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BASTARD JAZZ RECORDINGS

From deep musical origins in Detroit, rapper / singer / songwriter Illa J has been slowly navigating his way through the oft-turbulent waters of hip-hop since the tender age of 13, when the young John Yancey aka Illa J wrote his first rhyme alongside his brother, the late great J Dilla. After his brother's passing in '06, he began teaching himself piano, bass and taking vocal lessons while finding himself touring the world and recording a slew of Dilla-related projects. Feeling the need for a change creatively as well as geographically, in 2012 John moved to the future music hotbed that is Montreal ultimately making the connection with Canadian producers Nick Wisdom & AstroLogical aka Potatohead People. The success of their initial collaborations inspired the team to dive into the studio and embark on Illa J's new self-titled solo album, and present an entirely fresh sound of his own.

The self-titled album, produced alongside a few ground-breaking co-producers, showcases a more mature and at-ease Illa J who is equally comfortable on top of an electronic boogie-inspired beat ("Universe") as he is getting grimey over a trunk rattling G-Funk joint (the Kaytranada co-produced "Strippers"). On tracks like the sparse, Rhodes driven "Cannonball" (co-produced by Montreal's Noo Bap), and the early 90s spiritual / acid jazz inspired "Sunflower", Illa flexes his muscles through both song and rhyme. And of course being true to his roots, the classic Detroit boom-bap sound is ever present on joints like "French Kiss", "Perfect Game" (quite possibly rap's only ode to bowling), and "Never Left", a touching tribute to his brother and a call-out to abusers of Dilla's legacy. Vancouver mainstay MC Moka Only contributes invaluably to the cohesive sound of the album as well, providing signature smoothed-out vocal choruses to tracks like "She Burned My Art", "All Good Pt. 2" and "Who Got It" (co-produced by Mosaic). 


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