You know the story well The Black kid grows up in the projects surrounded by welfare, poverty, crime, drugs, racism, and hopelessness, yet becomes a successful MC. But, how many of you are familiar with the same story affiliated with other races and cultures growing up in the same environment? How about a fatherless, poor, white, Jewish kid from Flatbush, Brooklyn? Ill Bill was never the person to validate himself through the consumption of Hip-Hop. He was born Hip-Hop and has suffered exactly as that stereotypical Black kid.Although life appeared like a volume of Kill Bill, William Braunstein aka Ill Bill fought off those common demons of the urban community. He was raised by his grandmother and supported by his strung out Uncle with a huge heart. Ill Bill originally gained his notoriety as part of the now disbanded NYC underground group Non Phixion. He went on to launch Uncle Howie Records and released his debut solo album Whats Wrong With Bill? In 2004. Since then he is now a soldier of La Coka Nostra [with Everlast, DJ Lethal, Danny Boy, Slaine, Big Left] and on September 16 released what he feels is his first real solo album, the politically charged The Hour of Reprisal. Check Bills take on a myriad of topics including LSD, Brooklyn, Judaism and his song “White N****r.”AllHipHop.com: It is obvious from your music you are unplugged from the matrix. How did you become unplugged?Ill Bill: It’s a combination of my crazy family and their influence on me along with me being a skeptical person. I question everything on some Larry David s**t. I also did a bunch of LSD when I was 15. AllHipHop.com: When did you realize that something is wrong with the world? Ill Bill: I don’t think the world is f**ked up. People are f**ked up and theyre f**king up the world. I’ve known that since I was a kid.
Nursery rhymes are safe so it’s taken over. The money people, the corporate people, they choose to invest in the safer bet.
AllHipHop.com: You come from an era of prophetic MCs, NYC had awareness on smash in 94-96 but something happened. How did Hip-Hop go from talking about Illuminati to doing simplistic nursery rhymes?Ill Bill: Whenever any art form enters the mainstream it’s going to get watered down. When the money people get involved it turns into a business. From a strictly business point of view, the best business is the one with the least risk. Nursery rhymes are safe so it’s taken over. The money people, the corporate people, they choose to invest in the safer bet. But the people in the street aren’t all stupid. Not everybody wants shallow music. Good music is out there. People just need to be willing to look for it. Ive always been that way. It’s part of the reason I started making music. So I could hear what I want to hear.Ill Bill “Society is Brainwashed” VideoAllHipHop.com: Have any Government Agents ever investigated you for you lyrics or actions?Ill Bill: I don’t want to get into it too much but I think there are files on what we’re doing. I think they are keeping tabs on what’s going on. It’s their job to keep it quiet even though they can’t. The NYPD has a task force that follows rappers around. Are there Hip-Hop feds too? Of course.AllHipHop.com: How were you able to listen to rock bands like Slayer and Hip-Hop as a child growing up?Ill Bill: I’m an alien I guess. I’m from the same planet Rick Rubin is from.AllHipHop.com: Why did you make an a record about the rock group Slayer?Ill Bill: Slayer is the truth. I did it [“U.B.S. (The Unauthorized Biography of Slayer)”] just to bug out and everybody I played it for liked it so I put it on the album. It’s a salute to Slayer and Metal music in general. [Some of my favorites are] everyone from Black Sabbath, to Bad Brains, to Metallica to Nirvana. I like good music no matter what the genre.AllHipHop.com: Thoroughly get into the science behind the song “White N****r.”Ill Bill: It’s about my experiences growing up in Brooklyn during the 1980s. Most people got it and dig the song. I’m glad some people looked at the title and bugged out like “what the f**k?” It got people to listen to the song. If I called the song “F**k Racism” nobody outside my immediate fan base would have listened to it. The notion that people might see the title and pass judgment on me or the song without even hearing it is one of the reasons I made the song in the first place. This song is about destroying racism and breaking down walls. If calling it “White N****r” got the message out there in a bigger way then so be it. Like Malcolm X said, “By Any Means Necessary.” Now if you want to dig deeper into the lyrics of the song, as far as bringing people together in my neighborhood, Hip-Hop was one of the main things that broke down the racial line between white kids and Black kids. Music is really important to kids across the board but for my generation in particular, Hip-Hop really did a lot to open minds. I’m Jewish and I come from a family of holocaust survivors. They tried to exterminate me thirty years before I was born. I’m lucky to be here talking to you right now. That fact and the fact that my parents werent born in the US and were discriminated against because of that, it left a huge impression on me growing up. They raised me to never judge people or persecute people for being different than me. That’s a part of me no matter what, but at the same time, if it wasn’t for Public Enemy or Lakim Shabbaz, I might not have been inspired to pick up a book by Eldridge Cleaver at the age of 16. AllHipHop.com: Have any Caucasians ever confronted you about your music or called you a race traitor?Ill Bill: Of course. That’s why I made a song about it.AllHipHop.com: Do you feel comfortable using the N word?Ill Bill: Hell no. That’s why I don’t use it. That’s another reason I made the song. In a perfect world, nobody would use it.AllHipHop.com: Is there a race you relate more with or who overstands you more?Ill Bill: I’ve been through so much s**t over the years that I don’t relate to people based on their race, culture or religion anymore. I don’t