EP Review: On 'Illosophy,' iLLBliss sticks to what matters
If Nigerian grown man raps needed a blueprint, this is it.
One was going to be IllyZilla, a collaborative project with super-producer, TeckZilla. Another was going to be produced by Black Intelligence and another was without a title at that point. All three were going to be before his album - to be released later in 2019.
Fast forward August 2019, iLLBliss has released two projects. IllyZilla was the first released and now, Illosophy as a follow up - dedicated to his late friend and rap legend, Big Homie B Elect. Born Bright Erighono, he passed away on June 8, 2019.
Here is a review of the Illosophy;
Player To A Coach (Intro)
See, Major Bangz should be respected. Second off, iLLBliss is a great at this thing, respect him. A Hip-Hop banger rich on soul samples runs into piano-heavy jazz rap that only Illy could rock with his freewheeling boss persona. Bruh, it’s been more than a decade since Illy became the man, but one is still blown away by his technique.
As Illy vaunts himself, he also tells a story and discusses his aspirations before advising young men to hustle. Before he closes, he gleans the Major Bangz story. Grown man intro.
RULER2 (RIP ELECT)
B would be proud. Had he been alive, the king of boom bap - yes, I said it - would have donned his Mcee stripes and strode on this instrumental. It reminds one of some of the beats off Hard Listeners (The End).
Introspection. As he said it, Illy’s rap is definitely premised upon quality flows, but instead of flossing for the fun of it, he creates a rap that snatches disrespect from the lips of ignorant people. He then proceeds to tell stories of loss, the journey, achievements and stripes that made B Elect.
He also fired shots at people who ever referred B as ‘Old.’
Lie Down Dia!
Black Intel, take a bow, bro. Those guitars that seem like something of a suspense-themed western are fitting for Illy to decimate with words like “Humorousotority.” Fair enough. Illy addresses his glow up and discusses detractors as well as his die-hard fans. That’s balance.
Who could Illy be firing shots at on verse two? You can decide that for yourself. But the element of growth in how Illy proudly hugs his faith and endorses prayers. We all need to believe in something.
A top beat underlined by a fleeting moment of appreciation for Illy’s wife and child, “My little girl growing fast, wifey mad curvy.” The beat is again ridiculous, but some things are more important.
Illy talks about his bright moments, endorses some young guys like Johnny Drille and then, reinforces the message that he is here to say. This is the best song on Illosophy.
‘Osadebe’ is symbolism for Illy’s status and dreams. The song also borrows from Illy's 2014 track of the same name.
Die There (Hustle)
A hook to savour forever. The is cut from the essence of late 2000’s mainstream Hip-Hop championed by a rapper like Wiz Khalifa. Then, the beat switch - oh, the switch… This time, it’s jazz rap.
“God is the ultimate, just a dope lyricist from Imo State,” a combination of gratitude and humility while talking about hunger and appetite for work. At this point, this project has everything.
Grown Man Rap
On Illy Bomaye, Illy documents the birth of his long-awaited daughter with ‘DaddyLuvsYou.’ As he tells Pulse a year ago, it was sometimes a test, but he pulled through with his beautiful wife.
On a previous album, Illy also rapped through his niece’s eyes. Personal raps will never be scarce for Illy, but this is another level. On a TeckZilla-produced sample-heavy beat, Illy is a bastion of emotion. He raps about his daughter and the timing of her arrival.
The song sticks to its premise, ‘Grown Man Rap.’
Thankful featuring Uzezi
Chapo is a great at this thing. Illy carries his gratitude on his chest like a superman brand. It’s a strength, it’s also a sentiment.
Shout-out to iLLBliss.
While appreciating iLLBliss and this EP’s entire feel, Pulse Senior Editor, Ayomide Tayo put the words in context, “Grown man raps - nobody does it like Illy. It’s not surprising. Probably the most mature Nigerian rapper.”
“At my age, it should be grown man raps,” Illy spits on ‘Grown Man Rap.’ He didn’t mean maturity in the context of age or just the word. He meant maturity in the conveyance of the what the word means in content, essence and quality without boring his audience with an overkill. Veterans don’t have anything to prove.
Rappity-rap is for the kids. It’s fine to go sparring from time to time because Hip-Hop is a - contact - sport that makes greats feel a need to keep on proving they are good, but respect brings a different expectation. When fans respect you, they subconsciously have different expectation.
For legends like Illy, they belong to a breed that subconsciously understands what we need. With Illosophy, he dished it out in copious numbers made top notch music. On the arm of dedication to lost ones, Illy doesn’t overly dwell on sentiment. Instead, he chose to do his late friend proud with some topically hard grown man raps.
These raps also features a hungry Illy that finds balance and doesn’t get pulled into the youthful smoke. His flows, bars, technique and cadences are all pristine.
Illosophy is not some grand theory, it is simply the theories and ideals that comprise the fabrics that make up iLLBliss.
This is an excellent project slightly let down by length - a blessing that drives appreciation and a weakness that robs one of satisfaction.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Content, Lyricism and Themes: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
8.1 - Champion
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