Every now and again I check in with producers/engineers that I know are really working on the daily with the artist that are up next in hip hop, to put them on to who I think their sound would match up well with. I like to keep a close contact with the producers that have their ear to the streets, especially when there are very little outlets to hear raw unsigned talent in a city that has yet to appreciate or support its own music scene as they do outsiders. So while texting Keith The Beast (of HamSquad Productions) a producer from Jacksonville, FL, I asked him to “name a new favorite artist from the city” he quickly replied Mizzy Raw, adding that they just had just dropped a new song the day before. He sent me a track he produced on the EP, “Run It”; I listened twice and simply replied “Hot!!”. Sometimes its just that simple, it’s just that easy. The essence of promoting new music is simply the “word of mouth” from a trusted opinion.
I followed Mizzy Raw on SoundCloud and IG and watched him approximately a month before the release of Now What?. I waited to hear more, and on 4/20, he dropped a themed track titled after the national smokers’ holiday. It was later annouced that he was being signed (don’t know exactly what type of deal) and would be releasing an EP in a couple weeks. Then the time had come, on May 4th “Now What?” was made available on all streaming services, but one could not help to wonder the same many artist most likely ask themselves when they are relatively independent and they drop music without being nationally known, “Now What?”.
I didn’t know much about Mizzy Raw upon listening to his EP for the first time. All I knew is that although he is currently working out of Jacksonville, FL, he was originally from somewhere in Pennsylvania. From the outside looking in it would seem that he has a organized team around him and a plan in which to attempt to get him to the next level musically. You can also easily tell that he is a social enriched, bright young guy, who people seem to gravitate to readily. Then you hear his music and the style at which he raps resembles that of a J. Cole, a quick, orchestrated cadence, with precise but heavy word play paired with fluid harmonizing tones occasionally added to make his bars stick to the melody. His flow fits sampled beats and upright bass lines like water in a bottle, conveniently connecting you to his sound.
Now What? opens with vintage piano chords on “Raw Thoughtz“, produced by Dougie, Mizzy describes his thoughts in the bars,
“Hard life, I trying to make it out, is Type of Shit, I think about/
Type of things I think about/ Everything I Think About/
Will I Make It Out?”
Mizzy sets an empathetic tone on the opening track, rapping passionately about pain, the attempts of making it out of poverty, living amongst doubts and watching his family struggle. The vivid imagery in his lyrics gives you a clear understanding of the struggle he faced and the determination he has to turn his tribulations into triumphs.
“Pennies for your thoughts, dollars for your dreams/
Nowadays everything’s a joke, check out the memes”
A quote taken from the current single “Pennies 4 Your Thoughtz“
produced by John Savage.
By the time you get to the third track you would know that Mizzy is on his way toward success within the first listen to the radio ready “Call My Name”, where producer John Savage provides a cool sample while Trisha Anne Padilla’s beautiful background vocals adds the necessary layers that makes up a possible chart topping single.
Although there are only 7 tracks on the project, the high playback attribute of every song makes for a very solid EP; giving “Now What?” lasting life as each song details Mizzy’s style intricately. One of my personal favorites is track 6 “Hidden Motives (Swishers)” produced by Lust, where Mizzy raps rapidly, changes pitch and tones in his verse (ala Kendrick Lamar), and references artists Desiigner, Future, and Jay-Z in a way of his own. The production on “Now What?” is done by Dougie, John Savage, Keith The Beast, Lust and Ville Vermont. Other collaborators include Dre Kahmeyer, Brandon of Proxy Matter, and Marco Rodriguez.
Mizzy Raw is raw talent that is just starting to prime tenderly as his buzz heats up and I expect him to become a household name in the years ahead. “Now What?” has the workings of being a classic project with the only noticeable gripe being that it’s bit short and may have premature marketing that may stunt its initial impact.
A critique by Dame Dozha