Illy credits ‘race’ and ‘lifestyle’ as the major differences between our hip hop scene and that of America and New Zealand.
Now, after two successful albums, Illy describes his latest record, 'Bring It Back', as a passion project and something he's wanted to pursue for a while.
“It's more traditional sounding instead of the style I've come to be known for [and] it's definitely more of a collaborative release than anything I've done up until now. I'm quite keen to see how it's going to go down with everybody.”
Illy remains humble when he explains he “can't take all the credit for this album as a lot of hands have been on deck to help create it”.
Fellow MCs Thundamentals, Reason and Pez helped to realise his idea for this record, while some of the beats were supplied by Trials from Funkoars as well as One Above.
“I hope [the fans] like it. It's definitely a different side of me as an MC and I'm confident that I've done a good job. They'll be hearing something a little bit different to what they'd expect of an Illy record, which is exciting but also a little anxiety inducing as well.”
With Australian hip hop really beginning to bloom over the last five years, Illy is one of the new breed helping to shape the local style, setting it apart from the commercial American urban market.
“On [the] surface level, Aussie hip hop is a predominantly white and suburban culture. The people making it aren't from poverty stricken backgrounds and I think that plays into the differences.
I think the experiences we have as Australians are different than a lot of the experiences of black America or New Zealand. It's different because everyone is being true to themselves.”
With a national tour starting next month, Illy says punters can expect a live show “with a lot of energy. It's basically an entirely new set with over half the set being brand new tracks, which I'm psyched about.”
Illy plays Tomba’s, Toowoomba, Aug. 9, The Zoo Aug. 10 and Great Northern, Byron, Aug. 11. He returns to Brisbane for Sprung Festival at the RNA Showgrounds November 10.