and fit well on the album. “Trap Musick” seems to stem from some reggae inspirations, with a hook that sounds like it could have been made by Shwayze when they were “buzzin’” (pun intended). It’s a strong highlight that comes in right before the album’s end.
For his second album, A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy is a strong effort. One that Izzy Strange is excited to finally present as he comes into his own. The album is an enjoyable listen and doesn’t even feel like 15 tracks. AGD2BTBG is a breeze and never seems to lull. Izzy is young but stays true to his roots by bringing his old soul into it which really helps tell the project’s story. Sometimes in life you are the bad guy whether you’re doing something bad or not. People are always looking to blame or judge someone, but now it seems Izzy can only be blamed for one thing: Making good music.