If you’re talking Northampton, Izzie Gibbs has to be mentioned. An absolute grafter in his scene who’s been building a name for himself, not only locally, but nationally and internationally, for the last 6-7 years. After first proving himself a worthy MC through various freestyles and cyphers, Izzie has been through the Don’t Flop scene, sharpening his tools against other artists, and is now firmly riding in his own lane, releasing various projects which display him as the unique voice in UK music that he is.
Through his years of activity, Izzie has become renowned for his dizzying cadence and brutally honest lyrics. Lacing his lyrics over any style beat at a tempo that will leave you tongue tied if you’re trying to follow along in the car, Izzie raps about his truths, whether it be street life, family, or the music scene. The way these truths are conveyed is something that can only be appreciated. They’re never diluted.
In the lead up to the release of ‘96LS‘, Izzie released ‘Obviously’ – an absolute powerhouse of a track which showed how ready Izzie is to progress from being a brand name within his scene, to becoming a household name – an artist that’s ready to go from a side stage, to a main stage. From an undercard act, to the main event.
’96LS’ only serves to continue the trend. A 6-track strong EP packed full of signature Izzie Gibbs style. Throughout the project we get an insight into the life of Izzie. The stress, the streets, the inspiration, and why he continues to push hard to realise his dreams. It feels to me like a journey from start to finish, starting with the punchy lead single ‘Flaca’. A track that straight away opens the listener up to the struggles and battles in Izzie’s life.
“Born in 96 so no luck, nuff L’s, but man had love, shout mum.”
The EP’s second track ‘Little Snitch’ opens up with a Patois intro, before turning into what can only be described as live-show-shutdown track. Packed with heavy bass and drums, Izzie slows down his flow, creating a track that sounds ready to shutdown not only his coming headline show at the Camden Assembly, but any event he plays at.
Following on is my favourite track not only of the project, but of all of Izzie’s releases – ‘Roads’. For me, lyrically, it’s some of his best work. The content of the lyrics offers so much detail into his life. The struggles, the lifestyle, and admission of having to live a lifestyle he’d much rather have avoided. During the first verse (1:18 to be precise), the flow is switched up to 1,000% as Izzie almost concusses the beat with his trademark speedy flow.
“Cause my mum and siblings need me alive, I risk my freedom so we survive, pure pain in my iris, I don’t see the light, do you think that I like this? Wish I could leave behind all these sleepless nights…”
‘Felonies’ & ‘People‘ almost wrap up the EP with similar incredible flows, beats and lyrical content, before leading into the closing track ‘Guilty’. A track which displays a side of Izzie that doesn’t seem often explored, but a side that his style suits well. A dancehall-esque sound making reference to a woman who’s down to ride, regardless of the situation.
“She don’t care if I’m guilty, she’s always there and she will be, and I love her to the death, if I put her to the test she’s gonna kill me”.
It’s a style of Izzie that I’m hoping we get to hear more of in the future. It displays his versatility as an artist, that he’s able to step away from the style he’s renowned for, try something new and make it work well. It’s bold, it’s brave, it’s effective.
This project isn’t an artist trying to do a victory lap, it’s a project by a criminally underrated artist that is open to the fact that there’s still more work to be done to get to where he wants to be. It’s a project in which through various different references, Izzie displays where his true loyalty lies, why he does what he does – his family and friends. His people.
Izzie Gibbs ’96LS’ is available to buy and stream now. Listen below.