Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!
Hailing from Baltimore, Bandhunta Izzy is the definition of a real hip-hop artist, putting on for his city similar to how Biggie and Tupac put on for theirs. Growing up on the streets and left alone, trapping is all he knew. While he’s happy to be out of that situation, Izzy’s plan is to come back and save the rest of his people — using them as pure motivation to get to the top. Read more…
With his spitfire flow, relentless bars, and vivid storytelling, fans couldn’t help but fall in love with the 21-year-old. Signing to Republic Records just last year, Bandhunta Izzy proves he’s just getting started.
For those who don’t know, who is Bandhunta Izzy?
I’m just a 21-year-old from Baltimore, Maryland. Just a realist. Someone who speaks what he’s been through and what’s really going on. I don’t try to sugarcoat nothing. I’m just a down-to-earth, humble person.
Is that your real name?
Yeah. Just kidding. It’s not my real name, but it’s my name. It came off of my real name. My mother was always calling me Izzy since I was younger, so that always stuck with me.
What about Bandhunta?
Bandhunta, that came from one of my man’s older cousin. His name was G-Stacks. He was like a big homie on the block. He had got set up and killed and his Instagram name was Bandhunta, so everybody just took the name.
You’re from Baltimore, how does that play into your music?
Basically, you’re getting a Baltimore story. For real. You’re hearing stuff that goes on in Baltimore. You’re hearing stuff that nobody else really talk about before. ‘Cause the only real light that we had on Baltimore was The Wire and that was so long ago. People don’t know what’s really going on in Baltimore.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound kinda like… it’s different. Nobody came with that sound yet. It’s a Baltimore sound. Not even a Baltimore sound — we don’t even have our own specific sound, but it’s just like versatile. I could switch lanes and talk about basically everything.
How important is it to come to Los Angeles as an up and coming artist?
I don’t know. LA is like a dream for people in Baltimore. Ni**as don’t really be leaving they city in Baltimore, for real. Just for me to be on damn near the other side of the world is just crazy. When I’m playing with the music, it’s a lot of people that popping from LA with the music. So it’s just a good opportunity to get a different feel, different type of beats, production, all of that.
How did you react to the people comparing you to Chicago drill?
I really don’t take it no type of way because I feel like we got the same type of stories as Chicago. You could see what they go through, it’s like you just don’t see what Baltimore going through. So when people say that, it’s like, “Alright.” And one my favorite rappers in G Herbo.
I interviewed him at SXSW. He’s so raw.
I listened to him a lot coming up. Like, I was only listening to that ni**a. Well, I was listening to Gucci and him, but the biggest influence on me was him.
Have you guys worked together?
Nah. Lately, he just called me on FaceTime and said he was just talking about me. So that was like a big ass part of my career I feel like.
Talk about your project Code Blue. What do you want fans to get from your story?
Code Blue is telling more of the street aspect of what going on. It’s music from two years ago on there, so you really knowing what was going on. I just really want people to really get a different understanding. I tell WHY we doing certain stuff and everything, not just glorifying violence and selling drugs and none of that. But I’m telling what made you do that. I just want people to get the real meaning behind my story.
Your record “BBB” is a slap. How does it feel to hit over 2 million on YouTube?
That was a minute ago. That was me and my nigga Sleepy. That was going crazy in the city. That shit had the city going crazy. I ain’t never expect for me to even hit 100,000 on YouTube. So me getting 2 million, that shit cool.
What is your take on the music industry?
It’s fake for real. I feel like you can’t take nothing personal in the music industry. You can’t treat it like you would treat somebody that you would actually fuck with. Me, I’m a genuine person. So if I fuck with you, then I’ma fuck with you genuinely. But most people in the music industry is just business. So they gonna do some shit that you gonna feel some type of way about, but you just can’t take it personal.
Talk about signing to Republic Records.
I signed with Republic a little minute ago, probably about 9 months ago now. That came about from my man Will, WillThaRapper. He’s signed up there. He did a song and they wanted to push it as a single, but I was featured on there. Once they seen me on there and we made a video for it, they ended up wanting to sign me too. So they ended up signing me. That was a big part of my career too.
You’re only 21, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, shit. I don’t feel like I need to be rapping no more. I feel like I need to be so big to the point where I’m grabbing other people from my city and putting them on. I need to be doing some investments, probably get into some movies or something.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is important for anybody’s career because that’s basically the biggest marketing platform in the world. Even kids like… Toys R Us is shutting down because of the technology now. You need social media, but you can’t take social media serious. Because somebody can portray to be something they’re really not. It’s only what people show you. So you just post the right things and market yourself the right way, that’ll help you a big part.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Nowadays, a day in life, I might do some interviews. Might go to the studio. Damn near the studio everyday. Basically, 6 hour sessions. Whole day sessions. Might go the club — gotta host, appearance, perform or some shit. It just depends on the day and what’s on schedule but usually it’s just in the studio.
Are you running Baltimore?
What you mean by that?
Are you poppin’ in Baltimore?
Oh yeah. I’m one of the biggest artists in Baltimore. It’s a couple other artists that’s big but when you talking about the biggest artists, I’m one of the biggest.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Nothing. I don’t know what I’d be doing honestly. If I wasn’t doing music… I don’t know. Because I still got homeboys that was just in the situation I was in and I see that they not doing nothing. They still on block. They still selling drugs. They still getting shot at. They still shooting. So I’d probably be in that situation.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
I was walking out a store in the mall and the fan was walking out the other store. And she started crying and stuff and I took some pictures with her. That was cool. That’s when I realized this shit is real.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Shit. Probably Kodak right now.
Kodak hard. What’s your favorite song?
Matter of fact, let me look at the playlist right now. [looks at phone] I kind of like… “Change My Ways.”
Herb. But he told me to send him some shit to get on. I sent him some shit, he just ain’t get on it yet. Hopefully he get on them bitches and fuck with them.
Anything else you wanna let Young California know?
Go tune into that Code Blue that dropped this January. I’m bout to drop another tape. That shit about to be epic. It’s going to be way better, even though the other one was good too. It was great. Tune in on the social media, of course, because that’s where you gonna see the latest and greatest things.