With royalty comes pressure. Pressure to perform. Pressure to please. Pressure to not fuck up. When Bizz declared himself the Prince of Jersey, he upped the ante on fans’ expectations for him because, let’s face it, when you work with legendary Wu producer 4th Disciple and are hyped as the future by Freeway, well, fans’ expectations are already going to be up there. After completing mixtapes with everyone from Kay Slay to Lazy K, Bizz released his first album Prince of Jersey, which was altogether a huge letdown for the Garden State spitter. After taking some time to revamp some tracks and the distribution, Bizz is looking for a second chance to make a first impression. Check out what he had to say to HipHopGame about his name, his upcoming album Prince of Jersey 2.0, working with 4th Disciple and much more.
Your debut album Prince of Jersey dropped last fall. Are you happy with how the album did?
For what it did, the units that shipped, it did real good. We had an issue with the album that I can’t really get into but it was a problem. I can’t really go into it right now, like the actual details. Given more time, I can go into it more. But on a positive note, the feedback that I got from it was real good.
How frustrating is it though when you do everything right and something out of your control messes up?
Well, we kept pushing it but we were dealing with the situation at the same time and it kind of took away from the progress. It made it hard. If I got the chance to do it again, of course I would want everything to go better, but for what it’s worth, the people that needed to hear the album heard it and it came out good. Besides that, I don’t really have any complaints about it.
You had a nice lineup from producers like 4th Disciple to MCs like Freeway and Omilio Sparks.
Yeah. It’s crazy. Rha-Sun, who runs Blak Globe, he comes from the Wu-Tang, Killarmy background. When I linked up with him, I knew Kinetic and Dom P and all of them. That’s how my connection to 4th Disciple came about. They’re like my brothers. I linked up with my dude Shabazz in Philly and that’s how my connection with Freeway came about. It kind of sounds like it’s all over the place with Wu-Tang and Freeway and all of that, but it’s actually blended together real good. I feel like as a new artist, to have all of those features on my project is good. A lot of artists don’t get to work with legends like that right off the bat.
You’ve done a few tracks with Freeway. How would you describe the chemistry there?
It’s great. It started off with the “Ringtone” song and then from there we did a freestyle and “Hustler’s Prayer” and others. We’ve been all over the country doing shows. Freeway, that’s my dude. When I talk to him, it’s not even on some music. It’s a real friendship. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I feel like I don’t got a cosign but if I did, it would be him. Once we linked up for the first time, it’s been all good.
What have you learned working with 4th Disciple?
Just how to perfect a song. 4th is that dude. He’s been around it so long. I’ll be in the booth and thinking I got it right and he’ll say it’s not right and I’ll have to spit it over and over and over until it sounds the way he wants it to sound. Working with 4th, it really pushes you to the limit because he had a lot of joints on the Wu-Tang Forever album and he was working with all the legends. He was just showing me voice control and how to really spit it the right way with my attitude and all of that. He just pushes me to the limit and that’s why I love working with 4th.
Was it tough catching his ear at first?
You know what? At first, I kind of thought it wasn’t going to work because my style is not really that type of style. I thought it wouldn’t work but it actually worked out. The style I had brought to the table was different from what he was used to working with but he was able to adjust to it and it was real good. It ended up working. I think the way I do my music, I pushed him to new levels too because he was used to working with the Killarmy/Wu-Tang type of artist. It was great. It was great working with him and it was great for my career to be around a legend like that.
Your style is considerably more commercial than what 4th has done. Did he try to change you?
That’s what I thought it was going to be. I thought he was going to ask me to throw a little more of this or that on it but he adjusted to what I was doing. It actually worked out a lot better than I thought it would. I thought there would be problems at first because I wasn’t really spitting it like Kinetic would or Dom P or Killah Priest or Hell Razah. I thought it would be a struggle but it was real smooth. Every time we come together and work on a project, it always comes out real smooth. He just wants me to go in there and do what I do and it comes out good. It worked out great.
Are you still working together?
Absolutely. We just sewed up a distribution deal with Select-O-Hits and we’re going to re-release Prince of Jersey and we’re trying to find a home for 4th Disciple’s compilation album so as soon as we find a home, we’re going to be hitting with that too.
