With his sophomore album underway and alot to say, Izzy Strange gets his day to speak his piece on May 2nd when “A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy” debuts
You know what they say, everybody’s got a story to tell. Now, Izzy Strange takes his turn to jump behind the mic and bring his life to the forefront. Strange has been painstakingly piecing together what could arguably be his breakout project over the past couple of years. His album, “A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy”, is set to debut on May 2nd. The cutting-edge Pennsylvania emcee is also set to embark on a multi-city tour. During that time, he will be joining famed indie artist Hi-Rez for his Missing Pieces show dates. We contacted Izzy with a long list of questions concerning the album and a burning desire to learn what makes him tick. Join us below as we speak with the bad man himself.
THQ: Before getting in-depth with the album and such Izzy, why don’t you let our viewers know a little about yourself and your artistic approach to music?
Izzy Strange: I’m from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Before music was my thing, I was really in to sports (namely Soccer and Basketball). I use my life, the town I grew up in and the way I view the world to influence the music I create. I’m really just a reporter giving my views on the things that surround me.
You’ve put alot into this upcoming album, years worth of work in fact. From personal experiences, solid guest features, top-notch production, stellar videos, etc; you managed to include all the important elements of a classic album. Looking back, what actually started this journey? Once you came up with the idea, how did you go about creating the tracks that would ultimately lead up to AGD2BTBG?
Honestly , this kind of happened in a backwards way. I actually attained the majority of my features before anything. It was just me reaching out, not thinking I’d actually get things to go down and when they did, I knew I had to make something dope to accompany everything. So I knew I had to raise the bar automatically. Which in turn worked out for the best.
At the same time I just put in my head that I was creating something that was finally going work for me, it had to. I’m not giving myself any other option. This is what I want to do and I’m not stopping until I get it. So after the features, I just started filling in the blanks. I was trying to attain a classic album vibe as much as possible from the tracks, from the artwork to the visuals.
One thing that has always been intriguing is how your brothers have always been a pivotal part of your career. You guys are all part of the Beasley’s Corner Bodega. With the recent string of videos, you’ve had the entire collective in the official videos, which are directed and edited by your bro, Zeus. Please gives us a breakdown of the BCB movement, who all is involved and what roles each member plays.
It’s just a collection of home town friends/family trying to make the dream work. Everyone is multi-talented in their own regard but right now in regards to this project, everyone’s focused on trying to get this to break through.
Zeus handles all the Video work as far as filming and editing music videos. He also handles a lot of Photography, which my other brother Chuurch also has been getting in to. All my promo pictures are done by Zeus or Chuurch. They’ve also acted in my past two music Videos.
Casa Nada produced half of the project and we’re actually forming a duo for future releases where either him or I will be the sole producers on the project.
J.Mike is a multi-instrumentalist and producer. He did the score for the trailer.
Butch Cassidy is an artist – he designed my question mark logo as well as some other things I have yet to release that will be put on merch. He has recently been added as my hype man for live performances and has also acted in my last music video.
And overall we just push everything. Share it on social media – try to make connections, etc. No one can succeed solely by themselves. It takes the whole team to make it. So that’s really what the movement is about.
Speaking of the videos, you’ve released two from the album; the “I Used To Love Her” inspired “Real Love” and the “Devil’s Advocate”-based “God’s Got A Gun”. Both visuals were simply brilliant, from the lens angles to the color schemes. You mentioned coming up with the concept for GGAG yourself and then taking the idea to Zeus. Do you guys have a specific formula you follow for putting these together and will be handling all the future videos going forward?
I usually come up with the concept. I take it to Zeus and make sure that the ideas are able to be transferred through camera with what we have to work with. Then, we scout locations. He ultimately brings my visions to life. All angles and color schemes are usually left up to him. I may throw some input in – I knew I wanted colder colors for GGAG , but yeah other than that – the edits and shots are him. The way we’ve been working has being going great so far – so i suppose the formula will stay the same. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
So you were kind enough to slide us an advanced copy of the album and it’s absolutely amazing! There are a few songs I’d like to discuss with you. It’s been eating my mind away for a while now. Let’s visit the Casa Nada-produced, “Everybody Got A Story To Tell”, the perfect song to begin the album with. Over daunting choirs, you go into graphic detail about life. There’s even a few parts in their that were hard to digest.
There’s an excerpt where you speak about selling narcotics to a family member and the turmoil it caused. You speak alot about your upbringing and family. Great examples of this are found on this song and God’s Got A Gun”. It’s one thing to go thru a tough situation but an entirely different one when it comes to putting it to music and sharing them with the public. Was it hard creating these types of songs and what is it you’re hoping people take away from them?
