Illa J’s Latest is an Exercise in Musical Exploration…& It Works (Album Stream)

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Today marks the release date for Illa J’s self-titled album, his latest solo effort and the first since his 2008 debut, Yancey Boys. That album introduced him to Heads as a gifted MC and sometimes singer, one who is eager both to celebrate his family legacy but also cultivate a sound entirely his own, something he has certainly achieved with today’s release. A collaborative effort between himself and Montreal production team Potatohead People, the album is a lush, head-nodding ode to funk and features futuristic sounds layered between the soulful boom-bap fans of his work have come to expect and adore.

Buoyed by the singles “Strippers” (featuring co-production from Montreal wunderkind Kaytranada, “Universe,” and “Never Left” (an homage to his big brother J Dilla), Illa J signals his most ambitious and bravest project to date and a surprising one for many in that it doesn’t rely on guest appearances from more predictable artists like fellow Motor City Hip-Hop artists like Slum Village (of which he was a member until recently), Guilty Simpson, and Frank Nitt, all longtime collaborators of both Yancey brothers. Instead, Canadian contributors Moka Only and a l l i e are brought along for the ride, proof that Illa J’s recent move to Montreal has allowed for wonderfully executed experimentation in the studio. The album in its entirety is available for streaming below and can be purchased on iTunes.

Related: Moka Only & Illa J Team Up To Deliver A Smooth Jam For The Ladies (Audio)