A few weeks ago, by way of long time friends of The Lime, Boston’s own Tru Era Entertainment, our social media network efforts resulted in coming across iLL-it Records, a movement cross-termed iLL-iteracy that’s driven by a group of men from Virginia’s “Star City”, i.e. Roanoke. Though my correspondence to develop this post has been with Chris Prythm, a very talented emcee & producer, the team is comprised of several members.
The group was officially formed back in 1998 as all members attended Roanoke’s William Fleming High School, but their bond can be traced back to childhood. As per the bio provided by Chris Prhythm, “Honors classes, magnet programs, and an enthusiastic approach to learning undoubtedly had an effect on their appreciation for the art of music. After school, each of the members would gather around a computer, a base-model plastic computer microphone, and a technologically inferior recording program just for kicks. There was no mission in mind; no money-making scheme… There was just music.”
He cites “God, each other, Roanoke City, prayerful mothers, scornful fathers, the loss of loved ones, and all the typical conditions that define an inner-city” as influences and goes on to describe their sound as “inspirational but far from ignorantly blissful.” No more is the group’s brotherhood and overall goodwill evident than the post script of the YouTube video at the end of this post. They filmed a cypher in which several of the group’s members went in with their respective verses, impressively at that. Touchingly, the video ends with inspirational words from artist Will Spitwell, who was on duty in Afghanistan at the time of filming, followed by an all bold message in big letters, “SUPPORT THE TROOPS.” That’s right, though he was overseas serving our country, the group made it a point to both represent and show love to Will Spitwell. How’s that for camaraderie?
All feel good moments aside, let’s get to the nitty-gritty here. These guys are bright, passionate, and bring the heat. Musically, iLL-iteracy offer a healthy variety of “upbeat anthems to thought-provoking, more conscious selections.” They’ve amassed quite an impressive catalog of music, including The Signature Series 2013 & The Signature Series 2012. The camp’s music ranges from high energy bangers to smoother, slower tempo cuts one can sit back and enjoy a cold brew to. Whether low-key or upbeat, iLL-it Records’ emcees sport razor-sharp flows that are both bold and in your face. They rap with a confident street edge and a carefully crafted lyricism that makes it impossible not to appreciate if you’re a Hip Hop head.
More than just a collection of rappers, the iLL-iteracy movement also includes iLL-it Beatz, an initiative that Chris Prythm states “showcases and makes available quality, custom-fitted tracks for other artists to use in further sharpening of their respective crafts.” We invite you to check out their work, as we find that both the quality of production and beat variety is strong and their pricing is fair and competitive. We also implore you to follow the iLL-iteracy movement on social media at the links provided at the end of this post, and to check out their cypher. As noted earlier, these boys can spit, so if you’re a fan of bars do yourself a favor and view the below YouTube video.
And why stop there? We’ve provided a bevy of links in this post where you can familiarize yourself with the team’s music. Once again, if you’re a fan of beats and bars the iLL-iteracy movement is definitely for you. So get with the program and check them out. We’re confident you’ll enjoy the experience.