think like that because I’ve been both f**ked over by and gotten love from a rainbow coalition of diverse motherf**kers. That brotherly love s**t is a fantasy. When it comes to putting food on the table and keeping a roof over your head, the only color that matters is the color of money. AllHipHop.com: I never overstood why the world hates African-Americans, Africans, or Blacks and those that are considered Jews or practice Judaism. There’s no such thing as a country called Jew, So why are people who practice the religion of Judaism or people who have certain names labeled, Jewish?Ill Bill: In the Bible it says the Jews are “The Chosen People.” That pisses a lot of people off but Jews are proud of that title. That pisses people off even more. Jews are also blamed for killing Jesus Christ, which isn’t a good look in a Christian country. Ask Mel Gibson and his dad. I’m sure they have a lot to say on this subject.AllHipHop.com: What part of Brooklyn did you grow up in?Ill Bill: I grew up in Flatbush & Canarsie.AllHipHop.com: How was Brooklyn when you were a kid and how is it now?Ill Bill: Top of the food chain, then and now. When I travel the world and I tell people I’m from Brooklyn, they salute me.AllHipHop.com: How did growing up fatherless affect your life? And how much of an effect did your mother have on you growing up?Ill Bill: It made me the man of the house. It gave me a thicker skin and made me more mature at a younger age than most of my friends. It made me a leader instead of a follower. Aside from my uncle and my grandmother, I didn’t really have anybody to lead the way. My mom worked a lot and did the best she could for a single mom but she was in her own world. The one thing that had the most effect on me growing up was music.AlIHipHop.com: How has your Uncle Howie made so much of an impact on your life that you named a record company after him and why is he constantly on your records?Ill Bill: When I was a kid, my uncle was the man. I looked up to him. My parents split when I was little and my mom was at work all the time. My grandmother raised me and my uncle was always around. Now that I’m older I know that he was a heroin addict with all kinds of severe issues but as a kid, I had no idea what heroin addiction was. Aside from my grandmother, nobody paid more attention to me than he did. He’d come through with comic books; he got me a bass guitar from one of his junkie friends when nobody else would. He’d just hang out and watch TV, crack jokes, and he was mad cool. I didn’t start to understand what was going on with him until way later and by that time; I was discovering weed and thought that drugs were cool. My uncle discovered crack cocaine around the same time I discovered acid. By that time, I was so involved in my own life that I didn’t give a f**k what my uncle was doing. Naming the label after him was a joke at first. It wasn’t until much later that it took on a deeper meaning. It was my way of attaching something positive to a person who had a huge positive impact on me. He had the potential for greatness but ended up going down the wrong path and me including him in my music is my way of giving back to him and anybody else that can relate to our family. AllHipHop.com: Is Hip-Hop all about hard beats and thought provoking lyrics?Ill Bill: Sometimes. Hip-Hop is a lot of things. Hip-Hop is universal truth and the voice of the unheard.AllHipHop.com: You said on YouTube that this new album is not about compromising or conforming to anyone. Have you compromised or conformed your music in the past and how?Ill Bill: Never. If I did I’d probably be filthy rich.AllHipHop.com: Why do you think your current album is similar to Non Phixions Future is Now album?Ill Bill: Cause both records I put together myself from A to Z. I had the same feeling putting both of these records together. I oversaw the entire process in all aspects of getting the final product complete. With What’s Wrong With Bill?, that was more of a collaborative effort with Necro. This new one is like the song “Cult Leader” off The Future Is Now but instead of just one song, you’re getting an entire album that’s 100 from my perspective and whether I’m solo or in La Coka Nostra or whatever I’ll always be Non Phixion.AllHipHop.com: Will there be another Non Phixion album?Ill Bill: No.
AllHipHop.com: How was La Coka Nostra established?
Ill Bill: It started with me
just going out to LA to do shows and I ended up meeting different heads
and building. Danny Boy put me down with LCN and that’s worldwide at
this point. We recorded the album on the west coast but the group is
universal. It’s taken on a life of it’s own.
La Coka Nostra “That’s Coke” VideoAllHipHop.com: Although you have a number of producers on the album, you are credited for the majority of the boards. When did you get into production and what kind of equipment do you use?Ill Bill: I started back in 91 and stopped around 94. In 2004 I started f***king around again. Right now I use the Motif XS6, MPC500, Protools LE, Mac G4, and too many plug-ins to mention.AllHipHop.com: What is the science behind the title and the cover of the album?Ill Bill: I let Larry Carroll hear the album and gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted. This is what he came back with. The Hour Of Reprisal is an hour of me clearing the air on some things. It’s my first time really taking my time on an album instead of just a bunch of songs on a CD. The title is about me striking back at those who have doubted me but it’s also a celebration of me conquering some of my own personal demons. The meanings are endless.AllHipHop.com: You say your trying to deliver what’s missing from Hip-Hop. What exactly is missing from Hip-Hop lately?Ill Bill: Creativity. Not enough true artists. There’s plenty of rappers but not too many great artists. There’s plenty of singles and jingles, not enough solid albums. I’m into making albums that you can listen to from beginning to end and not want to skip one song. When I make an album now, that’s my goal.