Published Aug 01, 2006With the release of her debut EP, Toronto-based Isis who has only been describing herself as an MC for just over a year is serving striking notice of her skills, charisma and versatility. On her debut EP, the 20-year-old MC of Nigerian origin issues battle-ready displays of dazzling wordplay on tracks like "The Fly Trap (Remix)" with infectious energy, wilfully taking on foes and nay-sayers. However, Isis also has the knack to compose compelling narratives. "U Know What Love Is" is visually striking, tackling the topic of domestic abuse and "Ask A Woman" outlines an often abstract balance of introspection and history. While the production and choice of mix-tape-style instrumentals is strong throughout, it's highly evident that Isis isn't dependent on a beat to bolster or mask her skills. Showcasing a variety of styles, this EP makes you wonder what this promising MC can accomplish in another year.
You mention on record that you have broken up with hip-hop in the past. What made you leave the music and what brought you back? I spent a while loving hip-hop only because my older brother loved hip-hop and I wanted to be like him. I used to freestyle on the block when I was 13 with a bunch of guys. And then when I was like 16 or 17 it was the "jiggy" era and I was like what the fuck is this? I got into poetry, became a vegetarian, did poetry slams and got attention and ego strokes. But then one day I started listening to Jay Dee. Then it was Stones Throw, and then I heard Quasimoto's The Unseen and all this good hip-hop music. I kind of credit my ex-boyfriend because I would literally wake up to good hip-hop music every day.
Determining one's fate seems to be a theme, particularly on 'Starchild', can you expound on what that means to you? I think that there's a new generation of youth right now that are capable of reaching amazing feats and making history and we have to remind ourselves to realise our true potential. I have to remind myself. As females in this industry, we tend to go as far as the glass ceiling, but we can go through it. From far away it seems big, but when you get close it's just a bubble, an anthill. A lot of things are about to change for our generation and the ones coming after us, the possibilities are endless. (Treetop)