Published Sep 30, 2015Illa J doesn't just carry on his famous brother's hip-hop lineage with his new self-titled sophomore album; he also fearlessly delves into other genres, to a surprising degree of success. The younger sibling of the legendary, now deceased Detroit beatsmith J Dilla defies expectations of his self-titled LP, especially on "Universe," which finds him employing a sexy croon and a funky electro beat that has as much potential to rule the dance floor as any pop or techno chart-topper. Midway track "Sunflower," meanwhile, has an instrumental that drips with acid jazz elements and features the sultry guest vocals of rising Canadian starlet a l l i e.
But backpack rap diehards longing for some classic Dilla-flavoured hip-hop should fear not. They'll be thrilled to hear how assured Illa J sounds on the LP's grimy early tracks like "She Burned My Art" and "Cannonball," which feature mellow, oscillating synth laden beats and the young MC's straightforward but perfectly on-point flow. This new LP would have made Dilla more than proud. (Bastard Jazz)