Detroit rapper/producer Illa J has been on a roll since dropping his singles and working on his full-length project and now he returns with a new track “Star Struck”. Always the one to keep pushing the envelope and bar, Illa J makes use of a nonconforming soundscape made up of funk synths, bouncy staggered drum patterns and retro-futuristic sound design. Lyrically, he is still sharp as a tack and his flow is seamless as he glides effortlessly while showcasing his lyrical prowess and singing skills. He is able to switch easily between fast-paced rapping to mellow melodic runs in a heartbeat.

After the passing of his brother, Detroit producer/MC Jay Dee, Illa J (born John Yancey) dropped out of Central Michigan University, put aside his inhibitions, and stepped out as an MC and producer. Previously apprehensive about living up to the genius-level standard set by his elder sibling, Illa J became visible outside his local circle through the video for his brother’s “Won’t Do” — where he was shown lip-syncing the rhymes — as well as the Dilla Changed My Life tour, which allowed him to perform for Dilla admirers across the globe. He then got into recording, collaborating with the likes of Karriem RigginsGuilty SimpsonBlack Milk, and Little Brother‘s Big Pooh. A self-released EP was issued in 2007, featuring self-productions, with the exception of one track (“Me and My Brother”) produced by Jay Dee. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi


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