South Carolina based Hip Hop Artist, iamShazo Drops Dope 'Self Improve EP'

A bad breakup can have a brother down bad, but those same feelings can also be used as motivation. For 22 year old hip hop artist, iamShazo, a f*cked up situation spawned a dope project entitled, "Self Improve EP".  And putting the 7 song EP together was right up his alley. In addition to being an independent artist, he's a music producer and audio engineer.

Originally from Winnsboro but currently residing in Greenville, South Carolina, I assumed he would resemble other Southern artists, but his sound is different--cool--its a mesh of melodic backpack rap, trap, and r&b. On again, the opening track, he spits about going through a roller coaster emotions after heartbreak and how he dealt with it. He raps, "used to put my pain in a blunt, rillo guts in a ashtray."

He started creating music at just ten years old and released his first official mixtape while still in high school in 2016. iamShazo was influenced and inspired by standout artists like Kanye West, OutKast, T-Pain, Timbaland, and J. Cole.  On my apologies, you get the sense that this kid is a very versatile artist. The track has an intimate, acoustic feel -- guitar strings, raw, honest emotions, and lyrics that expose his vulnerability. This song was an instant fave for me. He sings, "I know I haven't seen my dreams in ages. Locked my spirit in cages. My head been spinning outrageous. I just had to come say this." The dude definitely has a way with wordplay.

"I can bring the fire, baby you can bring the steam..."

On slide, the vibe is more lively and futuristic. And his flow sounds like he's channeling his inner J.Cole. Another standout for me was dear who. You can hear the pain in his voice as he sings, "a bird in a cage, I wanna sing too." He's like a chameleon, able to switch up his style and mood seamlessly. While he considers himself a hip hop artist, he still fuses his style with R&B, Pop, Indie Rock, Dancehall, and other styles of music.  On the last song, call on me, he pull off a soulful yet hip ballad-- its a real progressive tune. I got a chance to dig deeper into the man behind the music, asking him some questions about the project, his creative process, and life itself.

What does the hip hop scene look like in Greenville? How often do you go to Atlanta or Charlotte?

There are actually a fair share of Hip Hop artists in Greenville breaking ground and developing the hip hop scene here but Greenville is a growing city in general. So I usually do head to Charlotte or Atlanta for opportunities to perform and network as of lately.

Whats the story behind this project? How and why did it come about?

The story behind “Self Improve EP” is basically the expressing the highs and lows in my life and how I never worked on myself and always prioritized other people. It came about because of a recent breakup that left me wondering why, so within the EP it’s my journey of reminiscing through memories and finding myself a bit more through speaking on my anxiety, depression, love, astrology, and personal growth.

What difficulties did you face in getting this album completed?

I actually had no difficulty creating this EP. The “Self Improve EP” is one of the most raw and natural pieces of work I’ve created so far. I just spoke about my experiences and thoughts and healed while doing it. Creating this project was so fun as well! I produce, wrote, and engineered everything on this EP which made it even more fulfilling.

How would you describe your sound?

I don’t think my sound is specific or has boundaries. I love to create everything. I have hip hop songs, alternative songs, pop songs, r&b songs, punk rock songs, etc. I’m the ultimate creative so I wouldn’t put myself into a box. It will all be heard on my upcoming album “Shazo Speaks”.

What is the hardest part about being independent?

The hardest part of being independent in my opinion is being my own since of motivation. No one really pushes me to keep going so when I’m in my lows I tend to dig myself out of psychological holes on my own. But that comes with this life but is what I love so I will never stop no matter the outcome.

Who are your musical influences?

I love so much music I have influence from so many genres and artists. Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Clark Terry, Tupac, Andre 3000, Kanye, Chris Brown, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Drake, T-Pain, Alesia Cara, Erykah Badu, etc. There’s so many people I could name really. I love all music!

Dream Collab?Why?

My dream collab is really working with every artist in SC. I want everyone to hear how much talent is here in all genres.

iamShazo aspires to be a generational talent and one of the best to ever do it one day! He wishes to inspire everyone to be their most creative selfs and live their truth through art! The "Self Improve EP" is out now on major streaming platforms.






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