by Richard L. Figueroa / Advertising Manager
In September 2019, as 19-year-old Manny Israel sat in a college classroom at Columbia College Chicago, he simply got up and left. For some time, he had been contemplating dropping out in order to pursue music full-time.
“I just snapped. I just left, and I called my mom,” said Israel. “Told her I wasn’t going to go back and there wasn’t anything she could do to make me go back.”
Israel believes dropping out was the best decision he has ever made. Shortly after dropping out, good things began to happen, and his music career began to thrive.
Israel has avidly studied music at home and wants to create a new sub-genre that brings hip-hop and rap and pop into one called “hip-pop.”
Today, he is better known by his stage name Goldenboymnny. His trajectory as an artist began in high school when he created Exit The Premises (ETP) — a gamer collective turned musicians — alongside some friends.
In 2017, Israel, alongside some members of ETP such as SoloCelo and Kredit, would visit YOUmedia — a library and studio space in Harold Washington Library, where they began to experiment with sounds.
“We began making songs as a group, and eventually we began to develop ourselves as solo artists,” said Israel.
Israel says that in early 2018 he began to fall into a depression and briefly stepped away from music. What led him to change his mind was his girlfriend, and his close friend DeShawn Rivers, who is now his manager. “I had a conversation with Sean that altered my perspective enough for me to try again,” said Israel.
“Manny is one of a kind,” said Rivers. “I have no doubt in my mind that I’m working with one of this generation’s best talents. And that’s special to me, that’s what pushes me. People got to hear him and once they do, they’ll know just as well as I do that we have something special going on.”
In October 2018, Israel released his first project titled “Yoshi’s Island,” a six-song EP that was created within a month with ETP’s in-house producer Ra Gordon — better known as Prod.Ra. “People were telling me it’s different. It sounds good but it also sounds like a demo,” said Israel.
“‘Yoshi’s Island’ was such a fun project to work on with GB [Israel] we made everything together. It was definitely our early stages. Our sound hadn’t developed to what it is today,” said Gordon.
After “Yoshi’s Island,” throughout 2019 Israel went on and released a few singles. “Assassin’s Creed” was one of them, and he said that song was a point of elevation to him as an artist that gave him much more confidence.
That same year, he learned to produce, and kept on making music. He originally had no plans on releasing a project in 2019 but ultimately decided to release one on Nov. 1, 2019. “That wasn’t even planned. I made a lot of songs last year and ‘GB Meets World’ is a compilation of all the songs that I didn’t feel like we’re super good,” said Israel.
Although his second project was a mixtape filled with throwaway songs that weren’t his best, Israel says his fans loved the project. Overall, his mixtape was streamed over 100,000 times across SoundCloud and all other major streaming platforms.
This year Israel is working on his third project set to release on May 15, called “Once Upon a Time.” Alongside ETP, they’re working on a project which will feature all of the artists and producers in ETP. Since he dropped out of school, music is his main focus, and plans on releasing several projects this year.
Israel says the support from his fans and the love he has received from fellow rappers around Chicago have uplifted him. Those factors have placed Israel in a position in which if he makes all the right decisions all his dreams and aspirations will become reality.