Ize Interview for Papertrail Mag Issue 4
by Luke Lauren
You came from Bridgeport, moved to Brooklyn in 2012. Have you always pursued a musical journey?
I made my first mix when I was eight. My dad was a DJ, so I couldn’t avoid dance music. My mother listened to a lot of salsa so I took a liking to reggaeton because it was horny... artists like Tego, Baby Rasta, Speedy, Pre “Despacito” Daddy Yankee Pre “Barrio Fino” Daddy Yankee Etc. I don’t even speak Spanish like that. My favorite rappers growing up were Big Pun, Jay-Z, Max & French...od Max & French & 50. I take favor to a lot of new artists as well but I mainly influence myself (shoutout Color Plus & Acemo).
Your influences gave you a good sense of rhythm though, right?
Exactly, that’s what (reggaeton) built - which is kind of balanced in my music in general. My lyrics are free form..I’ve always been a writer so I take pride in applying all that to myself as an entity.
You’ve been here (NYC) for five years. Can you say you’ve experienced any changes in musical style since then?
My music background here was mainly in electronic music. I only deal with producers and DJ’s. I don’t fuck with rappers like that. (Unless you good good $$) I turn down features left & right. If you look at my discography, Soundcloud, anything (Izeman 1,2 & 3, Who the Hell is Me) no features. Like 50 fuckin’ songs.
I engineered a lot of kids’ stuff back in Bridgeport and tried to do artist development. I’m not going to name drop.. they know who they are. I also produce - I produced a majority of my material, I produced the shit we’re listening to right now.
How have you perceived rap to have changed in the past 5-10 years?
It’s ignorant.. (laughs) but it’s heavy. It’s natural, people just go crazy. People just be off the shits sayin’ whatever the fuck & it’s beautiful. Before it was like Eminem talkin’ irrational shit. Then we got to SPG jackin “suck a n*gga dick for a 2011”. Now it’s niggas literally making songs out of adlibs it’s amazing. A lot of this shit wouldn’t exist without people like SGP, Soulja Boy, Lil B, Chief Keef, Gleesh.
Lil B definitely showed kids a free formula. So much content. Rap’s crazy because you forget how you got into it. Like people deadass lie a crisis to explain why they got into something knowing 9 times out of 10 you just started bopping your head to the shit. When you’re a kid (speaking for myself) you probably don’t give a fuck about the history of the content - you just like it. Especially in the hyper times we live in now. Man people just want more and more. They want to see more guns, more sex, more money, more chains, more Gucci. They want to breathe the fantasy so they make role models out of people who may or may not have it. The internet’s a fuckin’ matrix.
We come from a generation that watched rappers make millions off of physical sales, CD sales, endorsements, etc. It’s different now.
Now rappers either got money or they might have money so you think they got money. Like, before you used to be able to tell if a rapper was lit - you see ‘em on tv, the charts all the time. Fire. Now you get a good enough filter every diamond look real. End of the day everyone gets fucked, can’t name how many artists got screwed by labels so be careful
Do you want to keep making music? What would you define your path to happiness as?
Can’t see myself not making music and I’m type young to know what true happiness is so I try not to underestimate or under analyze happiness. (Which is why I’m a fuckin bum) I used to do a lot drugs and i don’t now so that makes me happy. I want a island, a oil rig & a church and a billion dollars.
What do you think happened that changed that, how are rappers getting paid now?
Again, the Internet. It’s much easier to brand yourself as a business than it was 10 years ago. My name’s got a tax ID smh. Shows, endorsements, merchandising..shit like that’s what’s banking. Labels don’t sign million dollar advances unless your influence is already there. Don’t take a $15,000 advance, $30,000 advance if you don’t have it in your account.
An ill label I’m down, I’m planning a release with NON (fire individuals). Labels that take care of their people and put your music in places where it’ll make money are diamonds in the rough. I don’t want to force that though - I just want to be copied, you know what I mean? Like my music’s already out there and then younger artists want to do shit like me.
Being a personality...that’s important. It’s pretty much the only reason why you like artists as people. It’s the only reason you hate artists as people.
Why do you say that?
I don’t support any of the allegations towards a lot these new rappers, it’s nasty. Man Kodak Black’s a great rapper but you know he did some uncool shit. Ugly side of it though rappers were never really good people in highlight. People bless Tupac (R.I.P), but he like - shot niggas. It was passionate but (To my understanding) He did that shit cus people were hyping his head. You look at dudes old interviews and he was a sweet kid - like mad sweet. He didn’t have to die for that shit. But he lived that life, earned those stripes & that was the result. You could really deadass actually argue he did all that as a career choice. That’s wild. Heath Ledger put himself in the looney house to be the Joker - Tupac shot a cop to be a rapper. It’s crazy as hell. You could tell who really living that life. It’s easy to call a liar.
Me, personally, I don’t give a fuck about all that. I’m just trying to spread my love, spread my hate & eat pussy.
How do you represent yourself through your music?
It’s about giving a personality - giving a personality that you can’t copy. I just tell people it’s my language and if you understand it you smart. I love the people that try to, and I love the people that don’t. My voice is an instrument at the end of the day. The producer/engineer side of me knows it developed the monster. My shit used to be dry, you know? It used to be wack as hell, and then it just wasn’t one day and I just kept going hard on that. I was never afraid to be or considered me myself wack (Lol). So it wasn’t gonna be wack. It went from nobody listening to my shit to BBC Radio. I’m addicted to goin harder. Harder, deeper, thicker...worse. Til’ my hair falls out, til’ my fingernails fall off, harder. I consistently take different approaches making music - I took a step back from writing and free styled majority of my lyrics for a while because I was losing the ugly. My music prior to that time was coming out more logical than entertaining. I’m not saying that’s a problem but I’m not dumb, so why not do both? The new shit I’m doing is a stream of consciousness under revision. So to me it’s perfect. My shit stems from my ideas of a chimera. I make music that’s hard and hot. That’s why young me loved reggaeton it was mad horny. I was force fed a lot of electronic music, jungle, house, etc. My mom worked full time and my dad was a DJ. He would mix for hours & like babysat me like that so I