A few years ago they were just five teenagers who attended Bowie High School, loved music, rapping and hanging out together.
Now, they are the Bowie-based group ISH and their second mixtape, Shogun, is trending on Twitter and their video High Grade has gotten more than 3,000 views on YouTube (WARNING: Video includes explicit lyrics and actions.)
“We always liked music, we just didn’t know how to make it,” said EZITO, one of the main rappers for the group.
The group was known by friends at Bowie High as ISH, so they decided to adopt that name.
EZITO and the rest of the ISH crew - ObiWanSan, Big O, Ace, and CoachTheDON - started out by just freestyling over different songs and random beats. After graduating from high school, they decided to take it to the next level.
“We thought deep down it would be cool to make our own music, what we wanted to hear,” said EZITO, who also acts as the group’s videographer.
They dropped their first mixtape, Gaijin, in May 2011 and dropped Shogun on May 29, 2012. EZITO said that in the past year their sound has improved.
Last month, they did a show with DC rapper Nike Nando, who is a big fan of ISH’s sound.
“I believe that ISH's music is an element of hip-hop that could change the music scene in the DMV if they keep their consistency the way it is,” he said.
Going forward, EZITO said ISH is planning on shooting more videos, collaborating with some local rappers, and getting out a new EP to try and get some radio and blog play.
“At first this was just for fun, but now it’s something serious,” said EZITO, who’s getting ready to start his junior year at Bowie State University. Right now, EZITO is majoring in computer science, but after working as ISH’s videographer, he’s considering switching to video editing and visual arts.
His musical heroes are some of the biggest in the game - Kanye West, Jay-Z, Big Fiasco - but one of EZITO's biggest inspirations is J. Cole, who had a successful rapping career and still finished college, with honors.
“I didn’t think it was possible to do both and succeed in both,” said EZITO. “I’m going to try to graduate and try to make it.”
Look for ISH's next project to drop sometime this fall.