How do you want the re-release of Prince of Jersey to sound?
We’re definitely going to go back in there and get it remixed and remastered. But all the music that I’ve been putting out for the past few years, I’ve done a mixtape with DJ Kay Slay and another one with Lazy K and another one with DJ Vlad. I’ve put out a lot of music and you know how your first album is all your years built up and it’s a lot about your personal life and points that you want to get across. I’ve been on the road and all over the country now so I got a lot more to talk about. The new tracks that I add to it are going to be more like me finding myself. Even though there’s some old songs on there, it’s going to feel like a whole new album.
How have you grown as an artist from being on the road and learning more about the game?
I think the best way I’ve grown is just figuring out how to make songs and knowing the business and knowing how to perform live and stuff like that. I think when I first came on I was more just a young dude trying to let everybody know that I could spit. It was that type of feeling. Right now I’m learning how to make anthem songs and making things that the people want to hear and still doing things that I want to do. The growth as an artist is that I’m more seasoned now and I actually have a better vision of what I want to do, whether it be song-wise or putting together a mixtape or shooting a video and knowing how it should look. Just being around the right people has done a lot for me.
What can Prince of Jersey 2.0 do that the first one couldn’t?
We were all over the country and just going everywhere but not really focusing on where I’m from, which is Jersey. So right now, above everything, my main focus is to really go hard in this region to let the people know what it is because I haven’t really done anything in Jersey the way I was supposed to. We were just too busy going on the road and doing things here and there. A lot of people have seen what I’ve been doing but with this album, you’re going to be seeing and hearing me a lot more in New York and the tri-state area. That’s the main thing – just getting my area under wraps so we can get the album out here in stores the way it’s supposed to be.
You call yourself the Prince of Jersey. Why not the King of Jersey?
You know what? It’s just a respect factor. I feel like I’m a young dude and I don’t want to just come in the game and say I’m the king even though no one else is saying it. But I came up listening to Naughty by Nature and Redman and Lords of the Underground. It would be disrespectful for me to say I’m the king. The way the Prince of Jersey came about was that wherever I would go, I always felt like I was the only dude out of state always repping Jersey. When I was going all over the place and they were telling me that I was grinding, the whole Prince of Jersey thing clicked for me. I was just going to say that I was the prince and I was young and coming up and if I had ever done enough where I felt like I had done enough, then I could say it. But I didn’t want to come in on some disrespectful stuff when there were people ahead of me.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from other Jersey artists?
Nothing negative! I mess with a lot of artists and DJs from Jersey. I crossed paths with Redman a few times and I worked with Dub B, Joe Budden’s producer and promoters. A lot of people are doing their thing out here but they’re not doing the features that I’m doing, like working with Freeway. The people understand it because I went out and independently snatched up a deal and went on the road. I never had a problem with the prince thing. They embrace it.
How are you going to build a buzz this summer?
Right now I got a crazy club banger called “Dark and Light” about Ciroc and Remy. The Jersey club music is similar to Baltimore club music and that’s doing really well and then I have a record I’m going to have Kay Slay on called “Best of my Age Group.” If you listen to my older mixtapes, I always had lines like that. That’s not me saying I’m better than anybody as a person or anything like that, but there are new artists that are really buzzing right now like Kid Cudi and Nipsey Hussle and Asher Roth and the position that they’re in, it’s a great look for hip-hop. But people come up to me and tell me I’m just as good as them or better than them. I’ve always been competitive and when I say I’m the best in my age group, I’m not excluding none of them. I got that street record and that’s coming to be crazy. That’s the road we’re going to be taking this summer. We’re going to focus on this region and stay around here and get that buzz going the way we know it can be.
What advice would you offer to other independent artists?
My advice to up-and-coming artists in the game is that you gotta create an awareness or buzz for yourself before you start jumping into it too much. I got a lot of rappers who come up to me and want me to put them on. It’s not really that time where someone like me can put you on because I’m still getting my foot in the door the way I need to. Start in your city and work in a 20 block radius and get your songs played in the bars and clubs. It doesn’t matter if it’s for 20 people. Just be on your grind and be visible and as hard as you push is how far you’re going to get in this industry. Just keep pushing and make sure that your music is good and the mixdowns and mastering is good and anything is possible.