HHK: I appreciate you taking time to speak to us Chi-ill. We recently hosted your single “Murda” on the blog which got a great response. What qualities do you feel the single had, which made it blog/radio appealing?
Chi: Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to listen. I think the people are ready for something serious again. Hip-Hop music started as the voice of the victim, the voice of the oppressed and poor but now the poor man’s voice is absent in the music. Many artists in the industry got their checks and started talking about themselves. The industry has become very selfish. “Murda” deals with a scenario that’s universal in every poor community. In my city the death of Derrion Albert gained national attention, but this is just one story among many. In every hood and in every city these things are happening and the numbers of teen deaths are going up. My music takes us back to when the issues in the community affected us all, and I think the people are ready for that kind of music again. I also think that the people that are online looking for new music on blogs and internet radio are the perfect audience because they’re already looking for an alternative to mainstream radio.
HHK: Are there any plans for new mixtapes/albums that we can know about? And what major projects have you been involved with in the past?
Chi: Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my album “The Last Chance Lounge” which is expected to drop first quarter 2010. I’ve done a couple things. I did a joint with my big homie from Chicago GLC of the G.O.O.D. Music Fam. We did a song called “Gritty Lil City” produced by O-Zone. You can find that online. I opened for Dem Franchise Boyz in Alaska. That was a big deal for me just being called to perform in Alaska. I am from Chicago I never thought I’d see Alaska. I was on the “Year of the Dog Again Tour” with my other big homie DMX and my partner DJ NONSTOP. I’ve also done some verses for Dame Grease which is a big deal for me. I’ve always been a Dame Grease fan.
HHK: I made a comment on the single which prompted some discussion. I felt your music had elements of Tupac’s style/ethos contained in the music. Is this a comparison you’ve had in the past? And personally who would you relate to in the Hip-Hop world?
Chi: Yeah I’ve gotten the Tupac comparison often over the years. I really relate to Pac, always have. He had a big heart and would give you the shirt off his back but if you crossed him there was hell to pay. That is very much how I am. His music was based around the people another similarity we share. I don’t believe the comparisons come from people thinking I sound like Pac, I believe they hear passion in my music which is something Pac was known for. I still have the passion in the music that the game has been missing.
HHK: O-Zone was the producer of the beat for “Murda”. How did the collaboration formulate? And are you planning to work with O-Zone in the future?
Chi: I’ve been working with O-zone for about four or five years now. He’s a huge part of my label Torture Chamber Records. He serves as head producer, club DJ, my show DJ, and also handles our clothing line and merchandising. He’s a young dude with a lot going on for him. That’s my brother right there. He did the majority of the production for “The Last Chance Lounge” You’ll see much more of CHI-ILL and O-ZONE collaborations.
HHK: As the year comes to the end, what upcoming artists have you been listening to and would recommend to the readers? And secondly, what has been your favorite album release of the year?
Chi: I am feeling Jay Rock I like B.O.B. I listen to a lot of 90′s hip-hop that’s my world. I used to look forward to like ten albums a year. I don’t look forward to more than one or two a year now. I listen to my team’s music and a lot of local artists from my city.
HHK: Where are the best places where fans can check for updates for new music and news for Chi-ill? And what are your plans for the rest of 2009?
Chi: People can check me out at myspace.com/chiill or twitter.com/chi_ill and for videos they can go to youtube.com/torturetelevision. The rest of 2009 is pretty much dedicated to me getting everything in line for my 2010 push. It’s war time.
HHK: Is there anything further you’d like to add to the interview?
Chi: Just that the people who miss real passion and real music stay tuned I’m going to be around for a while.
HHK: Thanks again for speaking to Hip-Hop Kings. Good luck for the rest of the year and keep in touch!
Chi: Most definitely and once again thank you for the good look.
Interview by Ryan Maxwell