Record Label: Jakarta Records
J Dilla’s brother Illa J takes us on a trip to his hometown Detroit with his third solo album Home.
Following his self titled LP, Illa J sometimes known as “John Regal” (born October 13,1986 in Detroit, Michigan) is a singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He takes us on a trip to his hometown Detroit with his third solo album Home. His last LP successfully took Illa J out of his brother and hip-hop legend J Dilla‘s shadow to show he is in his own lane. Yet, Yancey still felt as though he was in a box labeled rapper. Teaming up with producer Calvin Valentine, who entirely produced the album, Home is Illa J‘s first album to properly showcase the full extent of his vocal range to put him in the singer-songwriter conversation. The listener can feel the soulfulness of this LP through Illa J‘s singing and Valentines‘ smooth production.
On “Sam Cook“ which is an ode to Illa J‘s father who ghostwrote for Motown, Yancey dives into his falsetto that is reminiscent of D‘Angelo, Bilal and Al Green. While keeping his focus on singing. Illa J sprinkles the album with rap verses. On “7 Mile“ his vocals smoothly float over the more raw/alternative cut laid by Valentine. The album title track “Home“ completes his album and solidifies Illa J‘s artistry as a well rounded singer who can rap.
Illa J is a solo artists, former member of legendary group Slum Village. Active in the music industry since 2006 in L.A and Detroit, Illa J has released two solo albums; 2008’s Yancey Boys via Delicious Vinyl and 2015’s self titled LP Illa J via Bastard Jazz Records. In 2014, while refocusing on his solo career and stepping out of Slum Village, Illa J relocated to Montreal for a fresh new start. He has since entrenched himself in the Canadian music scene by collaborating with some of Canada’s finest emcees and producers including Moka Only, Potatohead People and Kaytranada.
His recent collaborations have been with jazz legend, Robert Glasper in concert and on record for his Miles Davis tribute project Everything’s Beautiful. Illa J also had the privilege to collaborate with hip-hop legend Phife Dawg from ATCQ on his double LP nutshell. Other features include Slum Village’s critically acclaimed album Yes & famed UK producer Tom Misch Beat Tape 2.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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