Music has always been a way for me to express myself. I use as a journal. Most of the music that has inspired me has followed this same formula. From 2Pac to Eminem. It’s a way to relate – there’s people out there that may be going through similar situations that you are but we’ll never know unless we talk about it. I feel it can help people realize they’re more a like then they thought. Which I feel is more important than ever in today’s society.
It’s never really been tough to put personal things in my music – sometimes I may wonder how much I want to let people in. I’m definitely more open in my music than I am in real life. Plus, not every situation is directly correlated to my life. I write about all my experiences, it may just be something I witnessed. I’ll leave that to the listeners imagination though.
We’ve been following the singles and videos since “Fall Back” dropped. I’ve personally been following you since your debut album, “Dinner With My Enemies”. However, it was when we got our hands on the album and heard the very first two songs that we know you can craft timeless songs without the aid of a feature. “Making Movies” is the name of the second track and was also produced by Casa Nada.
This is another powerful presentation that reveals alot about your personal life. You have a strong relationship with Nate Fox, a high school friend who now works with Chance The Rapper via The Social Experiment. You’ve worked with Nate going back to very beginning of your career. With this album, we get a real taste of what Casa and you have been cooking up. How did the two of you meet firstly and secondly, what is the creation process like when working with him?
Casa Nada is also from Scottdale. I originally met him at a party (I think) years ago. I knew he was a drummer and was getting more into making beats but nothing really happened between us musically until last year.
He sent me a few beats probably about year before I started working on AGD2BTBG. I listened to them, but then kind of forgot about them. When I started working on the new project, I knew I wanted a new sound, and I remembered one of the beats he sent me had that exact vibe I was looking for. (The album’s first beat actually became “Everybody Got A Story”).
So I decided to hit him back and asked if I could use it. Then after I made Everybody Got A Story, I liked that enough and wanted to see what else we could create together. So I asked him to be apart of the rest of the project.
When we work together, it’s really us working together. He’ll come over and start chopping up samples or show me something he was working on by himself. I’ll give my opinions on what I like or what I don’t, the way a beat should be structured, and/or instruments I’m hearing that need to be added etc. We’re both really hands on and work well with each other. I think we’re about to do some great things together.
It’s been a great year for you so far and it looks like that will continue for the latter half of 2017. So far, you’ve open up for K Camp, will be opening up for B.O.B. and are joining Hi-Rez for a good portion of his Missing Pieces tour. What can one expect to receive when attending an Izzy Strange show set? Also, after the aforementioned shows we just mentioned, what else can we expect from you?
Energy. I’ll give you everything i got on stage. Maybe some sweat too depending on how close you are. You can expect more shows/festivals/and tours. My team and I are constantly on the look for more opportunities.
With music, as it is with many aspects of life, each of us has our own views on things. So the following question we’re going to ask is this. What are you hoping people gain from listening to the album aside from their own outlook of what each song means to them?
Maybe a lesson learned. A feeling of being less alone cause there’s someone else out there that’s just like them or been through things they have. Maybe even it’s just them finding out they have a new favorite rapper. (laughs)
We know you plan on campaigning the album and it’s releases for quite some time this year. Do you have plans in place for the next album? Can we expect anything new to drop from the extended BCB camp?
I’m hoping to have the next project out by next year. I’m already working on that. I can say it will have a similar structure to AGD2BTBG but will be less personal and more heavy. Then after that will be the debut of the duo album between Casa Nada and I which will be very cinematic, I got a lot of ideas for that but i want to garner the right attention/buzz before releasing that.
As far as other BCB material, I’m sure there will be. I know everyone’s got some stuff up their sleeves, but as of right now nothing I can mention specifically.
Izzy, we’re glad to have had you take time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. Before we bring this interview to a close, please take the moment to add in some final words.
I’d to thank you guys for the interview and everyone who reads and supports what I’m doing. It’s truly appreciated. I hope to have everyone’s continued support as the journey is far from over.
A small town native of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Izzy Strange has set the stage for his biggest project to date. With features from Blu, Open Mike Eagle, Eligh (Living Legends) and Mick Jenkins, Izzy Strange is determined as ever to make a lasting impact within the Hip Hop community. As he says on “At Home” – “Iz I never heard of you, sure you’re true but after this I’ll make sure you knew.” Stay tuned for the debut release of “A Good Day 2 B The Bad Guy” on May 2nd.