Illa J: Yancey Boys (Album Review)

Often times it’s difficult for a youngster to let their star shine beyond that of their more celebrated and successful parent or older sibling without comparisons. Illa J, younger brother of the late MC/producer J Dilla, wants to prove that theory wrong with his Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl).

Consisting of fourteen tracks, the album is produced entirely by Dilla. Although Jay Dee’s legacy is heard and felt throughout the entire album, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if you’re listening to Hip-Hop or R&B. Nonetheless, it’s still a fresh sound found on the disc.

The album opens with the jazzy “Timeless” followed by the more up-tempo “We Here”. One thing that is immediately noticeable on the album is that Illa does a lot of his own vocals which is complimentary to some of the tracks.

Narrated by Frank Nitti, “Alien Family”, introduces the young artist as well as points out that the Yancey family are natural born singers. He also describes Jay Dee and Illa J as both having an alien-like sense of rhyming.

Despite the fact that his brother produced the album made up of several uniquely orchestrated tracks, Illa adds his own flare which allows you to enjoy the album based on his own individual merits and not that of his brother’s. The laid-back electric organs heard on “Strugglin” helps tell the tale of a struggling artist and how they must hustle the hardest to carve their spot in Hip-Hop. Other noteworthy titles include “Showtime” and “Swagger” which are both bump-worthy singles as the mellow vibes felt on each puts the listener in a mesmerizing trance.

Overall each track blends well into each other, and Illa displays his diversity from rhyming to vocals; which actually doesn’t sound horribly bad. While Yancey Boys isn't breaking any new barriers, it is the start of what might be a promising career.

Illa J


Illa J

"Sounds Like Love"