The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - Illy, Kingswood, The Preatures, The Creases and All­day play OzFest, Mi­ami Shark Bar, Satur­day.

Lyri­cism is what rap­per Illy loves about mu­sic, the chance to ex­press thoughts on life through a web of words.

His lat­est al­bum Cin­e­matic, which was re­cently re-re­leased with new ma­te­rial, is what he calls his most non-stan­dard work. “It’s not your stan­dard Aus­tralian hip-hop sound,” he says.

“This al­bum’s stepped out from me just be­ing a rap­per.

“I re­ally like writ­ing melodies and hooks.”

The con­tin­ual rise of the ARIA award-win­ning artist per­fectly il­lus­trates the ar­rival of Aus­tralian hip-hop into the main­stream and not as a pale imi­ta­tion of its US roots.

The young man, who com­bined writ­ing and record­ing and tour­ing with study­ing for his law de­gree, had grown up on a heavy diet of Hill­top Hoods, sneak­ing into their pub gigs when he was a teenager.

Now the Hoods are on his al­bum, lend­ing their tal­ents to Com­ing Down.

So is soul man Daniel Mer­ri­weather, ris­ing vo­cal star Kira Puru (Talk), and WA hip hop artist Drapht (YoYo).

It is an eclec­tic and un­ex­pected se­lec­tion of guests.

But what is some­what shock­ing, in this new era of col­lab­o­ra­tion among the gen­res in Aus­tralia, is that some vo­cal­ists re­jected his re­quest. He won’t name names.

“Nine out of 10 times, you get a knock-back,” Illy says.

“Some­times it’s sched­ules, but you never can tell. So you do the song with some­one else and if it’s a hit, you get to think, ‘Well, you missed out.’

“I’m not bit­ter about it, but there is still that hes­i­ta­tion from artists who are es­tab­lished in other gen­res. And then you meet them at a fes­ti­val or some­where and ev­ery­one’s cool.”

He says the bar­ri­ers be­tween gen­res will be com­pletely dis­man­tled by the next gen­er­a­tion, who have grown up with the bor­der­less in­ter­net.

“No mat­ter how many records get sold, there re­mains a snob­bery to­wards Aus­tralian hip-hop be­cause some peo­ple still don’t see it as a le­git­i­mate genre,” he says.

“But I’m the last gen­er­a­tion that will mat­ter to. There are a lot of kids grow­ing up now who iden­tify with Aus­tralian hip- hop whether they are rap­ping over Flume or a house beat.

“La­bels don’t mat­ter to them, gen­res don’t in­flu­ence them and they are ex­posed to ev­ery­thing that has ever been in popular cul­ture.

“Their in­flu­ences are so far and wide, and that’s re­flected in the mu­sic they are mak­ing.”

Like the Hoods, Bliss n Eso, Drapht and 360, Illy has be­come sought after for fes­ti­val line-ups as well as big event gigs.


Aus­tralian hip-hop star Illy has al­ways loved the lyri­cal as­pect of mu­sic-mak­ing.

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