You might already know Bristol based rapper El Bizzy (formerly Stil Bizzy) from his work with The Aristocrats, or if you’re lucky enough to have been in attendance at any of our ‘The Reload Presents’ nights you’ll have witnessed his mic skills live in the flesh. If not, however, then his most recent EP Worcester Sauce will give you a pretty good introduction to what he’s all about. Whether he’s crooning over melodic, lo-fi beats or rattling off machine gun flows over more traditional boom bap, he’s a rapper who rides the riddim with consummate ease. Stylistically he keeps it simple with cleverly crafted bars and flows aplenty – a sure-fire recipe for success. On this project Bizzy uses these ingredients to cook up a collection of tracks that are enjoyable and intriguing in equal measure.
The opener, ‘Window’, is wistful in parts and it gives us an insight into his mentality. The maturity of a lyric like “avoid all the turbulence keep your head screwed on/ avoid the madness then keep distribution” is refreshing to hear from a young British MC. El Bizzy also uses the track to give us an insight into some of the struggles he’s faced, repeating the lyric “Sat in North Africa next thing we flown out/ I got told there was no hope in my hometown/ All for the best clear the path like a snow plough/ come up on my ones so you know that they’re so proud” to give it its full emphasis. It’s delivered with a triumphant resilience, a self-assured statement that doesn’t ask for any sympathy, but lets the listener know that they’re dealing with an MC who is unapologetic about the struggles he’s faced to this point.
Where ‘Window’ is melancholy, all minor chords and percussion, the next track ‘Poison’ is a jazzy, laid-back number – although musically it retains some of that same morose depth. Bizzy uses this as a platform to display his mic skills, switching seamlessly between the gears as he speeds up and slows down his flow whilst delivering multi-syllabic rhymes. On ‘Settings’ meanwhile, he recruits Axel Holy and the two of them deliver lip-curled, snarling verses, as Bizzy gets a “few things off [his] chest” whilst letting you know that he “ain’t impressed”.
What’s particularly impressive is the way he switches between deep introspection and more outward looking lyrics. ‘Missed Call’ and ‘National Treasure’ represent two tracks on which he does more of the former, tackling subjects that give you insights into his mature and mellow personality as he raps about trying not to follow the wrong path in pursuit of the bag, and reflects on his relationships.
The album closes with ‘No Time’, a beautifully constructed track with a multi-instrumental melody and a hook sung in the soulful hip-hop style of Tom Misch. It’s a banger in every sense of the word, one you can imagine hearing on the mainstream radio and sticking in your chill vibes playlist in equal measure. Above all, it’s a fitting end to an EP on which El Bizzy reaffirms his considerable talent as an MC and his ability to switch up his style. Here’s hoping for more to come from him very soon.
Standouts – Settings, National Treasure
Rating – 4/5