(On “How To Rob”) “Do yourself a favor and watch the full video” – The FADER
“Bandhunta Izzy Is Putting the Baltimore Spin on Chicago Drill” – Vice
Baltimore rapper Bandhunta Izzy rose as one of his hometown’s most exciting young artists in 2016 when he started to gain traction from a slew of beat-jacking lyrical showcases. Though rap was not initially on the agenda, the 22-year-old West Baltimore native born Israel James always had a gift for creativity. In school, one of the only subjects that consistently commanded his attention was art, where he excelled. What started as illustrating at home as a hobby grew into Izzy using his own body as a canvas as he began tattooing himself and friends.
But at age 15, he switched his creative focus to rap and joined a group called BME (Brothers Must Eat). At 18, Izzy made the leap to solo artist and began studying the likes of young drill artists like Chicago’s G Herbo. Around this same time, Baltimore’s identity as a viable destination for rap talent was beginning to form. Lor Scoota and Young Moose had a stronghold on the Baltimore street rap scene with their hits “Bird Flu” and “Dumb Dumb.” Those two tracks generated national visibility for Baltimore artists but, more importantly, it was a tangible example of what artists from the city could become, and surpass. Izzy internalized this and began uploading solo tracks online. The response wasn’t what he’d hoped for but he kept his hunger in tact, all while actively sharpening his skills. Now, like Herbo, Izzy’s raps are a constant onslaught of listing off his favorite weapons, expressing love for his close friends, and thankfully looking back at a lifestyle he was able to escape.
In September 2019, Izzy turned heads around the industry when he dropped “How To Rob,” a modern update of the 50 Cent song of the same name. Released with a Cole Bennett-directed video, “How To Rob” finds Izzy taking playful shots at some of the most popular names in the rap game, flexing his lyrical muscles to rib rhymers like Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, Gunna, and more. With over 5 million on-demand streams and 3.3 million YouTube views, “How To Rob” established Izzy as a rapper to watch ahead of his upcoming Pretty Gangster EP, hitting stores this Fall.