Short on attention span but long in ultra-creative, psychedelic rhymes, Oakland trio iLL-Literacy has some ambitious plans for the next few months. iLL-Lit is aiming to reshape not only the way that music is made but the way it’s distributed. Emcees Drizzleton, Dahlak, and N.I.C. are proud to release the first part of three “chapters” for their new album iB4the1 (pronounced I Before The 1). Confused? Donâ€™t be. It’s just the future.
iLL-Literacy will be releasing iB4the1 in three chapters. The first, Chapter 1 (iB4the1.1), is available today. Because iLL-Literacy believes that traditional means of marketing and distribution have become obsolete, they are releasing all three chapters for free on their website (www.ill-literacy.com). In an effort to further obliterate the mold, iLL-Lit has partnered with street fashion legend C+ Jewelry to create USBiLL (pronounced “Us Be iLL”), a line of custom limited edition flash drives. A convenient and reusable alternative to CDs, USBiLL will be the primary physical form of the complete iB4the1 trilogy of releases.
iB4the1 may be their debut “album,” but the members of iLL-Literacy have known each other since birth and it shines through on their tracks. They boast a fully formed vision and aesthetic that few groups, especially young groups, can match. When asked about iB4the1.1, Drizzleton described it as an epic. He postulates that the ideal listening context for Chapter 1 would be on “either a short car drive… or upon the back of a spiny-toothed wombat in Africa, while watching Planet Earth on mute.”
In case you were somehow still worried that the iLL-Literate trio was lacking in ambition, allow Dahlak to describe Chapter 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 draws character from an unusual blend of influences, spanning funk, afro beat, alternative, soul, and of course hip-hop. This is iLL-Literacy before the start. The prequel to the saga. iLL-Lit before the One. Take that how you want.”
For musicians today, a record deal can be like a used car; it might get you from point A to point B, but most likely the salesman took your money and poured sawdust in the transmission. Fortunately, while the industry is gridlocked in filesharing, the members of iLL-Literacy can teleport. And by teleport, they mean “make music that would inspire passionate love with a Silverback gorilla… if it was socially acceptable.” Enter the world of digitiLL funk – an ever-expanding sonic universe piecemealed together by the ever-shrinking attention span of Oakland trio iLL-Literacy. Members Dahlak, Drizzletron, and N.I.C have known each other since birth, and since then have been mutating words and sounds, invading concert halls, off-Broadway stages, and college arenas throughout North America and Europe and infiltrating networks from HBO, MTV and beyond. Toggling between daydream and full-blown hallucination, the result is iLL-Literacyâ€™s first record, iB4the1 (“I Before The One”). Colliding influences from afrobeat and hip-hop as much as Plato and X-Men, their freshman effort plays more like the soundtrack for a never-ending shroom-trip than a standard rap album. It pays homage to a wide range of inspirations, while constantly reaching for the new. From a record that is political in scope but never heavy-handed to an intersecting live show that can boast life-size Lego-men, iLL-Literacy is both a product of its time, and a defining feature. The first chapter of the forthcoming album, IB4the1, IB4the1.1 is available now.
Please contact Michelle or Dan if interested in talking with iLL-Literacy