Illa J Gets His ‘Sam Cook’ On & Heads ‘Home’ For New Album

Photo Credit: Emily Berkey

Rapper and producer Illa J has been forging his own lane since dropping his debut album,Yancey Boys, nearly a decade ago. While we’ve been treated to hearing his singing talents here and there through the years, his vocal abilities will be taking a more prominent role on his latest album, Home, due out June 30th on Jakarta Records. Music fans get to hear a sampling of what’s to come on the album’s first single, “Sam Cook,” and the result is just as soulful as the name suggests.

“Sam Cook” finds the Detroit-bred artist handling both emcee and singing duties as he ponders the struggle to make it out in the world. Steeped in the classic sounds of Motown soul, the song finds him making a strong case as a singer, showing off an impressive falsetto in the process. Though it may be no surprise that the younger brother of the late James “J. Dilla” Yancey has a deep appreciation for singing and the sounds of yesteryear, according to Illa J, singing is actually at the core of his musical passions. “I see myself as a singer/songwriter first, [but] I just grew up in the generation of rap, so the 2 [sic] styles just fused together naturally,” he said in a statement. Shifting towards singing more on record was a natural progression for the talented artist, who first began penning poetry around the age of eight, before transitioning into writing songs and then later, raps. “I eventually put it all together…22 years later…the journey to my heart, through all the ups and downs of my career trying to discover my voice, who I am, all my travels around the globe. It all leads back to Home, in the most literal sense,” he added, referring to the inspiration of the album’s title.

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Home was produced entirely by LA-based producer Calvin Valentine and is currently available for pre-order on digital and on vinyl via Bandcamp and iTunes.

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