Spe*cial +izzi (aka Izzi Versatile)’s latest album „Tis’ the season vol2” is a uniquely engaging Christmas hip-hop trailblazer. It firstly might sound a challenge for the commercially trained ears; however, these 9 tracks prove to be innovative, tongue-in-cheek and probably early messengers of the hyper-hip-hop era.
The tracks differ from Izzi’s earlier productions both lyric-wise and in production approach. The album is clever and most importantly meta, layered and requires full attention to understand and hear the fine references.
Let’s see the songs one by one:
This short opening act is a humoresque invitation into the album with playful jingle chime jive and Spe*cial +izzi’s trademark cheeky recitativo.
Track 02: A “Real” M.C (ง︡‘-‘︠)ง
The song starts with heavy pads and eerie-ish vocals making it perfect for any thriller-horror movie soundtrack. Quite interesting mixing leaves the goosebumps and intensity until the second half when as a sforzando the staccato counter vocal changes the outcome of the song.
Track 03: Santa. Let’s Ride.?
Once again a differing mix putting the storytelling verses into the back as well as the quasi chorus. Izzi is creating a duet with pseudo characters whilst telling a fragmented storyline. The main chorus is a catchy tone. The real blast and absolute surprise comes in the extended decrescendo with a dark noir synth play and arpeggio, a remembrance of ‘80s Depeche Mode. Collaborator: Kay Mogul.
This single is the home alone sing-a-long radio hit from the album, easily the most radio friendly. The ironical approach mixed with joy truly felt throughout this self-conversation in which the singer talks to his younger self. The chorus’s chord progression is good catchy, easily whistled and sung even after the first listen. Collaborator: Justarainfall
Track 05: Snow Poo(⊙.⊙(☉̃ₒ☉)⊙.⊙)
It’s an immaculate parody of the hip-hop songs taking themselves too seriously. The broken chorus could easily fit into a late ‘90s Backstreet Boys album. As a performer Izzi really sells it.
Track 06: Wish…ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔ
An oddity among oddities. A tune could be developed into a Mariah Carey piece is being withheld to sustain the expectation for a great expansion and to Izzi’s credit, he smartly doesn’t give in and keeps his artistic integrity with going on a different route. Collaborators: Gianna Juliet and Chiisus.
A chorus brought from the best of ‘90s R’n’B, a simple keyboard sample in the background. At first it sounds like the only open-up from the artist and only the second half offers some usual cheekiness. With a different mix this song would have a second chance to go on charts. Collaborators: Fresskid, Hustie, and Taras Kuznetsov
Track 08: Checkin’ muh List ✍(◔◡◔)
Back into what Spe*cial +izzi’s specialty: the Christmas topic repacked into hyper-hip-hop with a pinch of personal story and an astonishingly well measured performance to balance between over the top and ironic.
Track 09: Unfamiliar Shiny Sparkly Reflections
The outro of the album is chilling and gives respect even to Stevie Wonder. As usual, Izzi utilizes multiple characters from his own persona to duet with, balancing in between humor and a message to which we all should pay attention to. Collaborator: Abu Isa.
Ultimately, we can say the album “Tis’ the season Vol II” by Spe*cial +izzi (aka Izzi Versatile) is a well-thought and edited, partly storytelling compilation of various Christmas-memory related songs.
The concept is easily understandable and one of a kind. On the surface it may sound as giggle, however, it is indeed a multi-layered, meta, hyper-hip-hop experiment, hopefully a predecessor of something even greater and more extended.
Izzi is definitely the artist to pay attention to after his 2021 Christmas special.