Bizz is the quintessential conscious rapper. He embodies the qualities hip hop purists have revered, as he stirs from the new legion of artists who supplement substance for repetitive ad-libs and an overreliance on 808’s. Bizz opts to retain the components of alternative rap music, mirroring the styles of artists like J. Cole, Joey Badass and Kendrick Lamar.
And like these artists, Bizz uses music as a tool to address topics relevant to the lives of everyday people. On This 2 Shall Pass, he tackles issues of oppression, loneliness and poverty, all while illustrating how he’s confronted them. It’s an album of reflection, for he encapsulates these themes to put light on the realities that people like him face. It’s a reality many endure daily, but Bizz ensures us these struggles will, in time, bypass.
The strongest component of the project is Bizz’s transparency. He delves into his deepest emotions, casting on his experiences and growth from his childhood. On “Perfect Son,” Bizz recites — from his father’s perspective — an open letter, acknowledging how hard he’s been as a father. On the second verse, Bizz then recites an open letter to his mother. He apologizes for his absence and admits how much the emergence of her sickness has affected him.
Bizz continues to rest in his reflections on “Little Johnny.” It’s the story of a young, rebellious kid that grows up a the rough neighborhood and, eventually, hits a crossroad in his life. In Bizz’s case, “Little Johnny” symbolizes his story growing up and becoming a young father, and how he resorted to crime to provide for his new family. He details how he planned to rob an artist but stopped after realizing that he would affect somebody’s life, and that they too are someone’s child.
Toward the tail end of the project, Bizz steps outside himself and begins to analyze the societal issues in America. On “Rainfall,” he chronicles the plight of young African American men. Bizz doesn’t question the reason for Black deaths or injustices. He questions God, who he feels is responsible for its manifestation. This song may be a controversial or difficult listen, but it’s one that incites a perspective unheard of from other artists.
The project closes with “City of Dreams,” which opens with President Trump’s speech to his supporters asking, “What do we got to lose?” Bizz explains how the government is restraining people from obtaining success. He admits he wasn’t the greatest student, but he had the vision and drive to obtain success outside the educational system. Rather than going down that path, he opted to live out his greatest aspirations in, of course, the city of dreams — Columbus, Ohio.
This 2 Shall Pass encompasses everything you’d want from a hip-hop project. Outside “Lucy’s 2 Step” and “City of Dreams,” however, most of the project’s beats are under-produced. They lack the glamour to match Bizz’s lyrical abilities but still, he makes up for many of its lapses instrumentally with engaging imagery.
What the project lacks in trendy production, it makes up in lyricism, storytelling and artistry. And though you can hear Bizz’s influences, he shows he’s capable of creating his own unique perspective and sound.
This is easily one of the best projects of the year’s half-way mark, and one that will surface as one of the best in 2017. And as Bizz continues to grow as an artist, his overshadowing will too, bypass.