Posted at 6:00 a.m.
Moving from total independence to a major, it does not happen every day. Stanley St-Fort, alias Izzy-S, is well aware of this. He also knows that such a signature does not happen to many Quebec hip-hop artists.
“It sure sounds different from what we usually hear in Quebec,” says the 25-year-old rapper, who welcomes us to the premises of Universal, in Montreal, seated in front of a poster of Justin Bieber.
In the mid-2010s, Izzy-S participated in the revitalization of the Quebec hip-hop scene, in a style assimilated to gangsta rap. He was then one of the few to collect hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
In 2018, he placed two songs in the film The Fall of the American Empire, by Denys Arcand. The following year, he toured Quebec for the release of his album Empire.
Izzy-S now wants to go from being a locally known singer-songwriter to one who has really “blown out” of doors.
Released last Friday, his second single at Barclay (my cannon) is another step in this direction.
more than a rapper street
The native of the Saint-Michel district explains that he does not like the label of “rapper street » that some associate with him. “Rap is already struggling to find its place, so if you put the word street in front, it is sure that it closes doors. It’s more pejorative than anything else…”
His gangsta rap remains the bearer of messages: the song hood warns of the risks of street life. “After everything the street has taken from me, I don’t really know if it pays off anymore,” he sings. In the chorus, he advises not to repeat the same mistakes once released from prison.
By talking with him, we see that many things are hidden behind his image as a rapper. For example, the title Celine Dion, released in 2021, is no coincidence. Izzy-S says he wouldn’t hesitate for a second if he could do a collaboration with the Charlemagne star. He would do a song with Celine long before Drake. This is his favorite singer.
He also tells us about his passion for cooking: “I always said that if I wasn’t a rapper, I’d be a chef. At home, all his brothers know how to cook. Izzy-S listens to cooking shows all day long. Chef Ricardo Larrivee has already commented on his TikTok page, where he shares his recipes.
From music to youth center, from youth center to music
It was during a 24-month sentence in a youth center, for reasons he prefers to keep quiet, that the rapper realized his potential. We are in 2014 and he is 17 years old. He released his first music video, dope boya week before his arrest.
At the youth center, he is a real star. Even educators call her Izzy-S. There, he writes a lot, but rapping is complicated. To get instrumentals, he has to hide in the classroom to download songs or ask his sister to fill up an MP3 music player before visiting.
During her incarceration, Izzy-S resumes her school studies and reads hundreds of books.
I received the scholarship for the best student in the whole center [jeunesse]. […] I never liked school because I didn’t like authority, but otherwise I suck.
Last Friday, the rapper posted my cannonsecond single since signing with Barclay Canada.
“I can’t wait to listen my cannon, Izzy-S said before the song was released. It’s a vibe. the beat […] dance. »
Produced by the beatmaker DJ Erise (Aya Nakamura, La Fouine, OrelSan), my cannon is indeed a summer melody.
“I only speak with my cannon,” Izzy-S sings in the track. A reference to firearms? The question arises in a context where shootings are constantly in the news. “It’s a metaphor,” he replies, laughing. I’m not saying I’m going to shoot you. The song, for me, is zero violent. »
Himself the victim of a shooting in 2017, he believes that rappers do not have to take a position on this problem. “The government has more responsibilities [à prendre] than rappers. If you don’t want young people to do that, make them do something else. »
For the artist, part of the problem lies in the absence of role models for young people from immigrant backgrounds.
“There is a lack of diversity everywhere in Quebec. Why would the young person do theater if there is no one like him on television? Why would he go into politics? There are no blacks in government…”
A thoughtful point of view, far from the bad clichés of culture street.