- “Everybody Got A Story”
- “Might Slip”
- “Real Love” feat. Tahlyn
- “ God’s Got a Gun” feat. Mike Incite
The cover art above made me think of the movie Friday the first time I saw it. Every time I see an ice cream truck I never think of the delicious treats that some stranger driving a box truck will be bringing to my neighborhood. No, I think of Big Worm wanting to kill Smokey over a measly $200 that he owes him (I know, it’s the principal that he owes the money). Once you dig into Worm’s philosophy you see that he’s not really a bad guy but he’s just a man who values his time. He comes off as a bad guy to us because we’ve seen Smokey as a likeable character in the movie. That’s not to say that Worm was wrong for sending a hit squad to kill Smokey and Craig, but that’s besides the point.
Not every person you think is a bad guy is actually bad. Many people appear to be because they’re not afraid to discuss things from an opposite perspective or what we know as “playing Devil’s advocate”. Pennsylvania hip-hop artist Izzy Strange claims to be the bad guy on his new album, titled A Good Day To Be The Bad Guy, but nothing on this project leads me to believe that he’s a bad person. He appears to be a man who’s had a rough history and it’s molded him into the person he is today. As Izzy’s intro claims, “everybody got a story to tell” and his is with nostalgic sounds, wicked flows, and an outsider’s perspective on life.
Pennsylvania is more northeast than midwest but the sounds you hear from AGDTBTBG sound closer to vintage Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Do or Die, and Twista rather than classic east coast hip-hop. Describing the sound of this album was hard during my first couple of plays. It’s not backpack nor boom-bap even though those elements are persistent with flows and drums. To categorize this project sonically would require us to create a new sub-genre of music for hip-hop: grunge. Yes, the same style of music that Nirvana and Kurt Cobain were famous for creating. This album is gritty as it leans on classic hip-hop elements but its overall message is dark with glimpses of hope. Izzy peels back layers of himself on records like “Real Love”, a song that has him hoping the love he has with a woman is true and not a dead end like most relationships. Tahlyn’s vocals are angelic with harmonies and the chorus, becoming the antithesis to Izzy’s gruff tone and pessimistic outlook.
Every good movie has an excellent climax, a part that the whole movie has been building up to. For Izzy Strange it coincides with my point earlier about playing Devin’s advocate. “God’s Got a Gun” features Mike Incite but what stands out the most is Izzy using a clip from the 1997 movie Devil’s Advocate at the beginning and towards the end. Izzy explores religion and why God would play games with your emotions. Incite’s hollow yet haunting chorus complete the song that sees Izzy recounting times he had hope in life but had the rug pulled out from under him.
“God’s got a gun and he’s been drinking heavy/and just for some fun he is aiming at your destiny” -God’s Got a Gun
There are more layers to A Good Day To B The Bad Guy and it will take you several listens to fully digest the topics Izzy has brought up on his latest body of work. You may go in thinking you’re going to hear songs about being the worst possible human on the planet. In reality you get fun records like “At Home” featuring Blu or the Tahlyn assisted “Run ‘em’ thru the Sticks” that serves as a telling of every small midwestern town in the United States. Izzy Strange isn’t a bad guy but he does have a lot more in common with you than you think. Izzy, like many of us, is just a misunderstood person who happens to use hip-hop as his form of expression. We all go through events in our lives that make us look at situations differently. Whatever Izzy has been through has made him more aware than many of us could ever hope to be in life.
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A Good Day To B The Bad Guy Stream: Soundcloud