Exclusive Interview Where you living, where you holdin it down?
I'm posted up right outside of The Atl, down in the dirty dirty… Colli Park Georgia. What is the significance of your name?
The true significance of my name is balance. 4-IZE has 2 intelligent eyes and 2 ignorant eyes. In order to see both sides of the game, you need to have a duality of vision. Also… Everyone has a 3rd eye which is symbolic of the inner mind, subconscious and thought. However, my 3rd eye is so strong that it skipped a grade and is actually now a 4 th eye. I see above and beyond what is perceived as normal. When did you first become introduced to hip hop?
About 1985-1986. I had to have been about 8 years old in the 3rd grade. Hip Hop and rap music was fresh on the scene and was making a major break through around the early to mid 80's. Back then I watched way more television than I'd listen to music. So when I saw Krush Groove, Beat Street and Breakin 1 & 2, IT WAS A WRAP!!! Each movie captured the growth and development of the hip hop movement within the inner city and brought it to the mainstream. I was raised in a majority white suburb on the Westside of Chicago, so television was the only way for me to identify with a black culture that I had limited access to. What artists/people in your life intrigued you to start emceeing?
I grew up on many artists who inspired me to love rap and Hip Hop (Run DMC, Slick Rick, Boogie Down Productions, Eazy E, Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Luke & 2 Live Crew, Eric B & Rakim), but there is only one person that I know is the reason I ever started writing and took it seriously. My homeboy Kavos Myvett. He was the 3 rd member of the group that Ludacris and I were in back in Chicago when we started rapping. The 3 of us were leaving the Morp (a high school party at O.P.R.F) and I was rapping the lyrics to a Digital Underground song called "Freaks Of The Industry." Kavos told me that I had a really good rapping voice and since he also rapped, we should start a group. That was my freshman year of high school, 1991. How would you describe your style?
The best of both worlds without the child pornography! HaHa!!! No really… I like to call it the perfect blend of entertainment and education. I like to shock the crowd with thought provoking ideas and commentary. I'm also a sarcastic rapper, or so I've been told. I'll say something that has a double meaning so that it is left up to you as the listener has to decide with meaning or reference is suitable for you. Kind of like how the bible has all those metaphors and parables, I say one thing while pointing to another. What artists are you currently going to be working with?
Just finished up a song with Yola Da Great. That sh*ts gonna be HOT!!! Brandon from Jagged Edge, Killa Mike, #2 & The White Jesus just to name a few. Who would you enjoy to work with?
Immortal Technique, Ludacris, Fabolous, Common, Kanye West, 50 Cents, Mos Def, Chingo Bling, T-Payne, J Holiday, Ray Lavender, Beyonce (to the 9th power), Alicia Keys, Goapele, Linkin Park, Goo Goo Dolls, Prince, and Quincy Jones to name a few. Tell me about your current projects, whens your album drop?
Well... M.F. Doom just re-released his 'Mmmm Food' album and I'm featured on there, I'm on a Lil Jon song called 'I'm A J', with Fabo & Gucci Mane, I just jumped on Yola Da Great's new single, and I'm on a song wit Juvenile & DJ Unk for Chicago's own DJ Pharris album. Also, I just dropped my independent debut solo album (Fantastik 4-IZE) in the Atlanta & Chicago markets and available on iTunes. Who is doing the production?
A bunch of new and up and coming talented dudes: Omen, L.T. Moe, The Honorable C Note, Ty Cutta, Montana Trax, Floyd The Locsmif, Morgan The Mexican & J. Igloo. Who are your favorite producers?
RZA (circa 93), NO I.D, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, J Dilla & Havoc (Mobb Deep). What producers would you like to work with?
Right now I like Polow The Don, Dj Cannon, Colli Park Records got some hot producers, Kanye, Just Blaze, Timbaland, Juicy J & DJ Paul. What one reason would you give your fans, to go out and buy your album?
Its a timeless classic. I would say that because I spent four years making the album, that it wasn't thrown together with whack ideas and a bunch of bullsh*t freestyles. I made sure it had good balance so that I would be respected in the hood and yo grandma could still go out and by this album. It has a down south appeal but its full of substance and consciousness as well.. Will you be doing any touring? What shows/events are you going to wreck?
Right now I'm just doing a bunch of spot dates. If its a date open, I'll be in the spot doing a show any where. Mainly I'll be doing a lot of back and forth between Chicago and Atlanta to keep my buzz up and further brand the name with this handsome face. Ha Ha! What would you say makes you different from the average MC?
The fact that I don't wanna say what everyone else is say. I wanna be different and stand out apart from the fads and gimmicks. And I wanna make good music maybe more than I wanna make money or be famous. For me to be able to reach so many people and touch on something that could make a perfect stranger feel me and identify with where I'm coming from is the one of the biggest parts of communication. Its how we know that we're not alone. To share my world view and experiences in hope to improve on the conditions within society. What emcee's do you currently listien to?
Anybody that's really spittin that fyre!!! I like the underground artists that are hungry to get they're shine:#2 & The White Jesus (Chi), Phillip Morris (Chi), M.P. (Alabama), Jae Ellis (Ind/Atl/Phi), Get Lo (Atl/Bama). I also be on that Talib Kweli and who ever be writing Lil Wayne shit! They Dope! Whats your formula, how do you come up with the concepts for your songs?
I normally like to have the beat 1st. The beat is my friend. Then I'd listen to it repeatedly until the track tells me what it wants me to say over it. Sometimes I may already have an idea and just need the right beat to help convey the message I wanna get across. My formula is simple: every rap verse is normally 8, 12, or 16 bars. The first 2 bars need to be hot enough to grab the attention of the listener. The last line of the verse should be that Mortal Combat finishing move that makes everyone remember how raw yo verse was.And when in doubt, I just try to be an idiot with an intellectual twist. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years in hip hop?
I will be one of the most critically acclaimed lyracists and sought after song writers of the this millennium.By that time I will have sold about 20 million records, with at least 2 featured appearances in major motion pictures. I will have also taken up an active roll in the community as a motivational speaker to encourage the youth of the next generation to make a worthy contribution for humanity. Where do you see hip hop in 5 to 10 years?
I have a very positive outlook on the future of Hip Hop but its going to take a collective effort from everyone. Hip Hop will soon be the musical centerpiece for marketing and promoting to consumers. In 10 years there will be more adults with decision making capabilities in positions of power who were raised on Hip Hop and identify with the culture enough to effectively steer it in the right direction. Right now Hip Hop is in a spiritual war and we're fighting to save our soul. The music with a meaning is for the rhyme and reason, but big labels are pumping out and promoting bulls*t songs with no substance and negative messages. THIS MUST STOP IMMEADIATELY!!! So you have any final words for our community and the prospects of hip hop?
Thank You for having an interest 4-IZE and allowing me a few moments of your time. Take pride in who you are and where you come from. Do not forget what those before us sacrificed for us to be where we are now. Each one teach one. Be open minded. Remember The Triple H Laws: Be Honest, Be Humble but Be Hungry!!! God Is Good To The Playaz... Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/4izessp