Monday, July 09, 2007

You maybe thinking, I've seen this kat before?? If you peeped the late great J*Dilla music video for "Won't Do" then you have seen him before! He was the dude (that you thought was Jay Dee) lipsinging Dilla's verses in that video. He's actually an upcoming producer/rapper himself, and he goes by the name of Illa J. Oh yeah, and he's Jay Dee's younger brother as well. I'm always down for my fellow Detroit brothaz and sistaz trying to make a come up in the music business, but I will admit I was a little skeptical of the Illa J movement initially? Is this young man's musical movement a journey about paying homage to Jay Dee or is he just using his brother's fame to make a name for himself? You judge for yourselves. First off, his rap name sounds a too similiar to J Dilla, but that is his older deceased brother, so maybe it's a respect thing? Personally, I take his choice of name as him paying homage to his dead brother. The other ironic thing about Illa J is that he actually sounds and looks like a younger Jay Dee as well. They are kinfolk though, so I guess that can be expected as well? The boy can't pick his looks or tone of voice, right? Lastly, is Illa J's familiar production style. After hearing a few of his tracks, his style sounds like a combination of Black Milk and Jay Dee's blended together? He did learn his production skills and tricks from Jay Dee, so I would expect that Illa J would have that same sound to a degree. If it works, why change it?

With all of that being said, I still think Illa J is going to receive lots of negative feedback initially because his style resembles Dilla's in a lot of ways! Most of these fickle rap fans today are very cynical about things like that, so I hope he's prepared for it? Illa J doesn't seem like he's joined the rap game just to be another rapper trying to do a Dilla inpersonation. As a matter of fact, don't even call him a rapper because he considers himself a musician. A musician on a crusade to balance out the mainstream rap trash with some needed quality, and finish what Jay Dee started by remaining true to the music. It's true that Jay Dee's shoes are pretty big to fill, but I think with the right push and marketing that Illa can definitely make some serious moves in the industry. Mentoring under Jay Dee for so many years has given this kat lots of useful knowledge and experience that should definitely help him be successful in his career. Also, I think he truly understands that he's being passed the musical torch left by his brother, whether he wants the responsibility or not. After reading a couple of his interviews though, Illa seems to feel that he's up for the challenge. I checked out Illa's first E.P. release at a local record store around the way, and it didn't take that long to realize that the boy has some real talent. The beats were pretty hot, plus his flow was solid! He is still in the process of working on his first album release, which will hopefully see the light of day at the end of the year? You should be hearing his production on new material from Busta Rhymes, Phat Kat and Guilty Simpson in the near future as well...

Keep your eyes and ears open...

Checkout this Illa J track called:

"I'm Ain't Gonna Die"

Checkout more tracks from Illa J here:

Vintage Dilla studio video footage:

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