It must be a constant catch-22 situation for Illa J. Hailed as an incredible upcoming artist in the Hip-Hop world is quite the tag for anybody to be proud of. However there’s a shadow of a legendary older brother in the form of J Dilla assosiated with Illa J everywhere he goes. In all credit to Illa J he works constantly to identify himself as a unique recording artist, and pays homage to his older brother in the new album Yancey Boys. Using beats exclusively by J Dilla, Illa J releases a soulful and heartfelt release to keep J Dilla’s name alive.
Illa J is currently a member of Slum Village and was drafted in 2007. Since then, his personal profile has become stronger, and Yancey Boys was the outcome of hard work and studio time towards the end of 2008. Delicious Vinyl Records handed Illa J the disc of beats to use at his will, which was executed perfectly. The single with Guilty Simpson called “R U Listening” was a great example of production at its finest, and two artists who deserve to honour J Dilla’s name. Using a sample from De La Soul in the beat, it sets the bar for the rest of the album.
“Sounds Like I’m In Love” is one of my personal favourites on the album, which featured beautiful vocals and really defines the chill-out track. Illa J’s soothing voice complements the beat and just creates another great track to listen to. “DFTF” is a fans favourite on Yancey Boys, and for good reason too. More superb sampling and production work from J Dilla makes it so easy for Illa J to create a good track. The chemistry is good, and almost unimaginable if J Dilla was still here today.
The album is worth a pickup from fans who want to honour J Dilla, and really reflect on his time as a musician in an illustrious career. It’s not the best album of the year, nowhere near. But it’s something a lot of fans will quite easily be able to repeat for the immediate future, and always throw on in the future.