In 2019, it’s hard to stay anonymous. Thanks to a world of social media and nosey haters, keeping one's personal life private can be difficult, particularly for artists. But Broward County rapper Anonymuz is mastering the task by staying focused on his music. Scrolling through his Instagram, you may find candid photos of him working in the studio or performing on stage, but he doesn't share much about his personal life. In that regard, he lets his music do the talking.
Born Isaiah Joseph, Anonymuz got a late start in music. But that didn't stop him from joining the ranks of today's thriving Broward SoundCloud rap scene. “I started writing around 14 or 15,” he says over the phone with a sigh. “But I guess I started it taking it seriously just a few years ago. I made music when I felt like it.”
Bouncing between Tallahassee and his home in Miramar, Anonymuz didn't make music his top priority initially, but when he released songs, his fans were ready and waiting.
Anonymuz’s 2017 EP, Urameshi, got the city behind him. Just five songs long, the project effortlessly mixed typical SoundCloud rap production with hard-hitting lyricism. The title track drew attention not only because of its anime-themed music video, but because of its lyrics, which threw shots at traditional record labels:
They don't want the conscience nigga, they just want the rage
Labels wanna profit nigga, they don't wanna paint
They don't wanna topic nigga, they just wanna play
And they just wanna cop it nigga, they don't wanna pay
No one gives a fuck about your problems, nigga wait
Fuck the politics I'm finna walk a different way
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Anonymuz describes his sound as aggressive, but honest. “If I’m conforming to a sound, I’m just sounding like everybody else. I’m always going to fuck with the things that I fuck with and push the music that I want to make. I don’t do this for anyone other than myself,” he explains. And that includes record labels.
While the Internet age has created a music environment where genre means less and less to music fans, it's still within the business interests of prospective labels to commission radio-friendly singles. While Anonymuz isn't chasing labels, he says he can do both. “I can make music and still be in the realm of the underground grunge sound, but also make music like 'Rockstar,'" he says, citing his song released earlier this summer, which could easily play on the radio alongside A$AP Rocky.
His 2019 album, There Is No Threat, shows progress, including cosigns from Miami’s Denzel Curry and Sylvan LaCue as featured artists. And now that Anonymuz is breaking out beyond Broward County, he's looking to return the favor.
“When people see you elevating in life and just progressing, they always want to attach themselves to it," he says. "People like to ride coattails. But if I think an artist is dope from my city, I’ll put them on. This kind of music needs to have more ears.”