iLLite Interview

July 16, 2008

Detroit emcee iLLite considers himself a pupil in the Hip Hop game, whether it be from hard lessons taught on the streets or listening to other artists spit bars. Collaborating with a who’s who list of Michigan Hip Hop vets and up-and-comers like One Be Lo, Decompoze and Magestik Legend, only makes him stronger, growing through association. One half of the rap duo Octane and iLLite, there is nothing this west-side Detroit native won’t try, including stepping out on his own. Following last year’s The Forgotten…Chosen bookmarking of the chemistry between the duo, iLLite felt it was time to put his own schooling to the test, with the release of his solo debut Crème de la Crème. In an interview with, iLLite talks about what he brings to the table, his chemistry with Octane and his place in the Michigan Hip Hop movement.


What can people expect from this album?
Well basically from the album, you can really expect some dope shit, live shit. It’s really soulful, it was a whole lot more personal this time around as far as the writing. I went really personal; there are a couple of stories in there that kind of hit home. It’s really life inspired, really reality based.


Given that you have worked with quite a few others, what made you want to try this on your own?
t’s crazy because it started off, I always record songs, and it really started on a mix CD kind of deal. Then at some point everything just shifted into overdrive, and I just started creating more and liked what I was creating more and more. I said, “I might as well put all these together, make it an album, just go ahead, do it and keep it moving from there.


Do you think there was any pressure getting in the booth by yourself?
It’s always some pressure, because the people I roll with are really talented cats and we always hold ourselves to a certain standard. It is always a little pressure in there but it’s like healthy competition almost, we always keep each other on our toes. It wasn’t an uncomfortable thing it was more like a “Bring your A game,” kind of thing. Not having it in there, made me want to work extra hard, because there is nothing to line yourself up with, it kind of makes you want to set the bar a little bit higher for yourself. Not having it in there, is more of a plus than a minus.


When it comes to producers, who do you feel you have the best chemistry with?
I don’t know, I’m surrounded by so many dope people that make crazy beats so it’s hard for me to say. That would have to be left up to the consumer, who they like hearing me on. I can’t really pick one producer, I love [Nick] Speed, Gest (Magestik Legend) is crazy, my man Astronote, is on some stuff that is going to crack a lot of people’s head, Leef Mayfield and Decompoze of course.


If there was one thing you wanted a listener to take away from this album what would it be?
Basically if anything just I am in to play my position, no doubt. I’m not in it to be your favorite MC, of course not your least favorite MC. I’m not trying to be the best rapper on the planet. Don’t get comfortable, don’t get stagnant because there are a lot of dudes that are really comfortable with where they are and there is so much more to explore, outside of Detroit, outside of Michigan, outside of the United States. Don’t get complacent with it and that is the whole point behind my album. It’s personal growth and expanding, trying to see more than what is in front of you.


Who is iLLite, the rapper?
I am a regular dude, just like any average Joe Schmoe, walking down the street but sometimes I think outside the box, a lot of times. I am an average dude with regular dude problems and pleasures. At the end of the day, I like to think outside the box. I see the bigger picture.


How did growing up in Detroit affect your music?
It affects it to the utmost degree. I consider myself a sponge, I have seen, heard and did a lot. I am a really imaginative dude but as far as the music, the surroundings, upbringing and friends, associates, girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, uncles, everything plays a huge part in my creating.


Being that you have worked with Octane quite a bit, you have formed a natural chemistry. So what do you feel you do better than him as an MC and what does he do better than you?
I look up to Oc so much, it’s crazy because if you look technically I have been rhyming longer than him. What I respect about him and what he has brought out of me, is more personality and charisma. Style and all that is one of the things he does [well] that I respect so much and I pull that from him. I think I’m more of a student. I look at the pluses of what he does. I will say that to the tenth thousandth degree, I am still learning. I be with my man Fes Rock and he puts me on this old school, so I feel like I’m ahead but I still feel like I have a lot to learn. I was born in 1980 and there was a lot of stuff I didn’t get a chance to listen to, and I have to really kind of go back and see what made them great. I’m learning from the pioneers and if not more from my crew.


Who else are you feeling on the Michigan hip hop scene right now?
I got to say my man Octane, he is coming with the heat right now. Buff 1, Guilty Simpson, Black Milk, Elzhi, Fes Rock, Magestik Legend, Miz Korona, Big A, it’s really a lot of names. We are breeding some real artists out here like One Be Lo, I could go on and on.


Where do you feel the status of the movement is?
I don’t feel like it is getting the attention it deserves, as far as the talent out here, I don’t feel they’re getting equal attention, it‘s definitely mismatched right now. A lot of people are sleeping on Detroit and Michigan Hip Hop. One plus to it, though, is more people are waking up and realizing a lot of stuff is going on out here. Overseas they’re taking to what we are doing here. [That’s] really crazy, if that isn’t a sign then I don’t know what is. In our immediate surroundings they’re starting to wake up but it’s definitely not getting what it deserves. I’m optimistic [though].


  1. Malaki the Most Hi says:

    Thats Riiiiiight!!!

    July 20th, 2008 at 11:43 pm

  2. renegade says:


    August 11th, 2008 at 12:22 pm

  3. GotDone/ToDo x Birthday Wish List « Speech Is My Hammer… says:

    […] and turned in the homie B-Dunlap’s interview with iLLite. Click here to read it, and click here to hear iLLite’s new song, “The […]

    January 9th, 2011 at 4:47 am

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