In the back of Supreme Styles barbershop in Northside sits a claustrophobic room that doubles as an efficient recording studio. When Laron Wilson (aka Young Rizzy) isn't cutting heads up front, he's in the back recording tracks and cutting beats.
The narrative of most Hip Hop songs is "money, cars and bitches." But Rizzy has decided to give his listeners something intelligent to think about instead of the normal MTV and BET rhetoric. Following in the footsteps of KRS-ONE and Dead Prez, Rizzy is trying to take Hip Hop, as an art form, back to its positive origins.
"I describe my style as a throwback to when people were pro-black," he says. "My lyrics are for a conscious listener, and my beats are mixture of down South, Midwest and West Coast flavor."
As a young teenager, while visiting his mother in Las Vegas, Rizzy recorded his first track at a small, swamp-meet recording studio. In 1995, at age 19, he became serious about music and released his first album, Those With Ears Let 'Em Hear, under the moniker Laron X. The CD was a mixture of intelligent, socially conscious lyrics and creative, eclectic homemade beats. Three albums and 10 years later, Rizzy's rhymes and beats got stronger and his life got grown.
Today he's a member of the Nation of Islam, respectful husband and father and self-made businessman.
"I'm trying to be a righteous Muslim so I won't rap about disrespecting women or killing another brother," he says.
Rizzy is, by nature, a political thinker. Although his religious beliefs are prevalent throughout his music, he isn't overly self-righteous and radical. His latest cadence-confident release, Return of the King, is full of indictments of truths about Cincinnati, racial injustices and an oppressive American government. He spits and runs off at the mouth over a slew of outstanding original and recycled beats. The joint, "We Won't Stop," is by far one of the best tracks on the album, with tough lyrics over a melodious thudding bass line ("My city's torn by crack/Police a thorn in my back/This is my ministry nigga/I was born to rap").
On the clever and humorous track, "Cincinnigga," Rizzy does a skit about who he thinks should really be in power in the city; Mayor Luken has been kicked out of office, Scottie Johnson is the new chief of police, and Mike Allen is being called to stand trial in front of the honorable judge Ken Lawson for false prosecution and tampering with evidence. Other joints like "Where Ya At!" and "This Is What I Do" make this album a worthwhile listen and a Nasty Nati Hip Hop classic.
His next production will be the compilation album The Bigg Red Machine, Volume II, which will feature local underground favorites Kenny P, Blaq&Tragedy and Young Kane.
At 29, Rizzy has no delusions of grandeur about becoming a commercial success.
"I realize that rap is a young man's game, and I have my eyes set on being behind the scenes," he admits. "I don't want to be a star — I want to produce, write and record."
RIZZY's CD and cassette releases are available at local-music friendly record stores across the area.