AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
It is December 1, 2007. Pizon is on stage in front of fans, friends, and family alike at a small yet crowded club in his home borough of Queens, New York. After some of his collaborators — which include fellow emcee Analyze and an all-female step team from the College of Mount Saint Vincent — exit the stage, a lone-standing Pizon addresses the crowd.
"I dropped my album a year ago on La Scala Entertainment, my own label…Rawkus Records picked it up…My album re-release party is tonight. It is also…Timid’s album release party…His album’s on sale tonight…And, it’s also the celebration of EJ’s move to New York City. This dude drove from Texas to New York for the show, and he’s not going back….You knew that. But what you did not know is that [tonight’s] also the album release party for my new project, called And Then There Was One."
The crowd is stunned. Here they are celebrating Pizon’s Rawkus 50 album (released worldwide on November 27), only to learn a brand new Pizon project to be delivered via his own La Scala Entertainment — the label that originally released the Rawkus album — is on the way. They don’t call him one of the hardest working men in Hip Hop for nothing.
Pizon is adamant that And Then There Was One is not the sequel to I Am Hip Hop, yet he suggests they go hand-in-hand. "My album was very much like a movie, right? Now imagine the credits are rolling, and all of a sudden it cuts to a new scene with the caption: ‘One year later.’ This project picks up where the album left off, and briefly gives you an update on the real-life situations I described in the feature presentation." Since the album was about the loss Pizon experienced in his life, the new project addresses his having to deal with facing the world alone.
"After my album came out, I was having a discussion with Analyze about where I should go with my music. As one of my biggest musical influences, he is someone whose opinion I take very seriously." At that point in time, Pizon reportedly played him "No Closure," a song he had written and recorded for himself in November 2006 but wasn’t planning on releasing to the public. "’You’re crazy for keeping this to yourself,’ he told me. ‘This is exactly the kind of music you should be putting out.’" Analyze liked the song so much that he asked to feature on it, and after leaking earlier this year, the track is now one of Pizon’s most successful songs. "A good writer knows when to be complex and when not to be. Sometimes instead of saying, ‘Due to the unfortunate circumstances under which I am suffering, my psychological state in the present time is less than ideal,’ it’s more effective to just say, ‘Yo, I’m sad.’ This is raw human emotion in its purest form."
That set the course for the rest of the project, and while Pizon did work with a few others, most of it was recorded in complete isolation. "I already felt isolated mentally, so I got myself an apartment 250 miles from home, stayed all by myself, and let the music flow." Pizon got to work, and did not tell a soul what he was doing. True to the spirit of the project, many of the songs feature instrospective lyrics over dark soundscapes set by brooding pianos. In the faith-questioning "Low Gravity," Pizon raps, "What goes around doesn’t always come around/ And what goes up don’t always hit the ground/ It’s fucked up when gravity can’t hold you down," second-guessing the fundamental belief in karma that permeated his debut album. "Don’t Know Where To Lie" sees Pizon describing all the things he’s seen, most notably people’s refusal to open their eyes and see, before declaring, "I made my bed speaking the truth, now I don’t know where to lie." Despite all the emotion, Pizon does get lyrical in the traditional sense of the word, flexing his technical proficiency as an emcee on songs like "Reverse the Hands," in which he fantasizes how he would live his life if given the chance to start all over. Also included are new mixes of the previously-leaked "Drunk" and "Give It Up (Remix)." The latter is particularly interesting, being a song in which Pizon chooses to express himself without words, but rather by producing new music around existing vocals.
And Then There Was One is a special digital-only release that is currently available from iTunes and other key online retailers. With this project out of his system, Pizon’s plans for 2008 include a continued push for his Rawkus album, finishing the Fam album Family Business with Timid and EJ, high profile collaborations with the likes of D12 and others, and work on his as-of-yet untitled sophomore album.
1 – Alone I Sit
2 – No Closure f/ Analyze
3 – Low Gravity f/ EJ
4 – Don’t Know Where to Lie
5 – Reverse the Hands
6 – My Piano Weeps
7 – Drunk
8 – Give It Up (Remix) f/ Timid, EJ, and Aday
Mike "Pizon" Scala for La Scala Entertainment
All songs recorded, engineered, and mixed by Pizon
Mastered by Bob Nary at Suite Audio (Clinton, CT)