Nov 17, 2009 - 8:52 AM
As an editor who gets dozens of promos and hundreds of emails from people trying to push their shitty mp3s each week, my ears have pretty much become impotent. Bay Area ex-pats iLL-Literacy are among the few artists that I genuinely get excited about. Back in February I had the opportunity to sit in on a studio session with Drizzletron, N.I.C. and Dahlak as they meticulously crafted songs for their first EP as a crew, before they moved to NY this fall. I got a sneak preview of what's now "Gentelman's Kool-Aid," a rousing gospel funk jam that's been stuck in my head ever since. They finally leaked the song last month, followed by "The HereNow," a soulful, slightly chopped-and-screwed 808-infused knocker about living life in the present. My anticipation increased.
iLL-Lit's put in serious thought and work into honing their craft. Already known for killing crowds with their witty, reflective and energetic live show, they journey into sound (if the artwork doesn't give you a hint, it's one hell of a trip) with a series of free EPs. And it's an honor to present you with their initial offering, iB4the1.1. Ladies and gents, smurfs and smurfettes, without further adieu...
Download: iLL-Literacy - iB4the1.1
Additional contributions by Smashley Johns (vocals)
2. Gentleman’s Kool-Aid
Additional contributions by Rufus Redbone (vocals) & Billy Hi-Life (bass)
3. The HereNow
Additional contributions by Jeremy “Passion” Manongdo (vocals), Billy Hi-Life (bass) & Sammy Hi-Life (guitar)
4. Finding Emo
Additional contributions by Ruby Veridiano-Ching (vocals)
5. Circus Nights
Additional contributions by Rufus Redbone (vocals) & Sammy Hi-Life (guitar)
All songs produced by Dahlak, co-produced by Ada Clock
About iB4the1.1: iB4the1 is an epic. The debut album from iLL-Literacy premiers in three parts– each approximately 25 minutes in length, and suited best for a short car drive…or upon the back of a spiny-toothed wombat in Africa, while watching Planet Earth on mute. The first of the three acts is simply entitled iB4the1.1. Despite its brevity,.1 is grand in its effort to bridge sampled voice and original instrumentation, experimental music and hip-hop narrative.
The sound of iLL-Literacy—architected by group member Dahlak with the assistance of producer Ada Clock, along with the contributing imaginations of N.I.C and Drizzletron—draws character from an unusual blend of influences, spanning funk, afro beat, alternative, soul and of course hip-hop. iB4the1 is a presentation of iLL-Literacy in total humility and acknowledgement to all those who have come before and to the artists they are to become. This is iLL-Lit before the start. The prequel to the saga. iLL-Lit before the One. Take that how you want.
About iLL-Literacy: Toggling between daydream and full-blown hallucination, iLL-Literacy is a music and performance collective that fuses elements of funk, hip-hop, spoken word, and interactive theatre for a sound and live experience that draws as much from the rich artistic and political history of its Oakland hometown as it does from the experimental and imaginative inclinations of its current Brooklyn base. In their recorded debut, iB4the1, members Dahlak, N.i.C, and Drizzletron work everything from the ground up – from in-house production, to self-directed music videos, to the development of a new approach to musical interaction that intimately involves the listener throughout the inception, production, and promotion of the final product. Please join iLL-Literacy at www.ill-literacy.com.