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My exclusive interview with @iLLAwtf now available on HYPE MAG

He went from Illaj to iLLA and just like his name his music has developed, evolved one might say. “Cranberry Vodka” was just a glimpse of what is inside this artist and with this latest project which is the follow up to ‘Dope’ Vol. 1 it’s a little different this time around. You may have caught him on the hundreds of mixtapes he was featured on, in The Source Unsigned Hype column or on your local radio station but this next phase of life he says that his focus is of a different energy. The past crept up on him just when he was in negotiation with EMI for a possible distribution deal. Currently locked up in Oregon, iLLA knew his fate and went hard working on music with those closest around him to make sure that his fans had something new to listen to while he was away. One guy he teamed up with was Grammy-nominated Baby Paul aka BPZY.  We have seen his single “Team Friendship” featuring Kendrick Lamar spread like wildfire on the net since it dropped last week. There is talks of an EP coming towards the end of summer beginning of fall from Team iLLA but I caught up with him via email to ask him a couple questions regarding his latest work and circumstances. Let’s see just what he had to say…
How did this music come about on Everything Gucci and how did the name/title come about?
iLLA: Well the music came about from about a year span of recording a bunch of new music. I worked with several different producers getting different sounds and ideas together. I was sending BPZY tracks the whole time so he could ‘capture the moment in real time. I had been going to pre-trial for the past 2.5 years so I had a lot of emotions and feelings about the matter that was coming out in my music. It’s hard to explain really but a lot of frustrations and anger towards the situation I had gotten myself involved in ya know. But the title arose out of the positive things that came in my darkest hour. Despite all the BS I was going through legally, and still going through I guess, I still had great people around me that encouraging me to keep going. They heard the growth in my music and mental, encouraged me to keep recording and to not let this situation get the best of me. A simple stumbling block thats gonna show my character if anything. So at the end of selecting the music this song came about that Bpzy and co-producer BeatFanatik produced called ‘Everything Gucci.‘ It’s a showboat party song, but in the grander scheme of things that’s really how I’m feelin. Yes, Gucci is a clothing brand, but around my way we like “it’s gucci” like everything is good ya know? So that’s what I’m on, doin my time, dealt with my case, my son is doing great, my team feels better and stronger than ever, my people are behind me, so I’m feeling good. I’m see all yall soon, very soon, so I ain’t trippin, we gucci, but I do appreciate the love and support 100%!
You released Team Friendship featuring Kendrick Lamar that seems to be doing well virally, what was the motivation behind it and how much was from personal experience?
iLLA:  Yeah, first off I wanna say that was such a random pick up. I jacked the hook, but once I heard it I was like yeah! That’s really how I’m feelin, need this in the catalogue even if it will only be a mixtape track. Personal experience lol… shit all of it was from personal experience! Like I said the pre-trial was a bitch. All the cats/friends that was their in the limelight when shit was goin well seemed to fade like mist you feel me. Shit i thought I was trippin like damn… seemed like you a good friend just a week ago. But shit, thats how the game go. Everybody wanna be part of the upswing, like I know that nigga, and we been down forever. Then when reality hits and the times get tough ain’t nobody there to really help a nigga through. Thank God for family and REAL friends ya know. That fake shit can miss me 1000 times! Time tells all and I’m def gonna remember who was there and who wasn’t, I’m thankful for the experience though, cause you never really know until the shit happens to you.
What is your favorite part of working with Baby Paul and how long have you worked with him?
iLLA:  Man Baby Paul (aka BPZY) is my NIGGA! I know he doesn’t like that word for various reasons, but I mean that in the best way. I’ve been working with him off and on for shit… like 5 years or so. We originally met in his studio in NY. I was out there with my old management bangin out some shows and livin large… . We connected in the studio, this freakin guy had platinum and gold plaques just chillin like an old pic of the fam or somethin lol. I was like holy shit… what did I just step into lol. But he sucha cool easy going dude you would never even expect it. Anyway, we connected immediately and just stayed up on each other ever since working closer and closer as the years went on. The past couple of years have been magic though. He’s been feeding me STUPID HOT beats and making my job very easy. Once I hit this case though is when his true colors came out. It was a f’d up time in my life and out of all the people who proclaimed to be so down for me and what I was doing Bpzy shined like the North Star for me. It really helped guide and mold my process during this time and help me see through the thick fog that was surrounding me. Needless to say a true blessing to have this man in my life, NO HOMO lol. Anyway good dude, stand up dude, and my favorite part of working with Bpzy is his enthusiasm and perseverance. Nothing like it in the world as far as I can tell.