Darrico L. Underwood aka StrzBtz was born and grew up between in Birmingham, Alabama and Cincinnati, Ohio where he currently resides. He wrote at his grandmother’s house at the age of 13, but it wasn’t until the age of 15 that he fell in love with music completely. “My step-brother and I figured out that we both wrote lyrics around the same time and went crazy on instrumentals,” says StrzBtz. After linking up with his next door neighbor, Troub who had a studio and was very inspirational to him, StrzBtz eventually got his own production software which led to make beats and write songs by the age of sixteen. He started collaborating with others, but eventually went solo in 2012. StrzBtz invested in pro studio gear and started honing his skills. In 2017 he created a workspace where he launched his company LevlledUp Productions.
Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard the name StrzBtz. While the rapper has been tenaciously staying on his grind for the past couple of years, he hasn’t actively appeared on the major music scene, or in any way hit the mainstream. In his smooth, meditative debut, “LevllHeaded”, released during March 2018, StrzBtz takes his first official step to doing just that.
Musically, all thirteen songs are packaged well and shed plenty of light on StrzBtz’s effortless flow. He pushes himself to his full lyrical potential in these tracks, spitting a complex venom in some, and pondering introspective themes on others. Occasionally, StrzBtz rhymes lyrical for the ladies.
StrzBtz is an everyman’s rapper – a global citizen with a universal mindset, he covers a lot of thematic ground that just about anybody can relate to on “LevllHeaded”. You know exactly what you’re getting from this album when the first track, “MeAgainstThe World” kicks in: StrzBtz saying every cool and profound thing, over lush, cinematic and spaced-out production.
This is a dark, but high-powered track – one of the best in the collection – and a perfect choice for an album opener. Detailed or vague, StrzBtz commits to the theme on each track. His vision is clear: sharp rhymes + colorful storytelling + luxurious production = success. It equates to an excellent listening experience each time.
Listening to tracks like “Can’t Compare (Prod. By SBPablo)”, “FWM” and “Jumpshot”, you quickly get the sensation that the way StrzBtz navigates the beats are akin to piloting a jet propelled aircraft. He begins in a smooth take off, reaching a comfortable altitude with smart rhymes, touching on turbulence with some rapid fire punches, and then safely landing the listener with a comfortable hook.
The album comes with everything you expect when you think of entertaining modern hip-hop music, smooth and fully fleshed out instrumentation and an equally smooth flow layered on top, with some high energy bangers sprinkled in here and there.
All the while though, StrzBtz maintains the lyricism and his flow, on an intense level, and the stunning back-to-back tracks – “Counting” and “Immun2Death” play testimony to his incendiary deliveries. StrzBtz is one of those rappers who doesn’t always have to hit you with crazy intricate lyrics, but also has an authentic sound and vibe that will mesmerize you with mood and melody.
Something he does to great effect on both “Fragile” and “Follow Me”. By the time he reaches “FN2S” and “PYT”, StrzBtz is hitting his artistic stride, and he has developed an incredible chemistry with his productions. He sounds free to make the music, and touch the subjects he is comfortable dealing with.
Hence two very diverse themes between them, on “Consequences” and “Sacrifice”, are able to flow naturally from the same mind. StrzBtz is going to marvel listeners with the diversity and complexity of his lyrics and themes, as he is a rare emcee in these times who actually rhymes honestly and wraps them up in luscious musical soundscapes.