I first heard Ronald Luellen AKA Iz Real's unique rhyme styles a couple of years ago - I heard about him via myspace - he was starting to put his poems over some of my favorite producers music (ie. s.maharba, dj dredi) and i was really into it! check out his stuff immediately if you care about hip hop at all.. he has a lot to say and does so in a unique way, genuine stuff i think.
Q: where are you from?
A: I was born in Louisville, Kentucky if you can believe it. Then we a was still a baby shittin’ in diapers my family moved to a town outside of St. Louis, Missouri called Desoto. That’s were I grew up, and that’s the place call home even though I have been in Atlanta, Georgia for about 9 years now. I love “THE A” but the local music sucks. SMH. i think the fact that i'm a black guy and no one can tell where i'm from intrigues my audience. no one thinks i'm from st. louis or atlanta because i talk right most of the time. lol.
Q: when did you start writting poems?
A: About 3 years ago yo.
Q: when did you first start setting them to beats - did someone approach you with beats or did you seek out music to accompany your words?
A: About 3years ago as well yo. I was hanging out with O-slick, and Shadow 2 (of the shadow huntaz) and I just wanted to be down so I started writing after they played some of there songs. We all worked together at a grocery store called Kroger, and I thought it was amazing that these guys with so much skill worked with me. I just wanted to tag along so one day slick told me to write some rhymes. I stole a note pad from work and wrote the rhymes and read them for him and they came out real fast. I said man how am I gonna say this. He said just like that and laughed.
Later that week I heard “black ice” on def poetry jam and I said yo!!!!, that’s what I sound like so I decided that I should be a spoken word peot. Lol
Later that month we recorded our first song together fittingly called “that what it is” lol. Then I stole a beat from “THE ROOTS” album and recorded my first solo joint called “battlen’ with satan”. I made a myspace page and a myrawkus page and put it up on there. I met Dj Dredi and I asked him “do you want to re-mix it” he said something to the tune “Hell yeah send that shit over”. I sent it a few weeks later but S. Maharba remixed it. I put it on my myspace page and then the next thing you know I had like 160 beats in my inbox. Lol. HA!!!!!
Q: in what type of environment do you write most of your material?
A: well,…… anywhere. I write at work, when I’m taking a shit, I make up rhymes and memorize them when I’m making love slash/F*&^ing my woman so I won’t climax to quick. I wrote on the bus, I write e-mail to myself with rhymes on my phone while I drive, and in my room. Everything inspires me to write. And when I say everything I mean everything dun dun from you, to dog doo doo. I think that’s what separates me from the average person/poet/mc. Iz will talk or spit about everything yo.
Q: what do you do when you aren't writting/recording/being store manager at kroeger?
A: I sleep; watch porno, TV., kung-fu flicks, and I love to play basketball. Lately I have been a loner. You stay out of trouble when your by ourself yo.
Q: name some (of your) works that you are particularly proud of.
A: Honestly every song I have done I’m proud of because it’s one more joint that I ever thought I could do but this “NAWWW-LEDGE IZ FREE-DUMB” joint is def my crown jewel. And not that Dredi is helping I think it will take us, as in sassbolgna, strange-gibberish, places. Folks will look at us differently like wow!!!! These guys got classics. And hopeful more of the back catalog will be copped as well. (5 ACES might be the best song I did still. Smh)
Q: most of your collaborations are over the internet, have you met many of the cats with whom you make music with in person?
A: Yeah, shittttt. I met the orgin, amable, d. strange, turtle hands, 4-lom, ethereal (he stays in atlanta so I guess he doesn’t count yo), record monster, clepalete, deepcrates, and a few others. BOOM!!!!!
Q: what are you listening to lately and where do you most often listen to music?
A: I listen to esacpe from lofi city by dredi like 4 times a week lol, some doc quandary, wu-tang 36 chambers, the clispe (yes the clispe), the new only built for Cuban links, common, RES, and right now I’m like he biggest Tanya Morgan fan in the world.
Q: what albums or artists that you think everyone should know about.
A: Brok Landahs yo. That my homie #1. He is locked up right now but when he gets out it on!!! FEB 2nd yo!!! -iz
Q: do you perform live often? are there any tour plans for IZ REAL?
A: Rarely, but it’s about to change. Well, open mics yes I do but that’s without music at poetry spots. But with music should change shortly. Be on the look out yo.
Q: what does the future hold for IZ REAL, what other collabs,eps, albums, downloads, etc. do you have in the works for us?
A: Well honestly, I have made up my mind to give away my second album away for free called “wiz-dumb” and then do one more album call “understanding underplanning”. Three albums then IZ-REAL will be laid to rest. Maybe not forever but for at least a year or so. You might catch me on a free e.p., strange-gibberish free download, or an overseas l.p. once and a while, but IZ-REAL is getting to large. R.J. needs to come back to the surface for a while.
Q: Are you looking for any other people to collaborate with, emcee's, producer's, record label's? kid robot?
A: As far as producers… HELL NO!!!!! If your not my homie, or I haven’t talked to you…. STOP SENDING ME BEATS!!!!! If your not a homie and you think I’m going to take time to write rhymes for free then you can kiss my ass. I work with my friends to promote them and they promote me by just us teaming up. Everyone will see how much I care about my online and offline friends when my project drops. But at the same time I’m mad busy and having a fulltime job where I work 48hours overnight that leaves me with no real personal life. I rather wacth T.V. or chill with a pretty chick than make songs for no reason yo.
As far as emcee’s it always, brok landahs, whichcraft, self-says, v-chip, weezone, TALL T, Turtle hands, DTTS, Shadow 2, and supernova slick., and a few others.
Record label yes and no. If they want to press albums up and make sneaker money then yes, and far as more free give aways….. I’m cool with working with my brothers over at STRANGEGIBBERISH.NET.
Q: any last words from you?
A: No…… well that would be the last word then right???? Well I guess I’ll juat have to say. Knowledge truly is freedom and can me the key between life and death. But some knowledge can mess up you mind and then you won’t know what the hell the think. Lol. So sometime ‘NAWWW-LEDGE IZ FREE-DUMB”. Fliter out the bull and get free in you own way. (I typed too much, no one will read the whole thing. lol)(I’ma jerk, but not like no wackass dance yo.)
LINKS: IZ's BLOG, myspace, STRANGE / GIBBERISH